One area that many companies struggle with is organizing of expense related data. This is especially important because stakeholders in these companies frequently utilize the data to observe trends, study patterns and take proactive steps towards improving the T&E process. We have guided our customers in this area to use best practices. Here are some anecdotal observations –
The lack of success with data organization & management can be broadly attributed to the following reasons –
Case 1) There are no defined structures – Many companies ‘toss’ expense data into one area. While this expedites the submission process initially, it becomes onerous at a later point when specific information is required. What’s more, without any organization, all T&E related data look the same. If there is ever a case for lack of T&E visibility, this one takes the cake!
Case 2) There are defined structures but no retrieval mechanisms – Here, companies define areas but offer no means to retrieve and analyze the data. This makes any front-end organization pointless because the end goal of analysis and fine-tuning of data cannot be achieved. While this is still a problem, it is better than Case 1
Case 3) Too many structures – The other end of the spectrum includes companies that have defined to many areas. While this may give an impression of better organization, it is really an illusion because of too much granularity. To arrive at meaningful conclusions, several areas must be analyzed concurrently. This makes it burdensome and error-prone. Then again, this is definitely better than Case 1 and Case 2
From these notes, it is very obvious that organization of data is very ‘company specific’. Different companies have different processes and procedures, sometimes even disparate, and therefore need unique solutions to manage this.
A big factor in this is human nature. If something is arduous and complicated, we usually put it off. This leads to forgetfulness, which leads to a mad rush during tax time or at the end of the year to get organized. The implications are huge and the penalties for not managing the data better are substantial. Companies frequently throw away millions of $$ due to –
– Failure to take proactive steps from T&E data on time
– Not realizing all the tax deductions before tax season
– Forget to bill clients because post-deal activities were not categorized
– Lack of spend visibility on runaway projects due to untimely data management
At Gorilla Expense, we assist our clients by first helping them define clear, non-redundant areas. Once this is done, specific advice is provided to create future areas carefully. Everything is defined based on how these areas are managed in the back-end ERP/Accounting systems. Since our application is extremely pliable, it can adapt to varying formats. Only after this is technology employed.
Using unique tagging & mapping mechanisms built into the application, come tax time or end of the year, our customers are fully aware areas of spend, steps for improvement, categories to monitor for the next FY etc. which are broken down further by customer accounts, projects, work-orders and more. Now that’s called successful T&E data management!
We are always interested in discussing your pain points and help in any way we can. Contact us at info AT gorillaexpense.com.