From saving on supply costs to renegotiating your rent, these simple steps can help you reduce small business expenses and build up your bottom line.  By FINSYNC What small business couldn’t use a bit more cushion in their bank account? Improving your cash flow isn’t just about increasing sales. There are several small steps you can take to lower your business expenses and keep more cash in your account.  Chances are, you don’t even realize all of the places where your business could save a few bucks, and even the smallest changes add up over time. Start considering every dollar that goes out, and get ready to find money you never even knew you had.  Here are 10 ways you can reduce your business expenses to boost your cash flow: 
  1. Minimize Nonessentials
Do your employees really need fresh bagels every Friday? Perhaps it’s time to treat them once a month instead? Job stability is way more important to your team than a bit of breakfast, especially in tight times. From unnecessary maintenance to little extras here and there that your business would probably never even miss, chances are there are a lot of nonessential expenses that you can cut. This is also an excellent time to take stock of old inventory and unused equipment. Let’s be honest, does that dusty old cappuccino maker spark joy? Be brutal, Marie Kondo style. If you no longer need it, or simply can’t use it anymore, sell it for a quick and easy influx of cash. 
  1. Review Recurring Expenses
Take a hard look at all recurring expenses to see where you can trim the fat. Even seemingly minor things can add up. Are you still paying for insurance you don’t need? Services you no longer use? Outdated subscriptions? And do you really need that landline? You know what to do with all of those unnecessary expenses.
  1. Lower Supply Costs
If your business relies on wholesale supplies, finding the best prices can dramatically impact your cash flow. Have you been loyal to the same suppliers since you started your business? It may be time to shop around a bit and see if there are any better deals out there. Did you find a better price? You can always go back to your current supplier and see if they’ll match it. If not, it could be time to move on. Keep tabs on sales to stretch your dollar even more.
  1. Hire Contractors
Paying a full-time employee can be difficult for a small business, and the hiring process is often arduous and time-consuming. More and more, contractors are stepping in to offer a cost-effective solution to fill an employment gap. These days, freelance networks make it easier than ever to find the help you need, exactly when you need it.  Getting financial expertise can be especially challenging for a small business. Hiring a full-time bookkeeper or accountant is cost prohibitive, but the insight these financial professionals provide can often save you money in the long run. With FINSYNC’s Network, you can get matched with a financial professional for help with bookkeeping, accounting, human capital management, financial analysis and corporate strategy.
  1. Downsize or Sublet
Whether you have office space, retail space, or both, paying for the place where you do business can be one of the biggest expenses small businesses face. If you have a lot of unused space, consider downsizing to reduce your monthly rent costs. You could also invite another small business or independent contractor to share your space in return for covering a portion of your rent. Utilizing a co-working space is another budget-friendly option.
  1. Work From Home
If you don’t actually need physical office space, consider becoming a home-based business. Employees generally appreciate the freedom that telecommuting provides, and it’s easy to stay connected with today’s technology, from video conferencing to cloud sharing. You can still get your local team together for weekly in-person meetings, even if it’s just a standing lunch meeting.
  1. Negotiate Rent
If having a physical space is crucial to your business, and you’re happy where you are, why not try to negotiate a lower rent? You could offer to sign a longer-term lease to make it worthwhile for your landlord, especially in a favorable rental market. Even if you don’t really want to relocate, it pays to shop around for comparable spaces so you can bring any lower rental rates to your landlord’s attention.
  1. Consolidate Your Online Tools
How many subscriptions and software packages do you pay for to manage payroll, track cash flow, invoice clients and track time? Relying on a single platform to handle all of your back-office tasks not only makes for a more efficient workflow, it can save you a lot of money.  A tool like FINSYNC offers a complete solution for payments, invoicing, bill pay, payroll, accounting, financing, cash flow management and services. Bonus: Having all of your financial data in the cloud is a great way to consolidate, always have the latest software updates, and save on IT services like data storage or an on-site server.
  1. Barter
Bartering is one of the oldest ways in the books to save money on business expenses. Do you have excess inventory that’s collecting dust, or specialized skills to offer during a slow month? Think of what your business needs, and make an even exchange without cash ever changing hands. For example, a design firm that’s looking for a place to hold events could offer to update an event space’s website in exchange for use of the space. A restaurant could offer to trade some excess produce for coffee from a local roaster and café. Find service-to-service bartering opportunities on Craigslist’s bartering section, or a fee-based online bartering exchange.
  1. Go Green
There are several small steps you can take to reduce your business expenses while doing something good for the environment. Let’s start with energy. Save on heat and air conditioning costs with a smart thermostat. You can also easily reduce your power consumption by turning off and unplugging computers and equipment when you leave for the day.  And what about all that paper? Print less and share documents online more to reduce both paper and printing costs. These things add up. While we’re at it, are you still sending out paper invoices and cutting checks manually? What about paying for postage to send checks through snail mail? Automate your invoicing and make online payments to minimize these unnecessary expenses.  Focusing on even a few of these 10 ideas to reduce expenses can have a dramatic impact on your cash flow. Stash your savings away in a business emergency fund, or pour the money right back into your business to take advantage of a growth opportunity.
Learn best practices for expense reimbursement management and reporting, and how to create efficient processes for employees and accountants to limit time spent managing expenses. By FINSYNC If you ask an administrator what part of their job they enjoy the least, there’s a good chance they’ll say managing expense reimbursements.  What could be more tedious and time-consuming than sorting through piles of paper receipts, cutting checks and tracking payment processing? What about reimbursement disputes or the difficulty of simply getting sales reps to properly file an expense report?  We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll show you how to manage reimbursement efficiently and how to keep track of expense reports. You’ll also learn expense management best practices and the best way to deal with expense reimbursements. 

What is Expense Reimbursement Management?

Expense reimbursement management is the process in which an organization reimburses or “pays back” an employee for out-of-pocket business-related expenses, like treating a client to dinner, or the cost of airfare to a business convention. Expense reimbursement, though simple in principle, is seldom easy. It’s a complicated process that can be as difficult to track as it is to define. Every company has a different expense reimbursement policy with varying criteria for what is considered a business expense.  For example, most travel related expenses like flights, hotels and meals are considered business-related and therefore eligible for reimbursement, but only if incurred while performing duties on behalf of the company.  For this reason it is incredibly important that companies not only clearly define their expense management policy, but also implement a method to efficiently manage expense reimbursements. 

How to Keep Track of Work Expenses?

The majority of businesses track work expenses via an internal system which employees use to report their expenses for reimbursement. For example, an employee who travels from New York to Chicago to meet a client may submit his travel expenses for reimbursement by filing specific paperwork and his original receipts with the HR/finance department for review.  This is an archaic process that’s plagued by human error and generates mountains of paperwork that someone has to get paid to process. Thankfully, there are several ways to efficiently manage expense reimbursement. 

Expense Management Best Practices

To manage expense reimbursement efficiently, a business must ensure a seamless expense management process via a precise and timely reporting system. In other words, you need to make it as easy as possible for your employees to submit their expenses for reimbursement.  Here are the best practices for efficient reimbursement management that you can implement to improve the process and minimize unwanted costs.
  • Clearly Define Your Expense Management Policy

It’s best practice for a company to implement a clear and unambiguous expense management policy. Your expense management policy should include all employee reimbursable expenses and criteria to exclude personal expenses.  Once you have clearly defined your expense management policy, you must communicate it with all employees so that they may learn how to track and report their business-related expenses. 
  • Make it Easy to Submit Expense Reports

To efficiently manage expense reimbursement a business should make it as easy as possible for employees to correctly track their business-related expenses and submit expense reports.  The best way to provide employees with a simple way to submit their expense reports is via a paperless expense reporting system, preferably one in which employees can scan/photo receipts with their mobile device while traveling.
  • Implement an On-Time Payment Mechanism

Timely submission of employee expense reports is critical to managing reimbursement efficiently. The best way to do this is by eliminating a multilayer approval process and sticking to a fixed timetable for approving reimbursements.

What’s the Best Way to Manage Expense Reimbursements?

The best way to manage expense reimbursements is by streamlining the expense reporting system all together. The more roadblocks you remove from the reporting process, the easier it will be for your employees to accurately report their expenses. Integrated expense tracking software can simplify the task of expense reporting and eliminate the time-consuming task of data entry.  Besides saving time and money, expense tracking software improves efficiency and enables your business to effectively manage expenditure according to your company’s reimbursement policy.  FINSYNC bill pay makes it easy to track business-related expenses and automates what your employees once had to do manually. The software integrates with your back office, providing your team with a portal to tag expenses to specific projects, track time and submit expenses for reimbursement all from the same place. Since everything is handled in a single portal, it’s much easier to get employees to submit reimbursements on time. FINSYNC’s suite of software tools is designed to free up your precious time so you can get back to growing your business. The platform streamlines your back-office operations to help you manage your business better and with less effort. Our automated online expense management software is not just cost-effective, it's a convenient solution for an inefficient process that also integrates with our other cash flow management tools. Ready to increase the efficiency of your expense reimbursement process? Take FINSYNC for a test drive with a free week-long trial.