How to simplify your expense processing

Substantially reduce expense admin by switching to Soldo’s smart prepaid system.

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The problem with expense processing

What if there was a way to drastically cut down time spent on expense processes, keep your employees happy, and free yourself up so you can focus on other critical tasks?

You can’t run a business without developing a love (or maybe more of a tolerance) of spreadsheets.

But when it comes to processing employee expenses, there’s a good chance that your patience is being severely tested, probably on a daily basis. These manual processes are leaving business owners frustrated. Surely there’s a better way?

Out with the old

Over the last couple of decades, technology has reshaped the workplace. But while tasks like maintaining your company’s general ledger and preparing a profit-and-loss account are arguably less time-consuming and relatively easier to do these days, expense processing is still stuck in the 1990s.

It’s a tedious and time-consuming task that can lead to a lot of headaches for employees and management alike. Here’s a look at a typical company’s expense process and what can go wrong at each stage.

Manual Step 1: The employee makes a purchase and collects the receipt

Spending money is easy, but that doesn’t mean mistakes can’t be made in the ensuing admin. In particular, employees may:

  • Forget to take a receipt
  • Misplace it
  • Pay for business-related expenses and personal items together

Any of these issues will create record-keeping problems and, potentially, disagreements with employees who will expect to be reimbursed despite the issues in their paperwork. And if receipts do go missing, reconciliation can become tricky, with outgoings proving impossible to trace.

For example, say you have an employee who goes away on an overnight business trip. They couldn’t use the business credit card because it was with another colleague, so they’ve paid for their meals and accommodation with personal funds and need to be reimbursed.

They keep their receipts from the various transactions, but in the course of the trip, one or two of them accidentally get binned. Now finance teams are missing necessary paperwork.

Keeping a collection of paper receipts is surely no way to do business.

Manual Step 2: Employee creates expense report

Even Buzz Aldrin had to prepare an expense report after he went to the moon.

But while the process is necessary, it doesn’t make it any less tedious. In one survey, 43% of employees said they’d pick commuting an extra hour a day over preparing an expense report. And 53% would rather do their taxes.

The upshot is that an expense report may take a while to get finalised, which will make the whole process more difficult. As accountant turned money mentor Gail Bainbridge notes: “When I worked as an accountant, people sending expense claims at the last minute was my biggest frustration.”

Late submissions mean finance teams may have to make reconciliations and re-balance the books several months after the fact. Manual processes are also prone to human error, and individuals may not discover a mistake until after a payment has been processed.

Maybe the employee who needs reimbursing for their trip has filled in their report incorrectly, leading to confusion as to what has actually been spent. This slows down an already lengthy process and adds another task onto the list.

Manual Step 3: Manager approval process

Sometimes expense reports have to go before multiple people for approvals, which is another time consuming and error-laden process.

Busy managers may also miss important details or not be clued up about the finer points of the company’s expense policy. As a result, they may overlook errors or mistakenly approve expenses the company doesn’t allow. The employee’s error may go unnoticed, and then it simply becomes compounded, creating a larger problem.

This means backtracking on a report and perhaps even starting the process all over again, which isn’t a good use of anyone’s time.

Manual Step 4: Auditing and reconciliation

Once an expense report hits the finance team’s desk, they have to go over it line by line and match transactions to receipts. This is both inefficient and creates other challenges.

For starters, employees and managers don’t tend to enjoy preparing and approving expense reports, so they’ll probably submit them in batches. This means teams can quickly get swamped.

More to the point, unless your company uses an accounting system that can automatically import spreadsheet data, someone will have to spend several mind-numbing hours inputting everything manually.

For example, our travelling employee’s expense report may have been corrected and submitted, but so have a huge volume of others, all around the same time. Now the accounts department is faced with a crunch period through no fault of their own.

Manual Step 5: Payment

The expense report has been approved, but how will the employee be reimbursed?

The company could:

  • Make a one-off instant business account transfer or cash payment
  • Run the expense through payroll
  • Set up your employee as supplier

All three options require extra admin and come with their own set of problems.

Case in point, payroll isn’t designed for running expenses. It may delay reimbursement even more. Plus, how will it get itemised on the payslip?

Similarly, you can only make bank transfers or cash payments manually. And setting up an employee as a supplier could skew your data.

Automate your expense reporting

Spreadsheets, multiple rounds of approvals, and manual data input may have made sense 20, or even 10 years ago.

But, clearly, this process isn’t fit for purpose anymore. It’s laborious, time-consuming, and frustrating for everyone involved: the employee claiming expenses, the manager who has to approve the report, and the finance team who has to reconcile everything.

Thankfully, this is no longer necessary. An automated expense management platform like Soldo can:

  • Streamline the process
  • Remove the need for multiple approvals
  • Slash admin
  • Cut the risk of mistakes

Here’s what this would look like:

Step 1: The employee makes a purchase

Instead of forking out the money themselves, employees can use prepaid cards for business expenses with a pre-approved spending limit. You can assign as many cards as you need, and they can be issued to individuals, teams, departments, or even vehicles.

Soldo’s expense management software lets you create certain restrictions, including monthly allowances and permitted spend-categories, so employees can’t buy items your expense policy doesn’t cover.

This means managers don’t have to go over and approve expense reports. And there’s no need to check the transactions line by line to make sure they’re compliant.

And because employees make payments using company money, there’s no need for reimbursements. Even better, this company money is completely secure, as it will be an amount dictated by management, and there’s no direct connection to the business bank account.

Step 2: Snap a photo of the receipt

No more boxes full of crumpled receipts or hours wrestling with Excel. Once the employee pays, they launch the app, snap a photo of the receipt, and link it to the transaction. Job done.

Step 3: Reconciliation

Admins can log on to the dashboard and see expenses across the company at a glance. This includes the highest spending card, most prolific spend-categories, and real-time transactions.

Soldo offers a comprehensive view of your company finances that not only increases visibility, but also gives you the information to make confident and data-led spending decisions.

Soldo integrates with accounting software like Xero and QuickBooks, so it can import data automatically to the accounting software without the labour of manual statement imports.

Pain-free expense processing with Soldo

Processing expenses is one of the necessities of business, but it doesn’t have to be frustrating or burdensome.

Using an automated spend and expense management platform can cut it down from six or more steps to just three.

Soldo can grant employees greater freedom whilst giving increased control and visibility to managers. Our system is designed with businesses in mind, so we’ve made every step in the expense management process as simple as possible.

With no need for a credit check, you can sign up to Soldo in no time at all, and you could be up and running the very same day. Say goodbye to manual expense processing, put the process on autopilot and use your newfound freedom to work on growing your business.

Simplify your spending with prepaid cards

Access lower fees and save time spent on accounting by joining Soldo today.

Automated reporting

Forget tedious manual reports, Soldo automatically produces expense reports you can view at any time

Empower employees

Employees can make secure spending decisions without having to get purchases pre-approved by management

Minimise admin

Because Soldo’s reports are automated, finance teams no longer have to spend hours manually inputting data

All Soldo plans include

Soldo Mastercard® cards

Get as many cards as you need for employees and departments. Our contactless cards are accepted by millions of merchants worldwide.

Web-Konsole und mobile App

Web console and mobile app

See spending in real time on the web console. View balances, capture receipts and manage cards on the employee app.

Accounting integration

Export transaction data to every major accounting software, in two clicks. Connect expenses to Xero and QuickBooks.

Kostenlose und unbegrenzte Transaktionen

Free & unlimited transactions

Soldo Mastercard® cards have no fees for domestic transactions and our foreign exchange fee is fixed at just 1%.

No charge for deposits

It’s free to add funds, and money is available to spend instantly. Allocate funds to cards when your team needs it.

Individuelle Unterstützung

Dedicated support

Need a hand? Our friendly customer success team is at your service, providing support whenever you need it.

“When we switched to Soldo, it became obvious that it was quicker and more efficient. There’s a greater feeling of security; we have more confidence in Soldo than the traditional corporate credit cards.”

Mark Taylor
Director of Finance at Plymouth College of Art

“Soldo has been a great addition to our functionality in the finance team; we’re able to empower trusted users to make spending decisions whilst maintaining an appropriate level of oversight and control through the admin portal.”

Martyn Sexton
Finance Manager at Secret Escapes

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