Companies in Singapore may have rushed to digitize as remote work became the norm, but a new study by SAP Concur has found that despite the rapid transition to video calls and online collaboration, one-third of local employees are still submitting their expense claims by filling out forms manually and enclosing physical receipts—and now they have to mail these in for approval as well.
Figures from the study found that employees in Singapore spend an average of 2.7 hours per month filing expense claims, while managers spend 5.5 hours reviewing and approving expense claims, in addition to their own 2.7 hours' worth of claims—a full working day lost on paperwork. The resulting inefficiencies might cost up to US$340 million (S$473 million) in GDP revenue loss for Singapore annually.
Unsurprisingly, half of the study's Singapore respondents are less than satisfied with their organisation’s expense claims process. Considering that the study also found that 61 percent of Singapore employees strongly link their overall finance and administrative experience with their overall satisfaction of working for their organizations, there is a great deal of room for improvement in finance and administrative processes.
"While businesses have been quick to help their employees adapt to remote working, finance and administrative processes remain a tedious and manual process for many," said Laura Houldsworth, Managing Director, South East Asia, SAP Concur. "Given the current economic landscape, it is crucial for businesses to identify inefficient processes that not only dampen productivity and efficiency but rob employees of their valuable time that could otherwise been spent driving business growth."
What are some ways of easing that administrative friction? The study results suggest that employees would much prefer to be able to submit their expenses via a fully intelligent and digital tool. They would also like their companies' systems to support modern payment methods such as external mobile apps, and for added functionality such as reimbursement of payments through super apps. In short, digitization that goes beyond just company chat rooms and online check-ins.