Smoother travel expenses
BSG has volunteer members and senior officers around the country who come to London regularly for meetings. This involves booking flights, trains, and accommodation on a regular basis.
“They all used to have to pay for all this personally and we’d refund them later. But now we give the senior officers Spendesk cards to use for Society business. They can book and pay easily, and we can keep an eye over everything from here in London.
“We also have approximately 250 members who travel from all over the UK to London for meetings four times a year and after each meeting, they all submit their expenses. This includes trains and flights, plus complicated issues like mileage.
“Two years ago these were entirely on paper. We’d get hundreds of paper forms, with bank details filled in and receipts attached to the back. And we’d have to check and enter all of these one by one and they had to be sent to the committee chair, by post, to be authorised.
“Once we discovered Spendesk, this process changed overnight. Now, they upload their claims and receipts directly to Spendesk. Their request goes electronically to the committee chair for approval. My team just has to check that all the right details are there, and then we can push it to Xero and reimburse the member.
“And now we can even reimburse people directly from Spendesk, which just makes things faster than ever.”
A clear audit trail
As a charity, BSG can't spend money that doesn't relate to its mission. “We couldn't just go out and buy something or pay somebody if it was completely unrelated to our cause.
“So we need to keep a very close eye on spending. We have internal systems in place, and delegated authorities to make sure everything’s under control. But with Spendesk, it's instant. It's not like a normal credit card where you would have to log in to your credit cards or you wait until you get your statement at the end of the month.
“As soon as we spend, I can see it in the system. And then there’s a permanent record sitting there for me to refer back to if I ever need to. We always had a permanent record, of course, but because it’s digitised and categorised, it’s that much faster to look back through.”
Breaking the paper habit
For many organisations, paper expense claims still eat up too much of the finance team’s time. And this used to be the case for BSG.
“Managing the paper claims wasn’t just slow, it was also messy. We might receive a bunch soon after each meeting, but then you’d have somebody submitting a whole year’s worth all at once. They could submit in December for a meeting they attended in February."
“And for every one, we had to check the claim, make sure the receipts matched, and enter all of that data into our system.
“Even now with Spendesk this still occurs, but it’s all in the app, not on paper. Spendesk checks the details for us, and it’s just a quick glance and a click to process them.
“It’s so nice to have Spendesk guide the members through the process. Most of them find it really easy to use, and we have so few errors these days.”
Better access to company funds
It’s not only the members who benefit from using Spendesk. BSG’s eight office staff each have their own card to use when required. “They use it rather than just having to share around one company credit card.
“The biggest benefit here is the flexible limits on Spendesk cards. If you issue a NatWest credit card, you either have to set limits on each of them for each person, or you have one company credit card shared around. Which is not ideal at all.
“With Spendesk, we can set nice low limits as the default. And then if someone wants to buy a piece of software online - which can cost thousands of pounds - the limit can quickly be increased for that one-off purchase. I can raise and reduce the limit instantly, and people can get on with their work.
“We can also block cards instantly if we need to. It’s not very common, but it’s a great bit of security when we need it.
“With traditional credit cards I’d have to phone the bank every time I wanted to increase a limit or block a card. Instead, using Spendesk cards, I just get a notification and can change their limit right away. It’s as easy as that.”
More modern, efficient finance tools
Like many businesses, BSG is constantly looking for ways to upgrade and update its processes. “It was actually our Chief Executive who first found Spendesk and he wants us to be ahead of the curve as an organisation.
“I know there are plenty of organisations still stuck on paper receipts and company credit cards. But we have no paper receipts, and every team member knows how to spend when they need to.
“And Spendesk works well with the other tools we use. The Xero integration is great - all our expense data is shipped into Xero easily. We also use Receipt Bank and Approval Max for invoices.
“Since they all integrate with Xero, I have all the data I need in one place. I have this wonderful suite of tools that keeps all of spending in control, and reduces so much admin time.
“I tell people about Spendesk all the time.”