Relocation expense management is a complicated, stressful process. Relocating employees can have almost a dozen expense reports that they’ll submit over the course of their relocation, which can be difficult for the employee to self-fund. The Federal Reserve’s Report on the Economic Well-Being of U.S. Households in 2017 found that 4 in 10 adults would either borrow, sell something, or not be able to pay if faced with a $400 emergency expense. Given this data, the self-fund of dozens of expenses can hit an individual quite hard. A seamless, efficient relocation expense management process is critical to the overall well-being of the relocation. We’ve compiled five simple tips to address the accuracy and timeliness of relocation reimbursements.
Tip 1 – Over communicate the timeline.
Through WHR’s intricate survey process, we’ve found that there’s a direct correlation between the timeliness of reimbursement and employee satisfaction. We cannot stress enough the importance of a quick turnaround of funds, especially given the above statistic from the Federal Reserve. Overly communicating with relocating employees what the timeline is can help them plan accordingly and know when to expect the reimbursement.
Tip 2 – Ensure accuracy with a dual review.
Accuracy is critical in expense report review so having more than one set of eyes on each item is a must before reimbursing. At WHR, one review is completed by the policy expert and another is done by an accounting team member. This ensures compliance and accuracy.
Tip 3 – Have a simple, easy-to-use, accessible employee interface.
Deploy an online expense submission system that can be accessed anywhere, 24/7/365. Giving employees the ability to upload receipts from their phone or tablet saves time and the headache of scanning in countless receipts. This is also helpful while employees are traveling.
Tip 4 – Utilize custom expense reports.
To streamline the review of expense reports, build custom reports for each relocation policy. This not only ensures that employees stay compliant with policy benefits, but also helps the review process for your team. If you’re using an online technology, be sure that the system has your policy parameters built into it. This will decrease the chances of an exception request, which only increases the time to review and the time to reimburse.
Tip 5 – Correctness and security of payment information.
The correctness of payment information is paramount to accurate, timely reimbursements. At WHR, our proprietary technology requires that only the relocating employee can edit the payment information fields. An authentication code is also emailed to them to verify their identity prior to inputting or editing information. Additionally, security measures to prevent hacking or phishing should be clearly documented and proven through technology audits.
Take a hard look at your current expense management process and see if these tips are being followed. If not, make an action plan to realign your program with these core necessities. Remember: a well-run relocation expense management process can make or break the relocation.