A complete business spend management platform
Right out of the box, the platform provides everything you need to manage spend, designed to provide you better financial control and transparency. You can work with transactions which are populated automatically from making payments with your payment instruments, or create new personal spend transactions for payments you have made and are out of pocked for requiring reimbursement. We support the full business life-cycle for payments, from planning and budgeting, creation, justification, policy management, approval, financial audit and export into business financial systems. The platform supports corporate spend from all payment instruments which includes T&E Card Accounts, Procurement based accounts such as Purchase Cards or Amazon for Business and alternative payment mechanisms such as Paypal for Business and Pay on Invoice processing. The platform is designed to be your central resource for managing all “tail end” business spend.
The spend management workflow
The platform places you, the user, in the centre of the full business life-cycle of payments to easily understand the process. Throughout the application the platform provides the following workflow steps in a clear format to show you what ‘work needs to be done’ and what is your spend status.
- Pre-approve: This is spend that has been requested by users, it could represent:
- Budget request for a department, a general spend request for an event
- A pre-purchase shopping list from Amazon Business , a Trip itinerary or any pre spend request from a connected 3rd party market place
- Justify: This is your main area of focus as a user, where any transactions that have been imported from the payment source will be waiting for you to justify why the spend occurred, and provide any distribution or purchase evidences that may be required by your company. The volume of transactions requiring attention will be displayed here over the justify icon. Additionally any personal expense items you have created and not yet completed will be included in the total of items requiring justification.
- Approve: As a user, this will show the number of your transactions / expense reports which are with the associated manager awaiting approval. Approval workflows that are applicable for your configuration will apply here, which could be line manager or budget owners based on the configuration and segment code allocation applied to the transaction.
- Review: This will indicate to you that your transactions have been approved by the manager and moved to the final review process – the financial audit / review phase. This is where all of the financial / tax elements are checked before everything is ready for final processing. It is an optional step based on a % audit rate set by your business.
- Process: This is the final stage, where fully approved transactions or expense reports are ready to be extracted from this platform into your finance and/or payroll systems.
This simple 5 stage workflow provides you clear instruction when you have work to complete, and where your transactions sit within the workflow.
Working with the screens
You can access the Spend Management functions within the platform from the left hand menu, choosing the icon which represents a receipt. Once in this screen, you are presented with the Spend Management functions for your user account, plus a list of any transactions which currently require your attention under the justify stage of the workflow.
From this screen you have a number of options:
- Create Personal Expense: This option takes you to a new blank spend entry screen, to create a transaction for spend you have personally incurred and require reimbursement from your company.
- Expenses & Receipts: From this view you can see your list of expense transactions and your folder of receipt images by selecting on the top page views Expense / Receipts. From the receipts view you can bulk load images and assess which images have been associated with what transactions. You can also load images from the detailed transactional view.
- Expense Transaction Lines: The main contents of this view is your transaction lines, you will see the line items for any transactions require your justification and submission. These can be a mix of items imported from a payment instrument data feed or created as personal expense items by yourself. Here you can edit to complete the justification process and submit, or if these are personal expense items you can delete if they are no longer required (note: delete will not be an option if spend has been imported from a payment instrument and requires justification).
- View by Expense Group: At the top of this view you can filter the transaction lines by any associated Expense Groups assigned to a transaction this is handy if you want to see transactions linked to your “Trip to NYC May” group
- Bulk Edit: On the left hand side of each transaction you can see a select box. Once selected you are able to preform bulk or group actions on all of the selected transactions. This is handy for users with lots of purchases. Simply select the transaction items you wish to work on then select the “Select Bulk Action” button on the top right hand side and choose the operation you wish to perform as illustrated below:
- You can also select a stage in the workflow and view transactions at that stage.
Working with a transaction
One you click onto a transaction you enter the Spend Allocation Screen, where you work with the transaction to provide the required information prior to submission. This screen allows you to perform all functions needed to satisfy the justification of spend prior to submitting to the workflow.
To the left of this window you see the transaction listing that you saw previously; this is now focused on the left of the screen to allow you quick access into the transactions and allow easy group actions to be performed.
In the centre of this screen is where you provide the bulk of the information which makes up the transaction. Fields include Date, Merchant, Country of Spend, and Purpose are captured here. If this line item has come from a file feed then this will be completed automatically, but for personal expenses you will need to complete these details manually. Underneath this you choose/verify the Expense Type, and complete any additional information required – for example for external entertainment you will be required to complete the list of attendees, or Mileage will require the use of a Mileage Calculator to calculate the correct amount for reimbursement. You can Itemize the transaction line to multiple Expense Types if required by selecting on the “Detailed View” link. For example, a purchase in a IT shop store may have many different types items which have different expense types (laptops / mobile phones / cables / security software / insurance / support fees) that would need to be charged to different departments (2 laptops for Sales, 3 Phones for Marketing etc…) in the business. Once you have itemized the transaction correctly to match the receipt you are then able to Distribute the items to multiple different Accounting Segments as required.
To the right of this screen is the receipts section, where you can either attach/upload a digital receipt of the transaction, select you will submit this on paper (if your company requires paper submission of purchase evidences) or choose lost receipt which may trigger a requires for further justification, or block entry of the transaction based on your companies settings.
Itemisation and Distribution
There are two key features discussed briefly above, but here we will explore them in more detail:
- Itemization: The process of splitting a transaction amount. For example, working with one line that has come from your purchase or corporate card feed, and itemising this so that the multiple types of items or services purchased are correctly assigned the correct expense type. This is crucial as different expense types may have different tax rules or policy controls associated to them, and your company would need to account for these separately in their Accounting System.
- Distribution: Once you have the correct expense types itemized, you can further distribute these to one or many Accounting Segments required by the business. For example, if you purchased 20 office chairs, maybe 10 of these were for Finance, 5 for Marketing and 5 for Sales. Or maybe you purchased some Low value IT hardware for a specific project, that may need to be recharged back to the client you are working on behalf of. The distribution process allows you to easily select the required fields out of valid codes which mean they can correctly be accounted for. You can click the Distribute button multiple times to split this transaction line up allowing you to further distribute to multiple Accounting Segments as required, with the the platform calculating the percentage splits automatically which you can over-ride to proportion costs out as needed.
The below visual shows the screen when you select on the “Detailed View” link allowing a user to Itimize and Distribute a transaction, here you can see:
- A single purchase split across 2 Expense Types (Itemization) of Office Consumables and Breakfast = I purchased team snacks + got myself breakfast at the same time!
- Further as there were a number of people eating the cupcakes i can also Distribute the cost of the Cupcakes across various departments: Strategy 25%, Marketing 25% and Development 50% this is = to their consumption of Cupcakes!
Where the transaction has been created automatically from a file interface, and if the Merchant where you spent has a valid Merchant Classification Group or Code you will find the platform has already Itemized the transaction for you. In this case, you need to just check the correct Expense Types have been completed and provide any further Distribution is completed to allocate costs to the appropriate lines of business.
Digital receipts & OCR
The platform allows you to work with digital receipts and provide electronic receipts for every transaction. Depending on your companies policy, this may mean you do not need to submit paper copies but you should consult you internal expense policy for this guidance. You can upload one receipt per transaction or multiple. You can also use one receipt for multiple transactions for those who prefer to scan multiple small receipts onto one page.
Receipts can be uploaded on the web browser. Once you have uploaded a receipt, our OCR process will read the information from the receipt and automatically match to spend lines where possible, or allow you to create a personal expense and pre-populate this as much as we can to enable you to effortlessly work with he platform.
Tax rates are automatically populated based on the Country of Spend and Expense Type. You can modify this by choosing Edit next to the Tax line on the Expense type if required. Where this information is provided by the provider, this information will be used (for example when Issuer tax is included in the file feed we get from your provider to automatically create the transaction line).
Grouping transactions / Expense Groups & Spend Requests
If you prefer to group the transactions into a Grouping / Expense Report, you can do this prior to submitting to your manager by selecting them and choosing the appropriate Expense Group or creating a new group.
Further you can tag expenses to Spend Requests – budgets in the same way as Expense grouping above.
Submission for approval
Once you are happy everything has been completely correctly, you can click Submit for Approval to send your transaction or expense grouping /report for approval. If you are missing any required data you will be alerted at this point, and must rectify this before the platform will allow you to submit to ensure all data is captured and correct.