From Paper to Digital: Trant Engineering Streamline Expenses
Trant Engineering is one of the UK’s leading, privately owned engineering companies, with more than 1000 employees and a turnover of £140M.
This major engineering business needed to modernise its expenses process, moving away from a paper-based process that involved multiple spreadsheets, receipts and forms.
Since implementing COINS Expenses Trant Engineering has greatly improved control over its claims process, increased visibility for both claimants and finance staff, as well as saving hours of administrative time handling claims and queries.
The problems of paper-based expenses
Managing expenses was a lengthy process for the Trant team, with many hours spent tracking down missing receipts, identifying illegible handwriting, and chasing people for correct information such as missing site costings and other relevant information for HMRC compliance.
With more than 1,700 claims every month covering everything from mileage, to travel meals, site incidentals and hotels, managing expenses was a full-time job. To handle expense payments, which were ‘off payroll’, we needed fortnightly payment runs.
Finance Team, Trant Engineering
Time management was also an issue: it was difficult to control the behaviours of our claimants and the timely submissions of their claims for reimbursement, which had the potential to impact timely reporting.
We had cases where people would hoard expense receipts for longer periods of time, over the Trant specified claim expiry date, causing additional pressure on the finance team to process claims.
Molly Hart, COINS Administrator,Trant Engineering
Why choose COINS Expenses?
COINS Expenses provides a digital solution for employees to record, submit and manage expenses directly from any of their devices, with all information feeding directly into the COINS ERP system.
As Trant was a COINS’ customer, costing details and data were already stored within the COINS ERP system. It was also a huge benefit that COINS Expenses integrates seamlessly with COINS Payroll module.
COINS Expenses offered us a way to implement better workflow policies. There were more advantages in the COINS Expenses software than any of the other solutions considered.
Charlotte Bullen, ERP System Manager, Trant Engineering
COINS Expenses provided a solution for Trant to digitise and streamline its entire expense process, from claim to payment.
Other options explored included developing bespoke software ‘in-house’– however Trant rejected this due to the cost and time of developing the complete package.
One of the key challenges was to manage the transition to this new way of working.
This was led by Charlotte Bullen, ERP System Manager, an experienced COINS user with a payroll and finance background, supported by Molly Hart, COINS Administrator, also with a payroll background.
We conducted e-Learning sessions to meet the challenge of training over 200 users on how to use the new system before it went live.
Charlotte Bullen, Trant Engineering.
These ranged from general claimant sessions which focussed on explaining the reasons behind introducing a new system, live demonstrations and Q&A sessions, as well those tailored for approvers.
Trant made the switch from paper to digital in one step, timed to coincide with its financial year end and this ‘all or nothing approach’ has turned out to be the most efficient way to handle the transformation.
One year since going live with COINS Expenses key benefits include:
1: More control (commercial accuracy)
Trant is now able to accurately allocate costs to projects in real time. Prior to using COINS Expenses this was an issue as it was difficult to control the timings of when claims were submitted.
Since implementing COINS Expenses it’s now easy to control the expenses process.
Faye Trant, Trant Engineering
This also makes it easier for Trant to ensure compliance with its company expense policy as it is easy to set up values for items which are reimbursed at a particular rate, as well as creating cost caps.
COINS Expenses creates automatic policy warnings flagging items such as duplications. This makes it easy to see where someone has claimed twice for something; this can be difficult to track with a paper-based system.
Charlotte Bullen, Trant Engineering.
Trant is now able to enforce its ‘three-month expense submission rule’, i.e. employees have a three-month deadline to claim expenses, as COINS Expenses can be set up to prevent claims from being submitted outside a given period.
Another important benefit is better contract security, as COINS Expenses includes functionality to manage who can access and add expenses to specific projects.
2: Administrative time saved
The administrative input needed to process expense claims has now greatly reduced as paper-based receipts no longer require manual keying, with COINS Expenses you can scan or take a photo of the receipt and the software will interpret and enter the details automatically. This has reduced errors and improved query handling. Previously a full-time role, this has now been reduced by two days a week. An added benefit is that this also accommodates remote working practices.
3: Streamlined procedures and faster reimbursement
Expenses are now fully incorporated into the COINS ERP system and are paid monthly via the payroll and across multiple trading companies.
Claiming has become easier - for example the method used to track and record mileage has been simplified and is now linked to quarterly rates published by the UK Government.
The COINS mobile app allows me to process my claims and submit my reports whilst on the road. Using the device in my pocket, I no longer need to save my receipts and remember historic details when at my desk. Being able to use the google map integration, helps me ensure that I report the correct mileage for my journeys.
Simon Robinson, Head of SHEQ and Training, Trant Engineering
COINS Expenses enables approvers to delegate, which avoids claimants missing a payment run because their approving manager is on holiday, for example.
Members of the Trant team based overseas, in locations such as the Falklands and Singapore, all use this same centralised system to claim expenses.
4: Paper-free processes
Trant has transformed a heavily paper-based process to a fully digitised expenses system using COINS Expenses, which has multiple benefits for both claimants and the finance team.
Claims no longer sit in anybody's inbox now, or are missing receipts or being lost in the post.
Molly Hart, Trant Engineering
With COINS Expenses all receipts are digitised. The document management system makes it easy to refer back to past claims for any queries, which is a huge improvement on having to search through archived paper claims, stored in boxes, dating back years.
COINS has streamlined how I support my staff in the prompt and timely submission and approval of expenses, irrespective of geographic constraints and the need to have access to scanners and email for wet signatures. The data collected is clear and auditable, reducing the chance of rejection.
Simon Robinson, Trant Engineering
5: Increased visibility
Both finance staff and claimants can now track the entire claims process using COINS Expenses, via desktop or the mobile app, which is a massive improvement, with notifications triggered when claims have been submitted, approved or rejected.
Claimants can see the full history of their claims, and the reasons for any rejected items, such as exceeding meal allowances or using an invalid contract code.
6: Improved environmental impact
Going paperless also has a positive environmental impact for Trant. Not only helping to reduce deforestation, but also saving carbon emissions from the printing, storing, transporting, and, eventually, disposing of all this paper.
Also, with mileage information all stored on a single system, it is now much easier for Trant to produce environmental reporting data.
Trant is already working closely with COINS to enhance multi-destination mileage functionality, with users simply adding their destinations and the system doing the calculation, also single claim items with multiple VAT distribution.
It has been really nice to work with the COINS team and it has been a collaborative working relationship.
Charlotte Bullen, Trant Engineering
With thanks to:
Charlotte Bullen: ERP System Manager, Trant Engineering
Molly Hart, COINS Administrator, Trant Engineering
Faye Trant, Expense Finance Approver, Trant Engineering
Image credits: Trant Engineering
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