It's frustrating to see any expense item go over the initial budget. When it happens to multiple expenses, and when there's little you can do to monitor these excesses, you can end up with some very nasty surprises at the end of a project. With digital tools on your side, you can avoid these surprises.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but the more cards a team has access to, the greater visibility you have over spend. Each card can be configured according to need, with withdrawal limits or payment limits. The connected dashboards allow for better spend management in the following ways:
- You can monitor spending in real time.
- You can categorize budgets (having multiple accounts means you can put in place a budget per team, per project, per customer or per supplier).
- You can approve transfers and direct debits with one mouse click (or finger tap on your mobile).
With features like these, you can finally cut down on all those pesky paper receipts that expense reports inevitably generate.
Construction companies can also benefit from mobile solutions. As long as the staff and contractors have smartphones (and who doesn't?), there's no need for paper receipts, which can and do get lost or damaged. All the information is in the smartphone. For example, it's possible to take photos of receipts and forward those photos directly to the finance team or manager. As for the site managers, they have real-time vision of spending at their fingertips.
💡 To get a clearer view of the benefits that digitalization can bring, let's compare two companies:
Company A manages its spending without the aid of digital tools.
- Bills and invoices are checked and sent as sheets of paper.
- The accounts team inputs these invoices manually.
- Monitoring finances (outgoing expenses and customer payments) is carried out by a financial controller, usually with Excel.
Inputting and approving these documents, verbally or by hand, is vulnerable to human error. The tools used are basic and the input is mundane, repetitive and time-consuming. The software used is unlikely to offer truly collaborative features.
Company B has had enough of seeing its margins evaporate because of lost documents and human error, so it has turned to a modern, digital solution. As a result it enjoys the following advantages:
- Bills and invoices are automated, considerably reducing the risk of damage, loss or fraud and making the process faster and more secure.
- Digital tools can be integrated with solutions used by other departments. The accounts team, for example, can instantly and automatically receive documents generated on-site.
- Finances can be monitored in real time by the financial controller or upper management, while the expenses can be categorized by purchaser, supplier etc. via the dashboard.
The management of time, teams and costs are the three central pillars of a construction site. The adoption of new methods and digital solutions goes a long way towards streamlining the often-complex management process. Businesses that have 'gone digital' very rarely (if ever) revert back to manual processes. And for good reason: when you can measure efficiency and profitability cent-for-cent, penny-for-penny, why would you?