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Finance and Expense Management Trends for 2023

expense management trends

Even though 2022 also was a strange year, nations opened up their countries again, and we saw people claiming more and more expenses. But what trends do we see for expense management in 2023? We reached out to our partners to get their opinion:

“Focus on efficiency in financial departments and companies, in general, is increasing. Extensive use of technology is driving this development forward – at a high pace. When things move quickly, it is those who can adapt who succeed in the future and those who dare to think differently and is willing to challenge existing solutions.

Expenses are, for many companies, a manual work process that easily could and should be automated. Companies should invest in tools that make it easy to claim expenses, approve reimbursements and make reports. An app-based solution makes it possible to claim expenses on the fly, and with the help of technology for analysing receipts, both time and money will be saved for the company.

Make sure your solution can connect the company credit cards directly to the expense management tool when buying tickets or hotels. This way, the transactions are sent directly to the app. Your expense solution should also integrate into the company payroll system so the whole process can be streamlined. This will save a lot of time for both the payroll staff and those who are using the expense solution. It’s a win-win situation for everybody in the company!”
– Stian Brandvold, Sales and Marketing Director, VIEW Ledger

“Digital expense management has been around for a while, but have all companies really taken the step to a fully digitised expense management process?

Working remotely and being constantly on the go increases the importance of having efficient expense management. Employees demand a simple and fast way to manage and report expenses, mileage allowance, allowances and benefits. And managers, in turn, must have an effective way to follow up and approve employees' expenses. Therefore, I think that in the next year, organisations should focus a lot on streamlining the process of expense management, from the time an employee makes a purchase until it is reimbursed and booked.

One way to achieve this is by using an expense management solution that offers integrations to different bank cards, automatic validation and the ability to send reports to several of the company's systems. These are functions that save time for employees and that minimise the number of errors in the accounting, which in turn saves time for managers and ensures that the bookkeeping and salary payment will be correct.”
– Guila Gittens Norrström, Internal IT Manager, ECIT

“When we talk about administration in general, the trend is clear: it’s no longer managed by experts alone. Every employee is a user of both finance and HR solutions.

It’s becoming even more important that systems have automated processes with their own intelligence (AI) and thus become faster and more secure. As an employee, I don’t need to have expert knowledge, the system solves it for me, and as an expert, I don’t need to do manual checks but instead can act on automatic warnings and spend my time on other value-creating tasks.

My expectations for the future are not just about the administration going quickly but the process as a whole. When, for example, I buy coffee for work, I want to be able to register it as an expense in my expense tool directly and barely have time to notice the loss in my bank account before the reimbursement is complete – no more waiting for the next salary.

When the users aren’t experts that work in the systems every day, the solutions of the future must be intuitive and have a strong focus on ease of use and built-in help. They also need to be easily accessible, which not only means that it works well on the smartphone but is also connected to my other everyday tools. If I’ve chosen to receive reminders via email or Teams, I would like to be able to approve an expense or clear a time report from Teams as well.”
– Annica Gilbertson, Bolagschef, Hogia HR System AB

“We see a clear trend where the user now sets the requirements. Previously when companies chose to outsource expenditure in digital systems, the focus was gathering and streamlining. Now we see an increasing demand for user-friendliness.

The system must be adapted to what the user needs at each moment – expenses are often recorded on the go, and with the help of AI, no manual calculations are required. The user should not have to know complex VAT rules or how allowances should be reported. It must be easy to do right!”
– Maria Lindström, Certified Payroll Consultant, BDO

“Remote work continues after the pandemic, and travelling and representation have started again. With this, companies need solid processes that facilitate the needs of both users and administrators that are working from home offices and don't have the same opportunities to scan in receipts or hand them over to the finance department.

Inflation and increased costs also tighten budgets, and you need to have systems that control certification flows and approval processes. Companies need proven cloud-based systems that provide control over their costs and increase the efficiency of users.”
– Marcus Egberth, Head of Aftermarket Sales, MediusGo

“In 2023, we will see more companies digitising their expense management processes. Our research revealed that an average of just 12% of European businesses currently use an expense management app, and 37% shared that they manage expenses manually.

The unstable financial climate puts pressure on companies. You can no longer afford slow processes with high alternative costs – like wasted time – which will result in more companies implementing process-optimising tech, like expense management solutions.

Expectations on tech are constantly changing, and just as we've seen in the finance industry since PSD2/open banking, customers want to be able to pick their favourite systems and apps and integrate them. 2023 is the year when this change will start to apply to the expense management market. Customers want to use their preferred payment methods, banks and financial systems, and expense management solutions must adapt to this.”
– Patrick Olsson, CEO, Findity

Managing minimal expenses might be just about doable with a spreadsheet. Still, as the number of expenses reaches tens, hundreds, and thousands – an integrated expense app is the only logical solution. Successful expense management solutions must cater to the needs of all employees and offer finance teams control and compatibility with existing banks and systems.