As a consultant you usually have a hybrid relationship with your clients. You are working for them, but you are technically not a part of their organization. And whenever an expense arises in the course of doing your job, the question of who pays for it can arise too. This can cause strain in the relationship with your clients.
To avoid awkward or even angry conversations, it is crucial to set rules in advance of what you will and won’t be expensing. You could for example add your own expensing clause to the contract, or simply ask your client if they have a policy regarding expenses. When in doubt, ask. And applying common sense by viewing the expense from your client’s perspective can be very helpful. Of course you want to prevent losing a client because they think you are taking advantage of them.
Travel expense management
So how do you manage travel expenses during a consulting project? This is an important question to answer beforehand, since mismanagement of travel expenses can, and usually will, be detrimental to your reputation within your firm and your consulting career. Your project leader and colleagues will help making decisions on which travel expenses are relevant and appropriate. But in the end it is you who bears full responsibility for the choices related to those expenses. Your choices must rest on a foundation of clarity and sensibility, and expectations have to be managed accordingly. No one should even think about questioning your expenses.
Real-time data tracking software
Once you have agreed with the client on what can or cannot be expensed upfront, it is important for you to be able to itemize and give supporting evidence of your expenses whenever possible. Even if you just add a one-line item for ‘expenses’ to your invoice, always attach an expense report with images of the original receipts and details for each charge. Your client probably needs these details for their own accounting and tax purposes, and the transparency will reinforce goodwill on both sides. For organizations and you as a consultant however, these are very tedious and time-consuming activities. Having software to monitor the budget as you execute the project is key for managing costs. However, if you are looking at data that is not current, you won’t be able to act swiftly enough to resolve issues. Therefore, you need software with real-time data tracking, which is exactly what Rydoo offers.
The full value chain
At Rydoo, we make your hectic and work-intense life as a consultant easier. We integrate all your needs when it comes to travel and expenses. Varying from searching for flights & hotels and booking a seat on a train, to expensing a cab from the airport. Late dinner with your clients in Singapore? We kill the expense report reducing workload every month, which allows you to submit your expenses on the go in real-time. Our software is developed to support all your branches, all over the world. It allows you to create one account for all your offices and use specific configurations for each one of them. This will help your organization and your (international) clients to retrieve a global view of all your travel and expense data, while each country has its own access and is compliant with the local regulations and policies.
Deloitte and Rydoo
Deloitte Belgium is one of the first big users of Rydoo’s software to automatically and quickly processes their employees’ expenses. Rydoo makes it possible for the finance department to reduce their time spent processing and analyzing data, in addition to gaining real-time insights into their employees’ expenses. 3,000+ Deloitte employees use Rydoo daily, so that they can simply process their expenses via an app on their smartphones. This gives them the ability to scan a picture of their receipt and upload it directly into the Deloitte system. The app analyses the data and extracts the required data for fields including purchase date, amount, supplier’s name and currency etc. After scanning and uploading, the user can also add additional information. “For us, it is very important to constantly innovate our processes and tools, to reduce administration and to increase efficiency. Thanks to Rydoo we know faster how much we spent on a certain project or client. Also, we get information about a large part of the expenses during the same month, so we can immediately start to control and process that part. This reduces significantly the amount of work to be done at the end of each month,” says Cindy Peeters, Finance Director of Deloitte Belgium.
Originally published , modified