Work Wise Week: Empower Mobile Workers With Better Spend Management

Tomorrow in the UK is Mobile Working Day, and many companies will be encouraging employees to work on the move. However, while most enterprises have just about mastered the connectivity options and taken steps to mitigate the data security risks of mobility, there is the often overlooked task of expense management for the mobile workforce – an important issue that companies need to address if they are to truly reap the benefits of flexible working.

While this day will go some way to raising awareness, more business leaders must accept that mobile working is no longer a privilege for the elite – it has become a vital part of the modern enterprise. The phenomenal uptake of smartphones has meant that even more employees can work from virtually anywhere, which is why it astounds me that many organisations are still so underprepared for the everyday challenges this shift brings with it.

Connectivity and information security have always been headaches for the IT department, but the real challenge will be for those CFOs that do not have solutions to control expenses, while being tasked with keeping track of the various expenses being racked up by the mobile workforce – which can also cause cash-flow problems for both employees and CFOs when they aren’t claimed back in a timely fashion.

Keeping track of all those receipts to manually submit claims in one huge batch can be a pain for employees too. As more employees go mobile, the problem will escalate, meaning organisations need to urgently rethink their current expense management strategies.

Mobile Working Day should serve as a catalyst for businesses to consider these and other challenges thrown up by mobility, and put in place solutions to manage the expenses incurred by mobile workers. One such solution is to find a way of integrating all expenses onto a single platform to offer CFOs complete visibility of their total corporate spend – no matter where costs occur or how they are submitted.

This would make it easier for employees to log their expenses as they accrue and reduce the risk of error. Only once issues such as this are ironed out can a business truly embrace mobility – without impacting the day to day activities of its employees.

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Robert Kirby has more than 20 years experience in the expense management and payments industry, and has led business operations from three different continents. Prior to co-founding Spendvision in 2001, Robert held senior executive positions with Globeset, where he was initially based in Austin, Texas as VP responsible for B2B transaction services. Later he moved to Australia to become VP and general manager of the APAC and Japan business unit. Prior to Globeset, Robert held senior management positions at Telstra and led the development and implementation of eCommerce and payments products and services. Robert has held a position on the Board of the Australian Payments System Council – a body charged with advising the Australian Treasurer on the efficiency of the Australian payments system. He is also a member of the Commercial Payments International advisory board.