March 1, 2021
Finance Industry

How to Optimize Employee Experience as a Finance Team

When you treat your employees well, you improve performance and retention. Gallup found it to be true. SurveyMonkey and Bonusly did as well. And if that data doesn’t convince you, just try asking your employees.

In a virtual world, HR can’t organize an office happy hour or set up a taco bar in one of the conference rooms. They have to think creatively and focus on virtual perks: covering employees’ lunches, either putting them on a corporate card or through reimbursement; sending employees gift cards; or buying subscriptions to services like meditation apps or Citi Bike.

Giving out perks is a great way for companies to express gratitude to employees, but it often saddles your finance team with a bunch of extra work - and is only one piece in the much larger puzzle of employee experience.

Don’t make company culture a finance burden

When HR excitedly suggests doling out gift cards or offering to cover employees’ lunches, your finance team is probably thinking one thing: that’s a lot of expense reports.

If 100 employees order their lunches using traditional corporate cards, that means 100 expense reports for your team to process, and 100 charges to manually reconcile. Get ready to sort through stacks of receipts!

This process isn’t great for employees either. Sure, they get a free lunch, but at the cost of having to chase down a shared corporate card and spend time filling out an expense report. Or alternatively, having to front their own money, which doesn’t seem like much of a gift if they have to go through the whole process of submitting for reimbursement later.

Ensure a positive employee experience all year round

While it’s true that employees love perks, no amount of free cold brew will make up for the hours lost filling out expense reports or the stress of having your credit line decrease because you had to front $2k for a conference ticket and haven’t been reimbursed yet.

Perks like free lunch are a fantastic way to brighten your employees’ day. However, they only work if they are part of a larger program to optimize the day-to-day employee experience.

Use modern technology

Few things are more frustrating to a fast-moving employee than a clunky piece of technology that is hard to use, difficult to navigate, and takes forever to load. Adopting modern software that is built with the end user in mind will make employees actually enjoy using your systems.

Modern technology also improves life for the finance team. Imagine all you could accomplish if you automated and streamlined your time-consuming, manual processes. Other departments have embraced digital transformation, and finance deserves to do the same.

Embed compliance requirements into existing workflows

Employees are often exposed to the corporate purchasing policy during onboarding, but when it’s time to actually make a purchase, few of them will remember all the rules. If they spend out of bounds, they may be chastised by the finance team.

Instead, adopt technology that embeds these controls into employees’ existing workflows. Your finance team can guarantee compliance without relying on employees to know the policy, and employees don’t have to risk making a mistake and not getting reimbursed.

Eliminate expense reports

Filling out expense reports. Attaching receipts. Processing expense reports. Manually reconciling transactions. Issuing reimbursements. Rinse and repeat.

This process is tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming - and distributed spend management  software can eliminate it entirely! This will free your employees to focus on high-value projects that they are actually excited about.

Stop relying on expense reimbursements

Public health research shows that well-being at work is linked with better health and productivity. Finance teams can address sources of work-related stress, such as expense reimbursement. This process requires employees to front their own money for business purchases, basically forcing them to provide interest-free loans.

Paying out of pocket may be especially hard on junior staff members who likely earn lower salaries and don’t usually have access to the corporate credit card. Furthermore, employees' personal credit may suffer due to delayed or denied reimbursement.

Invest in employees’ professional development

Upskilling employees not only better equips them to do their jobs, but also improves retention. Research shows that 94% of employees would stay at a company if it invested in their development.

Create a professional development budget with accessible funds for each employee. Make it easy for them to track professional development purchases against it, such as conference tickets or books, without having to wait for the finance team to pull the numbers.

Empower employees to spend with confidence

Distributed spend management software can solve these challenges for finance and non-finance employees. Finance teams can decide how much money employees can spend and issue them virtual cards limited to the exact amount. Transactions are coded upfront and automatically reconciled in real time, eliminating the need for expense reports on the back end.

By empowering all employees with smart, policy-driven access to company spend, finance teams can give perks to employees without any additional work. All that’s left is to enjoy the benefits!

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