The search for a global and scalable expense management solution
Gallagher is a global organisation with headquarters in Hamilton, New Zealand and employees in 6 countries. The company sought a platform that not only offered tighter controls for compliance and visibility into tax requirements, but also improved the user experience for their global, often-travelling team.
“We had a primitive solution for our visa and credit card processing and reimbursements, which was reaching end of life,” says Marion Andewag, Chief Financial Officer at Gallagher. “As a result, we started looking for a new solution as our previous solution wasn’t global; it was a manual process that involved tediously going through receipts while simultaneously chasing employees for their receipts.”
Because the company operates in several markets, it sometimes means they cannot claim tax unless they have valid tax receipts. “It’s important for us to know we have an automated system that can tell us tax requirements and we know what we can claim back and what we can’t” says Nicola McDonald, Global Financial Lead — Manufacturing. From an end-user perspective, it was also important to have a solution that could give time back to those manually checking receipts on credit cards. “We were looking to streamline the process and make sure people had a good experience and not spending too much time doing things that don’t need time to be taken to do,” says McDonald.
“With operations in multiple jurisdictions, the organisation struggled to keep up with the constantly changing tax laws and regulations in each country,” says Marion Andewag. “This resulted in high compliance costs and the risk of incurring penalties for non-compliance.”
The complex and time-consuming nature of managing tax obligations created operational inefficiencies, took time away from core business. activities, and put a strain on the company’s financial and human resources.
The company’s lack of reimbursement visibility also made it difficult to track spending as it occurred and created frustrations when it came to auditing employee expenses. And, with employees constantly travelling and visiting multiple countries, the challenge of paper receipts and manual processes was compounded.
“Employees had to manually print credit card statements and attach receipts before sending them via mail or physically handing them in,” says Nicola McDonald. “The approver manually checked those credit card receipts against the credit card expense report before approving them. Delayed approval requests led to employee dissatisfaction and bottlenecks that cost the organisation time and money.”
If an approver was in transit or the claim was stuck in the mail, the employee had to take money out of their own pocket to avoid accruing late fees while waiting for approval. This could have a negative impact on employee morale and was also a compliance risk. The company also didn’t have the tools or visibility needed to meet regulatory, audit, and tax obligations.
The solution of choice for a mobile-first organisation
To effectively improve its front- and back-end challenges, Gallagher needed an expense management platform that was mobile, could help the organisation track spending, streamline auditing processes, and automate goods and service tax (GST) and fringe benefits tax (FBT) calculations. As an innovative business, it needed to implement a solution that aligned with its own way of conducting business on behalf of its customers.
“We rolled out SAP Concur across six countries in two weeks, and it was seamless.” Paul Nobilo, Transformation Manager, Gallagher
Gallagher identified SAP Concur as the ideal solution for its travel and expense management needs because of its comprehensive features, ease of use, and reputation as a leading provider in the industry. The company saw SAP Concur as an opportunity to improve front and back-end processes and have the appropriate audit trails for future audits. Additionally, SAP Concur’s global tax compliance capabilities and ability to handle multiple currencies made it the best fit for Gallagher’s needs as a multinational organisation.
Gallagher’s dedication to adopting an innovative and mobile-first approach meant that they prioritised the use of ExpenseIt, SAP Concur’s mobile receipt solution. Employees are now able to take a photo of the receipt from wherever they are, fill out their expense claim, and submit. “This process can take as little as two minutes,” says Nicola McDonald. The claim can then be approved quickly by the finance team, ensuring employees are reimbursed efficiently.
“The mobile app is a feature that we love, and we’ve encouraged it during the training sessions,” says Marion Andewag. To support its employees during the rollout, the team filmed a video on how to complete a transaction in SAP Concur, which resulted in fewer questions from end users about how to best use the new software.
Gallagher also set up a dedicated finance support email address available for any questions, which was especially active during the first rollout period. Because of this, almost 99 per cent of its employees felt they could pick up the SAP Concur solution easily. It was also important for the team to show how easy the mobile app was to use, so often the CFO of the organisation would use the app during team dinners or lunches. “When you’re out for dinner and the CFO comes back to the table after having paid for it and takes a photo of the receipt, it means everybody within the company has bought into it,” says Nicola McDonald.
“The impact of SAP Concur was visible almost immediately after rollout and has fundamentally changed how Gallagher employees submit and approve claims.” Nicola McDonald, Global Financial Lead — Manufacturing
A welcomed change for user experience, compliance, and visibility
Gallagher can now make data-driven decisions as they now have timely information. “The credit card transaction will automatically match the receipt and a report can be created. The report will go through an audit process and is approved before it’s sent to accounting. It takes just two working days for the money to be deposited into the employee’s account,” says Marion Andewag.
Since moving to SAP Concur, Gallagher has seen numerous benefits, including cost savings, improved compliance, and a better user experience. The mobile app is functional and helps employees easily submit claims for approval, helping the business achieve higher levels of efficiency and transparency, and eliminating the need for employees to send expense claims via mail or return to the office to complete their claims.
“The mobile app in particular has been a huge success for Gallagher’s employees who travel regularly for work-related purposes,” says Nicola McDonald.
Using SAP Concur, the company has also improved the accuracy for FBT and GST claims and reduced the repetitive and labour-intensive back-office functions. For auditing and reporting, using SAP Concur means everything goes through the appropriate approval process with complete audit trails that prepare the organisation for a financial audit. It has reduced the time involved in finding receipts to approve expense claims by having an audit trail that employees can see onscreen for improved visibility.
“The ease of use that SAP Concur has given the team is second to none compared to its previous time-consuming, manual process,” says Paul Nobilo.
This transition has also helped minimise the amount of paper waste generated by the company and reduce the resources required for paper production, transportation, and disposal. This helps lower the company’s carbon footprint and promotes a culture of sustainability within the organisation.
And the feedback has been nothing but positive. “Despite the impact of change on business operations, Gallagher has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from its employees who love the user-friendly experience and seamless processing capabilities of the SAP Concur solution,” says Nicola McDonald.
“We absolutely would recommend SAP Concur to others — our main reason being it’s easy to implement and end users absolutely love it.” Marion Andewag CFO, Gallagher