What’s an ‘EMS’ and why might you need one?

An EMS is an Expense Management System, specifically designed to improve the management and reconciliation process of credit cards and out of pocket reimbursements.

Your firm is likely to benefit from such a system where you have at least 15 to 20 firm credit cards in use across your practice.


A familiar scenario?

A Partner takes a client to lunch and returns to the office…. a week later they clean out their wallet and come across the receipt for the lunch that was paid for using their corporate credit card.  The Partner gives the receipt to their secretary and begins to cast their mind back to who attended the lunch.  A secretary fills out a form with the information that the Partner recalls.

That form is sent to Accounts who take that same information and enter it into the Practice Management System.  This process is repeated for each transaction, on every credit card, each and every month.


The scenario with an Expense Management System

Now imagine this… a Partner takes a client for lunch and at the end of lunch, they take a photo of the receipt via an App on their phone, fill in a brief description and press send.  The receipt is immediately stored in the system and the secretary can quickly and easily acquit the expense at her desk.  The physical receipt can be thrown away.  No paper at all is used and there is zero data entry duplication. Some systems will also allow the user to fully acquit the expense within the App itself.


Other benefits

Expense Management Systems often feature fully integrated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology.  This allows auto matching of receipts with credit card feed expenses, saving even more of the secretaries time and effort.

Most expense management systems can also handle allowances such as travel and mileage and also Cabcharge cards.

Online card feeds provide instant data on spend.  No more following up card holders only once a month when a statement arrives.  This in turn generally increases the speed at which the card spend data enters your GL and therefore more accurate P&Ls.

Consistency in coding of expenses and therefore more accurate GL.

Renewed excitement from your Accounts Team who don’t have to deal with tonnes of paper anymore, freeing up their time to work on other things.


What is involved in implementing an Expense Management System?

An online expense management system is affordable and relatively easy to implement.  Quite often the only extra work needed by a firm is around building the interface with your PMS which our team are proficient in implementing.  Our team can also assist with the selection and implementation of a suitable Expense Management System.



About the Author

Jackie has over 14 years of in-house experience, working for Ashurst, Maurice Blackburn, Russell Kennedy, McCullough Robertson and Colin Biggers & Paisley. She has both strategic financial management and ‘hands-on’ accounts experience, allowing her to assist firms of all sizes. Jackie is passionate about Expense Management Systems, having selected and implemented a number of systems and seen the efficiency gains first hand.