Paying expense claims monthly may no longer be appropriate in a time of financial hardship. Nick Clarke, Director of Product Management, explains how a better process can make a positive difference to employees’ wallets.

As the cost-of-living crisis unfolds, we must consider how organisations can support their employees through the perfect storm of high energy prices, increasing mortgage costs, and escalating food prices.

The fact is, financial wellbeing is fundamental to an individual’s general wellbeing. And in times when money is tight, cashflow is crucial to keep people afloat.

In summer 2022, even before the worst of last year’s inflation, Lloyds Bank reported that nearly 80% of UK adults had less than £500 in savings.

Fast-forward through autumn and winter, and rainy-day funds are depleted or possibly non-existent. Any delay in payroll or receiving expenses will be felt most acutely by those already struggling.

Expense claims, traditionally

In most organisations, employees must incur an expense and then submit a claim for reimbursement. This process ties up an employee’s cash reserves, and it could be weeks before the expenses are paid. However, employers can take simple steps to resolve this situation.

In the past, organisations have synchronised the payroll and expenses payments to reduce admin and streamline their back-office processes. But this was done with little or no assessment of the impact on their employees. Recent economic challenges suggest it’s time to revisit this.

Simplify your expenses process

Many organisations have now adopted a weekly expenses cycle. Zellis HCM Cloud allows organisations to quickly make such a change. In fact, the technology can support daily expense runs if necessary.

Automation is the key here. With HCM Cloud, employees can quickly make expense claims on the mobile app:

  • Photograph receipts and allocate them to the correct expense category
  • Simple clear expense rules quickly highlight which expenses are admissible   
  • HCM Cloud Expenses integrates with Google Maps to determine the distance driven and the expense due 

The approval process is just as quick and easy. Managers can swiftly approve expenses via the convenient mobile app or even directly from their email. 

Changes in banking processes can also play a role when it comes to financial wellbeing: for example, the widely-adopted Faster Payments process. Embraced by traditional and challenger banks alike, this infrastructure offers the perfect route to simplify expenses reimbursement.

Employers need to consider the decisions they make, the technology they use, and the policies they enforce should not cause or add to the stress to team members. 

It’s clear that slow and ineffective expense management can negatively impact financial wellbeing. However, a few simple changes can have a really positive impact on employees. 

Want to do more to support your employees? Discover the key steps to take in our Employer’s Guide to Protecting Financial Wellbeing for the Workforce.