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How to Efficiently Manage Employee Expenses and Reimbursements

~8min reading time
Finance woman with tons of papers and doing numbers for reimbursements

Much like fax machines and typewriters, business practices evolve as technology unlocks new possibilities. Video conferencing reduces the need for frequent business travel, and automation streamlines tasks once done manually. Yet, for many businesses, their employee expense process remains stuck in the past, trapped in a "that's how we've always done it" mindset rather than optimised for the digital age.

Manual processes, reimbursement delays, and the risk of errors create unnecessary costs, drain productivity, and negatively impact employee morale and retention. Advances in digital solutions, however, are rapidly improving the processes surrounding expense management.

In this article, we examine the disadvantages facing Irish businesses that continue to use traditional employee expense reimbursement methods and how to transition to a more modern solution.

Why The Old School Way Doesn’t Work Anymore

Employee expense reimbursements are a necessary part of business operations, but their traditional execution is riddled with inefficiencies that cost companies time, money, and employee happiness.

Let's break down the key pain points:

Time-Consuming Expense Admin

Employee expense management creates hundreds of hours per year of tedious, time-consuming manual work for both employees and finance teams in Ireland. Employees spend hours filling out expense reports, gathering receipts and entering transaction data. A manager must review and approve the request, and only then is it sent off to finance.

The finance team then spends, on average, 20 minutes processing one claim and more on reconciling transactions before even getting around to issuing employee reimbursements – and that’s not factoring in the new Revenue Enhanced Reporting Requirements or any back-and-forth between the parties that may occur before the final step. Add that all up and you’re looking at a staggering amount of hours lost to outdated processes, demonstrating a clear need for a change.

Hidden Risks and Operational Inefficiencies

Paper-based systems lack fundamental controls, making them vulnerable to human error, overspending, and potential misuse of funds, leading to costly inaccuracies and even more time spent on corrections.

Not to mention the limited visibility into company-wide spending and the effect that has on real-time decision-making and the ability to optimise budgets.

Employee Dissatisfaction and Financial Stress

Paper-based systems also mean employees are often left waiting long periods of time to be reimbursed, which is frustrating, particularly for those with lower wages or limited credit.

Asking employees to cover business expenses upfront places unfair financial pressure on them and creates the feeling of being undervalued. This negativity can then lead to decreased job satisfaction and even impact retention rates.

Revenue Reporting Headaches

For Irish businesses and finance managers, Revenue’s new Enhanced Reporting Requirements means more admin and reporting than ever before. Every expense claim and every receipt must be meticulously tracked to avoid costly penalties and the stress of potential audits. As a result, relying on manual processes for this task leaves businesses vulnerable, with unintentional errors carrying the risk of penalties, damage to reputation, and countless hours lost to rectification.

A Modern Solution to Employee Expense Processes

By making a simple switch to prepaid digital Mastercards, Irish businesses can quickly transform how they manage employee business expenses.

Here’s how:

Gain Control Over Company Spending

Giving staff CleverCards prepaid digital Mastercards puts you in the driver's seat of company spending. Think fully configurable business expense cards that can be issued to employees instantly no matter where they are in the world. You can apply strict spending limits and category-specific restrictions (e.g., travel, accommodations, meals) on each card and control spending via a real-time dashboard.

This modern proactive approach to expenses enables business owners and finance managers to align expense management with the company's policies, prevent overspending and streamline budget control.

Speed Up the Employee Expense Process

Prepaid digital Mastercards eliminate the tedious, time-consuming tasks of chasing down receipts and processing reimbursements, saving finance teams hundreds of hours annually. They also remove the need to wait for the delivery of plastic cards, which can’t often take months to issue from banks!

Once an employee receives a CleverCards business expense card, they can add it to their digital wallet like Apple Pay and Google Pay in a matter of minutes, giving them immediate access to the funds they need for essential purchases. While your finance team gets more control over expenses, your staff are empowered with a much easier user experience.

Need to top up cards for extended business trips or unexpected expenses? It's easy! Issue additional funds directly to the card on the go, ensuring your employees always have the resources they need to complete their tasks without waiting for approvals or reimbursements.

Eliminate Enhanced Revenue Reporting Requirements

Since January 1st, employers must report to Revenue each time they reimburse employees and directors for travel and subsistence expenses. Employers are not required to report to Revenue when a CleverCards prepaid Mastercard is used by an employee or director to pay for expenses, saving hundreds of admin hours.

Find out more about Enhanced Reporting Requirements in our on-demand webinar.

Real-Time Company Spend Visibility

The CleverCards digital dashboard gives users a real-time view of company-wide spending by department and individual employee or initiative. So, no more pulling your hair out and waiting until month-end to understand your financial position. This accurate, up-to-the-minute data allows you to proactively adjust strategies, optimise budgets, and make informed decisions that impact your bottom line.

Ready to Streamline Your Employee Expense Process?

Manual processes, mountains of paperwork, reimbursement delays, and the added pressure of Ireland's Revenue reporting requirements are creating unnecessary costs and frustration for everyone involved. The good news is that CleverCards prepaid digital Mastercards offer a swift and easy way to take control of your spending and manage employee expenses efficiently.

By switching to CleverCards, Irish businesses can utilise a streamlined expense management solution that drastically reduces the administrative time for both employees and the finance team. Employees gain the freedom to make necessary purchases without dipping into personal funds, boosting morale and job satisfaction. And companies benefit from increased spending control, real-time financial visibility and improved security.

The best part is that businesses new to CleverCards can get set up within 24 hours, immediately issue employee expense cards, and view/control category spending in real time.

For more information, contact the CleverCards team by filling out the enquiry form below. We look forward to hearing from you soon!