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Maleon: An engineering consultancy implements an expenses solution

Industry: Engineering Consultancy
Software: Sage Line 50

Maleon is a thriving engineering consultancy offering clients a comprehensive range of services that includes planning supervision, property and facilities maintenance, chartered building services, environmental engineering, construction and design solutions.

A solution for a distributed workforce
Over 75% of Maleon’s workforce is based at client sites. A major challenge for Maleon’s Accounts Payable manager Sally Dunford was how to improve the quality and consistency of expense reports submitted. Sally outlined her frustrations as follows:

"Our previous paper-based approval process was unwieldy as the engineers and their managers are based in multiple locations. When the expense reports eventually arrived on my desk, the manual interpretation and data entry was low-value and time-consuming work."

Maleon needed a solution that would reduce the time taken to process expenses, was easy to use, and would provide consistency in the completion of expense reports. WebExpenses was selected following a trial and on the basis of a recommendation from an industry associate already using the product.

Offline employees
One of the key benefits for Maleon has been the ability of the engineers to submit their expenses anywhere, anytime. The WebExpenses ‘offline’ version allows expense reports to be created and submitted and then uploaded at the click of a button when the user is next connected to the internet. Maleon feel this is the perfect solution as the consultants are equipped with mobile phones and laptops. Sally says:

"Our consultants can update their expenses on an ongoing basis, rather than waiting until the end of the month. This helps them stay well organised and focused on their client assignment."

James Cottee, a consultant with Maleon, gives the user’s perspective:

"The initial learning curve was quick and WebExpenses is a great improvement over our earlier process. I like the fact that I’m able to see the details of expense reports that I’ve submitted in the past and whether or not my manager has approved my expenses. I’d find it very difficult to return to a manual system."

Efficient recharging to clients
A further benefit, especially for consultancy-based firms like Maleon, is the facility for client or project recharging. WebExpenses allows expense data associated with a particular client or project to be viewed on a consolidated basis, and for those expenses to be recharged efficiently and consistently.

"‘When we recharge an expense item to a customer, that has an immediate positive impact on our bottom line profitability. However, it is key that we recharge clients in a consistent and auditable manner. We are now able to do this."

IT costs eliminated
Consultancy firms that don’t maintain an IT department benefit from web-based solutions such as WebExpenses. Implementation and maintenance costs are minimised as the application is hosted on WebExpenses' servers rather than the client’s network. The only infrastructure required is a phone line and an internet browser.

Like other users of WebExpenses, Sally has no hesitation recommending WebExpenses primarily because of its ease of use and the real benefits she has experienced:

"‘I calculate that using WebExpenses saves around 34 hours a month in processing expenses compared with the manual processes we had in place previously. There’s no question that the cost savings are considerable, even without considering increased control over travel and entertainment spending and the ability to recharge expenses to clients."

Source : Webexpenses




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