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Streamline your spend: how to organize your business finances for success
Taxes and Accounting

Streamline your spend: how to organize your business finances for success

7 min read

Business spending is a daily effort that can also create a litany of tasks and mounds of clutter. It’s far too easy to let receipts, expense reports, and When it comes to spending, visibility in a clear process not only feels good—it can help you spend and save more effectively, too.

1. Receipt management

Receipts can be an important part of your expense management strategy. Beyond the reimbursement cycle, you might also need to keep receipts for tax deduction proof. That doesn’t mean your receipts should pile up, gathering dust. Let’s clear up all your receipts for a clean slate. 

Receipt capture

Start by gathering all of the outstanding receipts you have in a desk tray, filing cabinet, or the bottom of your work bag. Hunt down employee receipts and print out any emailed receipts or invoices that won’t transfer. 

Utilize the receipt capture function of your expense management or accounting software to digitize all paper receipts. If your software doesn’t allow for receipt capture (it’s time to switch) you can also save digital versions by scanning or snapping a quick photo and then, recycle the paper. 

Audit policies & processes

Which fields do you capture with your expense reports? Do you actually need each field? Are there fields which would be helpful to capture? Much like your CRM cleanup, you can get conscious about the fields you’re using and tidy things up for the future. 

Take a closer look at your reimbursement and company spending policies. Do you need to clarify which types of spending are reimbursable? Are paper receipts necessary? How long is it taking us to process expenses from swipe to books? It’s the perfect time to optimize your policies and process to improve careful spending and a faster turnaround.

divvy card with phone and browser

Divvy provides receipt capture and automatic expense reporting linked to corporate cards—for free.

2. Automate expense reporting

 Before switching to Divvy, Westland Construction was taking about 180 hours to close their books every month. After switching to Divvy, it only takes them 20 hours. Check out the case study.

How much time (and frustration) are you wasting on ineffective expense reporting? Now that you’ve created a better process for receipts, expense reporting is the natural next step. Your process should be automated for speed and security—not to mention eliminating the cluttered paper trail. 

Push to process

Designate a 24 hour expense-a-thon, where every employee submits all outstanding expense reports, every manager approves or flags the spending, and all reports get processed. It might be a messy and annoying process, but when you come out on the other side you’ll have a fresh start with expense reports. 

Automate expense reports

Utilize an expense management platform that will automatically submit expense reports whenever spend occurs by linking your spend directly with your books. See what expense reporting options are offered by your accounting solution, and use a Divvy smart card to automatically create expense reports for every swipe of the corporate card.

3. Budget cleanup

It’s common for budgets to live with a “set and forget” mentality. Unfortunately your budget doesn’t do you much good without awareness and execution. It’s time to break the habit of only checking your budget at the end of the quarter. You need a better budget

Update budgets

Hopefully you’re using software that uses expense reports to quickly update budgets, but if not you need to take the time to manually update your budget spreadsheets. Conduct a quick pulse check of each individual budget, noting if they’re over, under, or on track. 

Complete a budget exercise

Many companies get in a rut with business budgets. They fail to notice harmful patterns or ways to take advantage of the data they gather. A budget exercise provides you the opportunity of seeing your financial performance with fresh eyes. 

Budget technique Definition  Example
Incremental Moving budgets up or down in increments across the board See what it looks like to decrease all budgets by 3%
Activity-based Assigning budgets based on achieving a particular goal Adjust budgets to facilitate a sales goal of 10% growth
Value proposition  Assigning budgets based on ROI Adjust budgets based on activities that increased revenue last quarter
Zero-based Each budget starts at zero, justifying each line of spend Start all budgets from scratch and begin adding money based on need

Curious which budgeting method is best for your business? Check out our free guide

You may not stick with these budget techniques but they can help you with perspective and a fresh start. 

Trim your spend

No budget cleanup would be complete without trimming your spend for a better profit margin. Find one (or more) areas where you could trim the budget or cut costs so that you are running as efficiently as possible.

Keep it going

Each of these steps will provide you financial insight and more breathing room in this quarter, but you can project that progress forward by making these systemic changes. Change your processes, change your tools. You’ll find that permanent solutions to your spend management make your business finances feel squeaky clean year-round.

Divvy provides expense management solutions that are fast, effective, and free. From reimbursements to automatic expense reporting we can help you see your spend in real time. Get started now.

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