Expense Management

Expense Management

April 23, 2013

Pensions Company Friends Life Invested in Expense Management Solution to Drive Down Staff Expenses

In an effort to gain greater control over its staff’s expense claims, pensions company Friends Life has implemented an intelligent online expenses management solution from Software Europe. Friends Life’s finance system supplier, Advanced Business Solutions, is going to implement the solution. Advanced Business Solutions and Software Europe have been partnering since December 2009.

Scheduled to go live in June 2013, the new solution is going to replace Friends Life Group’s existing solution that lacked any built-in controls and called for manual intervention in claims processing. The system reportedly made the company depend heavily on the line managers in connection with the claims management procedure. The new solution is going to automate the entire process by asking the staff a range of questions as they enter their claims. The staff will have to provide satisfactory answers to questions such as whether the cost of a meal was for more than one person and if so, if they eating with a colleague or a guest.

As far as mileage claims are concerned, the system will automatically suggest the correct mileage and if the mileage claim is more than the suggested figure, the member of staff will have to justify the difference.

The new system is expected to identify inaccuracies in claims more efficiently and be able to detect inflated claims. This in turn is expected to drive down the cost of staff expenses for the company that provides pensions, investments and life insurance for over five million customers.

“Our current expenses solution does not have any in-built controls and so we are heavily reliant on line managers to effectively enforce our expenses policy. The new solution will automatically ask questions of staff at the point in which they enter their claims, cutting inaccuracies and inflated claims,” head of finance systems at Friends Life Group Will James, explained in a statement.

The system will make it easy for employees to stay within their claims limits by letting them clearly view what they can claim for and the limits in each case. Making it easy for the approvers, the system will provide the approvers with visible prompts for items that exceed limits or appear to be duplicates.

With the new system, the company hopes to achieve greater control over expense claims, reduce risk and prevent unnecessary expenditure. Interfacing with the company’s finance system, the new expense management solution is also expected to significantly reduce the time taken to manage and process staff expenses.

Recently, Friends Life reported 30 percent efficiency savings in its accounts payable team as a result of implementing a shared finance system with integrated document management software.

Edited by Rachel Ramsey

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