BDC banks on better expense management

The Business Development Bank of Canada, more commonly know as the BDC, is unique. It’s the only financial institution in Canada that's completely dedicated to entrepreneurs.  


But that isn’t all that makes it special.  


As a Crown corporation, it has to be open with how its team is spending money. Each month, it publishes the numbers on senior management's expenses, a time-consuming process that would force the finance team to comb through its ERP software to collect the data.  


"New requirements also came down from the government to be even more transparent with certain costs, including travel for purposes that aren't client-facing," says Robert Ma, BDC’s Manager of Financial Applications.  


When that happened, BDC was already in the process of moving to Concur Expense to improve its expense management process, which was prompted by finally being fed up with years of manual spreadsheets and paper receipts. 


Ultimately, the shift helped BDC tackle both pain points. 


The data from Concur Expense is much more granular than what the team would uncover in the ERP system before, which means its public reporting on expenses is much more accurate. For example, before, they may have only been able to share that an expense was travel-related, because of its general ledger code. Now, they don't have to lose insights into whether it was a taxi expense or something else.  


Employees are happier, too, Ma says. They can use their smartphones to submit expenses quickly, without sending paper receipts and forms to the head office in Montreal.  


The time savings alone have made it worth it. "From the time someone submitted their paper to the time they got paid was typically about 11 days. Now, it's half that," Ma says. Plus, the payback frequency has jumped from once a week to twice because data from Concur Expense integrates directly with BDC's accounts payable software, which makes the whole process much faster. 


"We don’t want our employees to have to spend money while they work with us, so being able to pay them back faster is really important," he says.  


Today, BDC is actively sharing its learnings and holding Concur Expense demonstrations with other Crown corporations who face similar requirements. Plus, it can practice more of what it preaches to the businesses it advises, Ma adds. "Using solutions like this also lends us more credibility with what we're trying to impart on the entrepreneurs we work with, which is to embrace technology and innovation to make your business stronger." 


Hear directly from Robert Ma, BDC's Manager of Financial Applications in this 2019 video case study.

Loading next article