From XU Magazine, 
Issue 26

Why businesses need to focus on Automation & Digitisation in 2021

CEO & founder of ExpenseOnDemand, Sunil Nigam, discusses the importance of SMEs adopting automation and digitisation and shares his thoughts and insights into how firms are preparing for the ‘new normal’ and offices reopening.
This article originated from the Xero blog. The XU Hub is an independent news and media platform - for Xero users, by Xero users. Any content, imagery and associated links below are directly from Xero and not produced by the XU Hub.
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For many years the ExpenseOnDemand app has been offering our clients around the globe a simple solution allowing employees to upload and claim business expenses from any mobile device. This helps them to automate their expenses process in a paperless & contactless environment. Our tech solution and ‘Pay as You Use’ model meant we were, therefore, perfectly placed to help our clients when the pandemic struck in early 2020 as their staff dispersed from offices and worked from home due to global lockdowns.

Since the outbreak, businesses have had to adapt quickly to survive, manage their day-to-day processes and ensure their staff can work seamlessly whilst working remotely. This adaption was possible by sourcing tech solutions to automate and digitise parts of their business which had not been updated for years. The pandemic has caused a technological revolution as certain technologies which used to be convenient pre-COVID have now become essential tools. Businesses cannot survive without. Zoom calls, Slack chats and Team meetings. These have become a key part of our working day, and so many other technologies have adapted quickly to the ‘new normal’. In a matter of months these solutions have advanced in what would have taken years and this has solidified what we now all know that we don’t all need to sit in the same office from Monday to Friday. 

We spoke to Hriidayesh Gupta from IntelliTicks, a client of ExpenseOnDemand, to find out how they have adopted technology to help them during the pandemic. “At IntelliTicks we have worked with ExpenseOnDemand for some time now helping set up their Chatbot both on the website and inside their app.  The team had a single objective with their requirements for the bot – to provide the customer with a great experience when it came to support. In the process, we got the chance to understand the ExpenseOnDemand platform and found it very easy to use. I would highly recommend ExpenseOnDemand to businesses using paper wanting to automate their expense process.”

We recently surveyed global Financial Directors and leaders to highlight how they are coping with the pandemic and also their predictions for the next 12 months. The majority of financial experts expect automation to be more important than cash flow in 2021, which shows how highly businesses believe implementing and automating their systems is for their future success. This shift in priorities also shows some levels of optimism as businesses seem to be coming out the other side of the pandemic and now focusing on not just surviving but what tech they need to thrive.

Our survey also revealed how businesses around the world feel about their current office set up and how and if this was set to change in the post-vaccine world. The results were surprising with 40% of all businesses globally stating they would be adapting their workplaces. 22% of all the firms surveyed stated they would be moving to a smaller office as most staff would be working from home at least part time while 18% confirmed they were looking to set up a network of regional offices instead of having a central head office.

These results varied hugely across regions with 82% of businesses in Europe, which has been hit particularly hard by the pandemic, stating they will be either reducing office size or moving to regional offices meaning only 18% of European firms will remain in their current offices. African and Indian businesses, however, showed a completely opposite trend with the vast majority expecting to remain or return to their current workplaces.

Jon Butterworth, Healthier Weight added, “We have been using ExpenseOnDemand as our Employee Expense Management solution for quite some years now.  We have found that the app works well & addresses our requirements.  The team were very interested in my feedback and took time to come out in person to Birmingham to get it.  Pricing is great, as we only pay for what we use – nothing more, which helps us plan the cost for the service.  I have an option to trial any new function and turn it off all on demand.  Would I recommend it to SMEs – Yes. 

For technology to continue to rapidly impact business processes many firms will need to collaborate and offer open APIs to allow seamless integration and for multiple software’s to be able to talk to each other. This has been happening across many sectors, such as, FinTech for years as accounting, expenses and internet banks integrate to allow a completely coherent solution for businesses. 

Lidia Budean, Kelly - telecommunications company, added: “As a telecommunications company, our employees are out on the road building networks. We were dealing with a lot of paper until we moved to ExpenseOnDemand. It is very easy to review, approve and pay expenses. Also, the cloud application has helped our employees to capture their receipts with quick reimbursements which makes them happy.  

Having used the ExpenseOnDemand for several years now. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to automate expenses and go paperless – absolutely yes.” 

The team at ExpenseOnDemand has been adapting our market leading app since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and we have been working hard to make it easier for finance leaders and staff to manage expenses in the new normal, especially with so many employees working from home. Our systems are continually being updated and developed to ensure we can offer our clients solutions that our current and work for them no matter where their staff are working.

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