IMP Group's business is anything but standard. The Halifax-based company has grown dramatically over the past two decades, both organically and by acquisition - and its business divisions cross the spectrum of industries. There's aerospace and defense - its traditional wheelhouse - plus aviation, healthcare, information services, property development and more.
With that level of diversity in its business, consistency can be a challenge at times. Many expenses are incurred using corporate credit cards - enough so that the spending has the attention of the CFO. "It had board of director-level visibility because of the dollars involved," says Kevin Smith, director of corporate finance at IMP Group. That was what initially prompted IMP to turn to a new solution.
"It was generally accepted that we needed a better way. It came from the top."
Before switching to Concur Expense, IMP Group used manual processes with spreadsheets and paper receipts. But if formulas for things like sales taxes weren't up-to-date, it was difficult to know whether numbers were accurate. Plus, several divisions have their own accounting teams, and different ERP systems.
Despite that divisional nature, Concur Expense was the first solution to be implemented company-wide, because it worked seamlessly across the board. "Concur was the first solution that multiple divisions could use, because it works with various ERP systems," he says. "Each division has its own autonomy, in a way, and this was the first software product that's given us a picture of the company as a whole. That's been great for a company that's as diverse as we are."
With more comprehensive data at their fingertips through Concur Expense, staff across departments can make better and more informed decisions.
“One of my staff actually estimates she used to spend seven to 10 days every month manually keying in expense reports and then filing them,” Smith says. “Now, she can spend that time on other tasks that give us more insight into the business and trends, like generating data reports on expenses.”
Plus, better data has led to saving money. The procurement department, for example, was able to negotiate a better corporate rate for certain hotels, after seeing how often employees across the whole company used a particular chain or location.
The accounting team, meanwhile, has greater transparency into whether managers have reviewed expenses or not – a part of the process that was trickier, if not impossible, with a manual, spreadsheet-based system. Today, compliance is better because the accounting team can more easily find bottlenecks in approvals.
The added bonus? User friendliness, especially for employees who have to submit reports regularly. Now, they can lean on capturing their receipts with their smartphones, without worrying about saving paper receipts.
In fact, Concur Expense has set the new standard for how employees want their systems to operate, Smith says. "I've heard people say, 'I wish every software worked this well.'"