You can’t manage what you can’t measure—The need for time and expense tracking in the cloud
Posted by Vivek Gopalpuria
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
These are difficult times, and organizations need innovative measures to stay relevant. We have just emerged from a double-dip recession (at least on paper), and the economic scenario is that of cautious optimism, where organizations are looking to cut down on any kind of wasteful expenditure, while focusing their investments on what is absolutely necessary. Organizations need real-time visibility into spending and quick insights into any cost-saving opportunities that may exist.
Today’s workforce is becoming more dispersed and global. Employee salaries are a major chunk of corporate operating costs, contributing on an average of 50%–70%. In addition, travel and expense-related costs equal nearly 7% of overall budgets. Because it’s such a major portion of overall expenses, those costs must be managed effectively. Tracking them with manual processes is certainly not the best way to do it.
Let’s take a look at some industry research around employee time and expense tracking:
- According to IRS statistics, approximately 33% of employers make payroll errors that cost them billions of dollars annually in penalties.
- According to a global project management survey, 31% of projects fail to deliver on time and budget, mainly due to lack of real-time visibility.
- An SPI research report indicates that with real-time visibility into workforce deployments, companies can increase resource utilization by 8%.
- Manual processes around client billing can cause error rates of 12%–15%, and long invoice processing cycles cost another 1%–5% of transaction value, according to the Aberdeen Group.
- Another survey by the Aberdeen Group on expense management revealed that a whopping 69% of companies surveyed do not have real-time visibility into T&E spending against budget, and another 57% companies did not have the capability to identify what specific areas expenses incurred expenses (airfare, lodging, meals, etc.) making it difficult for them to manage these.
Whether you want to track time and expense for attendance purposes and employee reimbursements or for association with specific projects for internal costing or billing, an automated time and expense management system can eliminate inefficiencies by providing:
- Streamlined processes around time and expense tracking, reducing the administrative burden associated with manual processes.
- The capability to manage and track compliance with company policies and laws for both time and expenses.
- The ability to view historical time and expense information to make better forecasts.
- Real-time visibility into project status and workforce costs against estimates to make better decisions.
- Reporting and analytics capabilities to help increase utilization and productivity and to identify areas where savings can be made.
- Easy integration of data with other business systems such as ERP and Accounting.
Automation in the Cloud
Nucleus Research estimates that cloud-based systems provide an additional 1.7 times more ROI over traditional enterprise systems, among other advantages. These systems help businesses focus on their core competences, and make time and expense management hassle-free.
- On-demand availability and a pay-per-use model involving no up-front costs, allowing organizations to make capital investments in their core business.
- The elasticity to scale the number of licenses up or down as per requirements.
- The configurability to be able to handle business requirements without custom programming, which greatly reduces implementation cycles.
- Intuitive user interfaces for better user adoption.
- The ability to deliver free, frequent, automatic upgrades and maintenance with no downtime.
- Having a good integration strategy with other systems that the time and expense module may need to work with.
- Advanced security features that individual organizations may not be able to afford.
- Great customer support.
It’s no wonder that expense reporting software are being adopted rapidly, and are well on their way to becoming mainstream systems.