4 min read

Autism Spectrum

Jay Ou, Chief Financial and Information Officer, discusses how expensemanager has solved their spend management problems over the years

Introduction

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest autism-specific service provider, with one of the biggest autism-specific school programs in the world. A not-for-profit organisation, their services provide people on the autism spectrum with the opportunity to realise their unique potential, as well as providing much-needed support to their families, carers, friends and colleagues. “Aspect’s vision is to provide the best possible opportunities for people on the spectrum”


The Problem

Autism Spectrum needed to manage their entire spend management process. From the payment of our company credits cards which were often paid without any timely reconciliation to reducing the time it was taking us to reimburse out of pocket expenses for their staff.

As well we were processing hundreds of paper invoices manually and it was almost impossible for us to track where invoices were within our organisation and then pay them on time.

Autism Spectrum has a large travel volume of flights, service fees, car and hotel bookings all billed on a travel account with our travel management company, Locale Travel. This spend produces 4,200+ travel invoices per annum.

Autism was suffering from a time-consuming travel reconciliation process that was costing the business up to 14 working days per month in processing. The complexity of our travel expense coding and the use of a consolidated travel account created an inefficient back-office process that caused significant accounting backlogs.

Autism’s typical monthly statement ran at roughly 350 lines. Matching these trips with all the tax invoices produced for flights, service fees, cars and hotels was a time consuming and inefficient process that took us days of uninterrupted work each month.


The Goal: a solution to manage all our spend

Autism’s accounting team had these main efficiency goals:-

  • Reduce the time taken to reconcile its credit card expenses
  • Pay out of pocket expenses quicker
  • Streamline and make paper free their supplier payments process
  • Reduce the time to reconcile their travel account with travel invoices.
  • Have a central collection of original tax invoices within expensemanager
  • Automating the coding of costs to the correct cost centre, activity code and appropriate business purpose

Expenses
We were an early adopter of expensemanager and started with the expense module. We changed our manual expense process from paper forms and paper receipts to online statements and receipt images. This reduced the hours and frustration for our staff with keeping receipts and filling out forms and because our Approvers could approve on a mobile app we were able to pay out of pocket expenses in a timely manner.

Our Finance team could see exactly where the credit cards statements were in their billing cycle and email alerts reminded our staff to submit and approve on time. For out of pocket expenses our staff are now paid quickly and they manage the pay to details themselves from their profile in expensemanager. This extra feature allows us to run an direct debit file directly out of expensemanager to upload to our banking portal for the payment to our staff.

Supplier payments
When expensemanager released their Supplier Payment module, we were one of the first to use it.  We went from having to handle hundreds of paper invoices and manual approvals to a completely automated and paper free process.  Our Finance team finally have visibility over our supplier payments, have the confidence they are not paying suppliers twice and can follow up and pay our suppliers on time.

expensemanager has reduced our invoice processing cycle time from 23 down to four days. Most of invoices pass through the robotic process automation without any manual intervention.

Our supplier database no longer had hundreds of duplicate supplier entries because staff had to request a new supplier via the expensemanager platform and we now have control over whom we are paying.

Travel
When expensemanager released it’s Trip Reconciler module we were again one of the first to use the product.  Expensemanager and our TMC, Locale Travel were able to deliver digital travel invoices daily and directly into the platform and create a Travel Claim for every traveller.

“This has been a game changer for our travellers.  It is automation at it’s best.  Our travellers don’t have to take a photo of a receipt, email a tax invoice or create a claim.  It’s all done for them, they just submit for approval.”

The Digital travel invoices have all of the expense line coding from the digital feed from Locale Travel which is captured at the time of the booking so 100% of the expense line coding is done for the traveller. The travel claims are all batched on a weekly cycle and our travellers simply review and submit.

The time spent reconciling the travel account was reduced from 2 days to 4 hours. This dramatic time saving allows the finance team member responsible for the reconciliation to concentrate on other more important duties.


Spend management solved

expensemanager’s spend management platform has made a dramatic change to Autism’s spend and accounting processes across multiple areas. Saving us time and money and our staff love using the product.

Additionally, as a not for profit organisation we are audited every year and a critical need for us is the ability to track who spent what, where and why. expensemanager has an audit trail so every expense has a history on the creation, changes and approvals. There is also auditing on the administration areas which is important for us and our auditors.

“We have been working with expensemanager for many years now and they are continually developing new modules and enhancements so we know we are using the best technology available.
Jay Ou, Chief Financial and Information Office”

 

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