tiense suiker

How this Finance team is leading expense management innovation

Written by Alba Rodriguez
Alba Rodriguez is Content Marketer at Rydoo.

What if you add the best Belgian sugar to rich traditions, self-reflection, passion, and entrepreneurship? Only one possible answer: Tiense Suikerraffinaderij! Since 1836, this well-known company, which is almost the same age as Belgium, develops and produces unique and Belgian sugar specialties that you can find all over the world.

Continuous innovation is the driving force behind Tiense Suikerraffinaderij’s success and that is why Jürgen Everaerts, the company’s Accounting & Tax Manager, decided to apply it to the expense management process as well.

Jürgen Everaerts - Accounting & Tax Manager

We know we have to automate low-value tasks to be more productive. Expectations from the Finance department have changed: we want to bring more knowledge and advice, so smarter decisions can be taken.

THE CHALLENGE

One of Jürgen’s goals is to drive specific tax/time/cost saving projects and anything related to automation and digitalization. 

But, what was the main reason to start a new expense management project inside the company? Jürgen’s own words are the perfect answer to this question: ‘’We used a medieval process. Employees would gather all the tickets and manually enter the information of their expenses in an Excel sheet. An expense report system based on Excel and a lot of sticky papers.’’ That was the expense management process and reason enough to look for a change like they always do.

A time and cost-consuming process for the Finance team but also for other departments involved in the process: ‘’We had a significant recurring cost of processing expense notes in the Finance department but also other colleagues from Accounting, Administration and the travelers themselves. To prepare the expense notes in Excel and submit it, was a long and manual process. We needed to save costs and time.’’

Those were the two main reasons why Jürgen decided to go for Rydoo in the Belgian office.

‘’Cost per user was important for us. Rydoo helped us take the paper out of the expense management process. We had an average number of 10 expense claims forms per year with an average of 5 expenses in each report in the past, for about 450 user.”

Rydoo helped us take the paper out of the expense management process.

SOLUTION

It was obvious for Jürgen that the solution for a new way of managing expenses needed to rely on today’s technologies. ‘’We should not work with paper anymore nor lose time presenting and managing expenses. That is the main thing especially for people in Finance, we are in an area where technologies such as expense management tools are very useful: We know we have to automate low-value tasks to be more productive. Expectations from the Finance department have changed: we want to bring more knowledge and advice, so smarter decisions can be taken. ’’

We know we have to automate low-value tasks to be more productive. Expectations from the Finance department have changed: we want to bring more knowledge and advice, so smarter decisions can be taken.

Jürgen and the Finance team were aware of different tools on the market but they wanted to choose the best for their own needs. ‘’We knew a few tools which were, let’s say, possible solutions for us. We internally had a few discussions about what was the cost of archiving documents, how long do you keep them or the difficulty level of the setup. If  we had to pay much more for consultancy to help us with it, wasn’t worth it.’’

‘’The fact that we did not require IT to intervene was an advantage. The whole project was managed within Finance and Accounting and we kept the full process in our department, which is really nice.’’ 

When comparing solutions, the budget was of course also to take into account and, in relation to this, Rydoo met their needs. ‘’It was for us wise, budget-friendly and there were no roadblocks. We made the calculation of the costs in advance (we knew how much time we spent on expense claims, so we knew the cost for end-users, people in Administration and the cost per document. We could easily calculate the cost by using Rydoo compared to the manual way. That was clear enough that it was easy to decide: You have a record-carrying cost saving every year!’’ 

We could easily calculate the cost by using Rydoo, compared to the manual way. That was clear enough that it was easy to decide: You have a record-carrying cost saving every year!

For the roll-out of Rydoo, Jürgen wasn’t alone. Stephanie Molenaers, the Treasury Manager of the company, helped him implementing Rydoo in all Belgian entities.

tiense suiker

RESULTS

Are employees happier now? Yes! In terms of employee satisfaction, Jürgen stated that after sending an inquiry to all users the feedback about Rydoo was very positive: ‘’More than 95% at least was happy with the solution and the other 5% was that inevitable number of people that always have issues with change.’’ 

There is no doubt and there is no discussion, employees now just take snapshots of the tickets, add 2 or 3 fields of information, submit it and that’s it. We all win.’’

More than 95% at least was happy with the solution. Employees now just take snapshots of the tickets, add 2 or 3 fields of information, submit it and that’s it. We all win.

Has compliance increased? Of course! The fact that the expense management process is now digital, automated and the data is stored and better analyzed by Finance, has helped increase compliance with the policy. Now, ‘’people know information is easily available and transparent. They know this is very well monitored so they are much more careful with what they submit compared to the manual system, that is clear.’’

Has Finance saved time on its expense management process? Again… yes! When it comes to time-saving, Jürgen confirms that ‘’the Finance team saved about 80% of the time spent on expense claims compared to the manual process. But it’s also a lot for employees that submit expenses. Even though we do not want to measure it, we know there is a significant time saving anyhow. Less paper, less manual work, fewer mistakes, happier employees, that is the cost-saving that we do today.’’ 

The Finance team saved about 80% of the time spent on expense claims compared to the manual process.

Are employees getting reimbursed faster? Guess the answer! ‘’As soon as it’s approved, they just have to wait a couple of days to be reimbursed. Before, it took a lot more time. Now, we just run the report, copy-paste it in our template, upload it to SAP and the payment run is programmed twice a week.’’

When employees align with the company’s values and strategy, the only possible result is success. Jürgen knew the old way of managing expenses did not fit Tiense Suikerraffinaderij’s philosophy and he aimed for a change. And because ‘’the dynamics of Rydoo’s team is to listen to developments’’, change won’t stop here. We will keep learning and growing together. 

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