Small and medium businesses waste an average of 11 hours per month – the equivalent of more than three working weeks per year – submitting or managing expenses, new research by American Express reveals.
However, it’s not just time these businesses are wasting; the business leaders surveyed estimated their employees collectively lose almost £300 a month due to manual errors and inefficiencies, suggesting current expense management processes aren’t fit for purpose in many SME businesses.
Business leaders said getting back lost time on expense management would allow them to focus on more value-adding activities, such as new business development, staff recruitment and customer and supplier relations.
Almost half of businesses (46%) said they have either a manual process, involving scanning paper receipts and manual data entry, or no formal expense process at all. Half (50%) of business leaders and employees admit to being frustrated at the prospect of completing their expenses. This frustration is so great that many respondents from both groups would rather undertake mundane tasks such as update their computer software (21%) or attend a weekly 8am Monday meeting (20%).
A digitised expense management solution has the answer to some of these demands, as the most common reasons businesses use one is the ability to connect employee cards to the tool and reduce the time employees spend submitting their expenses (31%), generate less paperwork (30%) and reduce admin (30%).
However, there appears to be a disconnect between bosses and their workforce; a quarter (26%) of businesses who haven’t digitised believe their employees prefer a manual process. However, half (50%) of employees say their current expense management process is inefficient – with lost receipts, inaccurate data and lack of time to submit and process claims the biggest pain points cited.
AmexExpense is a fully digital expense management tool that empowers business leaders and employees to scan, upload and approve expenses in seconds. It can be seamlessly integrated with accounting platforms, giving business leaders more time to focus on value-adding activities.
Caroline Bouvet, Vice President, UK Products & Partnerships at American Express, said: “In today’s technology-rich world, businesses have more opportunities, through intuitive tools such as AmexExpense, to save time and free up people to focus on their day job. Removing frustration around expense management and helping SMEs convert wasted hours into time spent on value-adding activities that grow their business is something we’re focused on.”