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How digitising travel and expense admin can increase productivity, save cost and make life easier for employees

Do you know how much time your staff are spending on submitting expenses? Sebastien Marchon, CEO Rydoo explains how this can affect productivity and what you can do about it.


Barely a day goes by without something being published in the press about Britain’s productivity problems. Last month, according to data published by the Office of National Statistics, UK productivity dropped by 0.5% in the first quarter of 2018. But this is nothing new.

UK productivity has been a recurring issue since the financial crash in 2008. Each week experts suggest what is causing output issues, but nothing seems to improve. What’s needed – as is often the case in business – is a pragmatic, forward-thinking approach to solving the productivity woes – like embracing technology, A.I or any other tools available to businesses to reduce costs, improve efficiency and make workers’ lives easier.

One example of an area within the realms of most businesses ready to be transformed is finance. For example, despite having an abundance of expense management tools available to them, 83% of businesses still use traditional, time-consuming process to log expenses. The most commonly used process sees workers keep all receipts (store them in draws, purses or on desks/ in folders) then log them in Excel documents each week/month before getting them approved by finance teams.

The average worker processes six expense reports per month, taking on average 20 minutes out of their day per report (two hours per employee each month). It is a time-consuming, frustrating process that means workers aren’t doing the jobs they are employed to do for three working days each year. If employees had access to digitalised expense management platforms these processes would take less than five minutes per report.

Another problem with current expense reporting procedures is that finance teams are inundated with tedious-looking Excel spreadsheets, one in five of which contain errors, to trawl through each month. A large proportion of their time is spent trying to decipher whether information has been accurately recorded and processing streams of expenses.

The same problems are an issue with business travel. Workers spend hours looking at what taxis, flights and accommodation to book then spend hours logging each and every logistical detail – from lunches, car rentals etc. Meanwhile, important deadlines are missed, and essential work is pushed aside. These out-of-date processes are frustrating workers up and down the country and adding to the productivity problems within companies.

One solution, as put forward by the UK government recently, is to enable technology. On the back of research conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), who suggests that ‘by encouraging businesses to adopt the best tried and tested technologies available – such as cloud computing, mobile technology and re-purchasing – the UK economy could receive a £100billion boost to the economy.’

By embracing proven technologies, using Rydoo as an example, businesses can save money (up to £30 per logged expense in this case), time (15 minutes per expense) and increase productivity. By digitising old processes, technology can help by cutting out admin, mistakes, time-consuming processes and making life easier all round. Rydoo can be implemented by any business and exists to re-invent and simplify travel and expense processes by using one easy-to-use platform.

Employees simply download the app and photograph receipts, which are then automatically collated into a spreadsheet and sent to finance teams to approve in real-time. That’s it. Users can also access up to 800,000 hotels, as well as flights, using one platform and without the need to use credit cards (thanks to Rydoo’s central billing system), log receipts manually or wait for long periods for expenses to be repaid. It is a game-changing solution and can be set up in just a few days.

If companies want to seriously improve output, a first step could be by digitalising their travel and expense process. It has already been implemented by 3,000 companies in 60 different countries with 93% adopting within the first month. Although it may not solve Britain’s productivity problems alone, it could be one step closer to improving the current situation.

One report released recently by office supply specialists, Fellowes, suggests that a quarter of office workers in the UK are unproductive for up to two hours every day, blaming colleagues, admin, poor equipment and constant emails. One grievance faced by most workers operating in various sectors – from PR, recruitment and sales to events, finance and business – is the archaic travel and expense reporting process. Now, thanks to new technologies, employees can start to claim back their time to focus on the tasks they love.