How to manage employee expenses across remote teams
The remote-working era is truly here, opening up exciting opportunities for businesses when it comes to hiring the best talent, avoiding the costs of being headquartered in expensive cities, and fostering a happy, healthy workforce.
Kate Lister, the president of Global Workplace Analytics, has said that she expects 70% the world’s workforce to be remote by 2025, which is great news for both bosses and workers.
According to a study by Citrix and Harvard Business Review, 88% of knowledge workers say that when searching for a new position, they will look for one that offers complete flexibility in their hours and location.
Not only that, but 83% also predict that in response to the global skilled talent shortage, companies will leverage flexible work models to reach out to suitable candidates no matter where they live.
But remote working comes with its own set of challenges, and one of those is expense management. How can you keep on top of budgets, remove bottlenecks, and track spending when your team is dispersed around the world?
How to effectively track employee expenses across remote teams
1. Have a good system in place
One of the pitfalls of managing remote teams is the potential loss of comradery and company culture. When people aren’t sharing the same space, building trust over cups of break-time coffees or post-work get-togethers, it’s not as effortless to get everyone on the same page.
This can spill over into areas like expense management. It may be easier for employees to overspend when they’re physically a little further away from any oversight. On the flip side, lengthy expense sign-off processes can leave employees without the tools they need to do their job properly.
These problems are exacerbated when employees are forced to share one corporate card for multiple expenses, making outgoings difficult to track, and bottlenecks more common.
It's possible to overcome these problems by outlining solid processes for expense management.
Cards: Choose a solution like Airwallex, which allows you to create multiple physical and virtual corporate cards for your team. Decide which employees should have access to a card, set spending limits on a case-by-case basis, and keep on top of expenditure on a central platform. Assign cards to specific campaigns and staff members so you can easily track expenses back to each activity.
Budget: Set clear budgets for each activity (marketing, corporate entertaining, events etc) and ensure budgets are communicated to your staff and reflected in your card spending limits.
Tracking: Create a simple process for uploading receipts to your expense management system — making this process as easy as possible will reduce the likelihood of receipts going missing. Sync your expense data and receipts with your accounting software to ensure your bookkeeping is kept up to date.
2. Remove bottlenecks with automation
When managing a fast-growing global team, it's crucial to put systems in place that cut down on wasted time and human error. Time-strapped CFOs can cause hold-ups when signing off expenses, preventing employees from accessing the tools they need to do their job effectively. Talented employees should be kept happy. They are the most important asset of any company, after all.
For this reason, a good employee expense solution should be quick, easy to use, and do as much of the work for you as possible.
3. Eliminate unnecessary payment fees
Another stumbling block to watch out for is unnecessary FX fees when paying for international expenses.
It’s standard for traditional banks to charge a few percentage points on the price of an international expense as a foreign-currency transaction fee, and some even add a fixed “purchase fee” on top of that. Cash withdrawals and online transactions in foreign currencies can come with similar costs.
Airwallex: A better way to manage employee expenses
Airwallex offers end-to-end expense management for your business. Easily upload receipts for approval, reconcile your expenses in one place and get a real-time view of your card spending.
Create multiple Borderless Cards for your team members in minutes, adjust spending limits in a click, and track spending in the platform. Airwallex cards can be used anywhere Visa is accepted, both in stores and online, and allow your team to pay in multiple currencies with zero transaction fees.
It’s an effortless solution that involves total transparency. Taking the stress out of managing employee expenses, no matter where your team is based.
Why Airwallex is a smart solution for your business:
You can create multiple physical and virtual cards for your team, and avoid the bottlenecks caused by shared corporate cards.
There are zero transaction fees for purchases, wherever they take place in the world.
Employees can spend in multiple currencies across borders.
Managers can set spending limits on each card, ensuring that budgets are never exceeded.
Expenses can be tracked in real-time from a central account. Upload receipts, review and approve expenses in a click.
Cards can be managed online. This includes the ability to create, freeze or cancel employee cards in minutes to protect your funds.
There’s no need for time-consuming expense claims, or for employees to wait to be reimbursed for money that’s come out of their own pocket.
Airwallex syncs hourly with Xero, so expenses are fed straight into your accounting software, making bookkeeping a breeze.
There’s enough to worry about when growing a business without making employee expenses more complicated than they need to be.
If you think Airwallex could be the right solution for your business, apply for a free account online today, or click below to watch a 3 minute demo.
Related article: What is a virtual debit card?
Tilly manages the content strategy for Airwallex UK. She specialises in content that supports businesses in their growth trajectory.
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