These Non-Profit Organizations are Profiting from Improved Expense Management

According to State of the Nonprofit Sector: 2014 Survey by Nonprofit Finance Fund, nearly half of your non-profit peers have already made technology upgrades in order to increase organizational efficiency. If your organization is looking for ways to increase business insights, enhance workflow capabilities and reduce administrative overhead, take a cue from the following non-profits that achieved all of the above by simply improving T&E management.  

MADD saves lives, time and resources

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)’s 400 employees span the country, actively participating in education, advocacy and fundraising. These mission-critical activities require significant travel and expense management – the agency processes nearly 8,000 expense reports per year with an annual T&E spend of roughly $1.4 million.

Prior to adopting a cloud-based expense management solution, MADD’s paper-based process required more than 20 steps to submit a single expense report, with employees often waiting two months for reimbursement. The old process also impeded critical reporting to MADD’s grantors and funders.

Now, with the new system in place MADD is able to provide funders with accurate, up-to-the-minute receipts and data, which are transferred electronically. “Concur has helped us improve visibility by 100 percent,” says MADD’s Controller Heidi Brandecker.

It’s also been a big win for employees as reimbursement time has been cut from eight weeks to one week. “Anything we can do to support our employees is especially important,” says Brandecker. “These are dedicated, hardworking people who earn non-profit salaries. When they spend $100 - $200 traveling to an accident site in the middle of the night, it’s a personal hardship. Fast reimbursement supports these hardworking, dedicated employees and our mission.”

Brandecker notes significant hidden soft-dollar savings as well. Accounting staff no longer needs to sort and file paper receipts, and employees spend much less time completing expense reports. The company is also using the system to coordinate travel while simultaneously reducing costs among preferred suppliers and vendors. “The expense report literally starts with the travel itinerary,” says Brandecker.  

Self-Help helps itself (and others) with expense management upgrade

When the White House honors you with a Champions of Change Award, you know you are doing something right. Self-Help, the fastest growing credit union in the US, provides much-needed community services through credit funds, a ventures fund, lending services and advocacy activities. But even with rapid growth and positive momentum, the organization also realized that inefficient T&E processes needed to be addressed in order to keep up with community impact goals.

“Our policy/advocacy group travels extensively, and they requested a more efficient method of booking travel and submitting expense reports,” says Merald Holloway, VP-Director of Administrative Services. “They wanted to focus their time on Self-Help’s critical work, not on administrative tasks. Many of our travelers are not in the same geographic location as their managers and the paper-based reporting system was slow, inaccurate and time consuming.”

Self-Help took a step-by-step approach to modernizing its T&E management. First, the organization adopted a travel management solution that provides employees with easy-access, policy-approved choices to book travel quickly, while also accounting for frequent itinerary changes. After realizing success with the revamped travel system, the company quickly deployed an expense management solution that automatically integrates corporate credit cards and allows employees to use mobile devices to manage expense-related tasks. With travel and expenses addressed, the company then deployed a business intelligence solution that enables them to provide extensive customized reports using real-time data.

“Some of the greatest benefits from an accounting standpoint are improved accuracy and increased efficiency,” says Holloway. “We have one FTE devoted to T&E processing and that job has become significantly more manageable since the implementation of Concur solutions.”

Now that you’ve seen improved expense management in action, learn how your non-profit can do more good with enhanced expense management.  

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