Maximizing people’s ability to do their best work by reducing menial tasks through automation has helped organizations survive the pandemic and create cultures of top talent that are mostly thriving despite crisis. Regardless of industry, organizations are now evolving to the new era of optimization. Many of our customers have observed an uptick in workforce productivity by encouraging corporate card usage and then leveraging automation tools to submit, review, approve and pay expenses. These customers are keeping a pulse on how well they are staying on track towards this goal of increasing workforce productivity by reviewing their expense workflow reporting. If they notice that the balance is off, they solicit employee feedback and adjust their policies and expense categories to get workforce productivity humming at optimal levels.
How is everyone else performing?
Want a quick way to measure how well you’re doing to make the most of your employee’s time? A review of your expense workflow data will provide insights into whether you’re running at optimal efficiency. If employees are taking longer than 22 days to submit an expense, and managers are taking longer than two days to approve and your accounts payable team is taking longer than three days to pay, then you’ll likely benefit from some adjustments to your policies and timelines. Compare your current workflow to our industry benchmark breakdown to see how you’re doing:
(click to enlarge)
Who will be honest about whether it’s working?
When in doubt, ask. Employees are likely to share feedback if asked (positive and negative!). Find out what they’re putting in that miscellaneous category and look for trends. What may have been a one-off purchase before might be more common. Then, develop a spend category and let your team know about the adjustment. It could possibly be that they are inaccurately reporting expenses because they don’t know where to code them and are frustrated with searching for it The key is to approach the program strategically with clear objectives and value drivers in mind. It’s one, seemingly small change that can make a big impact—and bring long-term benefits.
Where do I start?
First and foremost, keep it simple. If the card comes with a lengthy policy detailing what employees can or can’t buy, or requires preapproval prior to every swipe, it can send a mixed message to the employee—and make back-end approvals and reconciliations more complicated and time-consuming. In other words, adding more steps to use the card may negate the program’s value, and do nothing to strengthen employee satisfaction. That said, it is important to strike a balance between rigid card limit restrictions and free reign. The best solution is to give employees guidelines that empower them to use the card within company policy, without making these guidelines so cumbersome and restrictive that you deter adoption. The need for those office supplies, airline tickets, and hotel rooms still exist, whether a card program is in place or not. Here are some of our best practices for jumpstarting your workforce productivity:
- Implement card feeds to automate expense report line item creation
- Review expense workflow report
- Solicit feedback
- Adjust policies based upon reporting and feedback
- Educate team on card usage and policy updates
As organizations look for more ways to improve efficiency, decrease unnecessary spend, and gain better control of cash flow and expense management, many are discovering that well-orchestrated card programs are impactful and relatively easy to put in place. By encouraging corporate card usage and fine-tuning your policies and timelines based upon feedback, you can allow your team to focus on the organization’s goals rather than menial tasks. Watch this video for some SAP Concur pro tips on corporate cards or tune into this podcast on the automation revolution.