According to McKinsey, the construction industry is one of the least digitized industries.
With other industries catching up to the fast-paced digital transformation, the future looks grim for the industry if it still relies on pen and paper.
The industry needs to start moving towards an online solution to ensure transparency and collaboration. Storing information in an old-fashioned way will no longer cut it. For the construction industry, the cloud can be the solution they're looking for to solve their collaboration and information crisis.
But how does the cloud help keep your construction expense data secure and sorted?
Well, we're here to help with this guide to how the cloud can help you with construction expense management! So without further ado, let's get started.
The challenges of traditional data sharing and storage
In the past, construction expense management got done out of a central office that contractors would have to bring back physical data to. As such, someone would have to drive out to a construction site and back to get accurate on-site data. Couple this with construction teams stretched out across the country, and you get sluggish data transfer (if not outright loss of data).
This leads to time and money spent trying to recoup the data or wasted making decisions off of incorrect data. This lack of communication can also lead to workers getting left out of the loop on shareholder and accounting concerns, and vice versa. This stagnates projects and can lead to frayed reputations between different sections of the company.
Cloud services to the rescue
So what is the cloud?
It refers to when data goes to remote servers over the Internet to allow for extra storage and faster processing. This way, any device with Internet capabilities can send data to the cloud, allowing for data transfer on-the-go to be more accessible than ever before. Multiple users can access records related to business expenses, including history of the expense report in the form of an audit trail.
In traditional cases, someone has to update information somewhere for others to even be notified of changes. With the cloud, anyone can make changes anywhere and the admin can find out instantly.
For managing business expenses within the construction industry, the cloud can:
- Transfer expense reports to and from servers so that all team members have access to it.
- Store all expense details and receipts in a centralized location for easy accessibility
- Help finance teams and managers to gain real-time insights into business expenses and budgets.
Types of cloud services
Cloud services can give you a lot of freedom in the model you choose.
- IaaS (or Infrastructure as a Service) gives companies tech help services remotely, whether it's setting up firewalls to stop viruses or maintaining network signal strength.
- PaaS (Platform as a Service) allows people to build and run applications without needing a greater network set-up.
- Finally, SaaS (Software as a Service) loans out software for companies to use based on a license.
You can pick and choose which types you need to provide a lot of flexibility for your construction company. This is especially true if your budget is a bit tight or if you're looking for a specific requirement.
How can construction expense management benefit from the cloud
Cloud construction expense management offers companies the power to avail and process expense data into meaningful information. This is a powerful tool most construction firms didn't have access to before.
Now, by leveraging the power of cloud expense management,
- The on-field construction crew can simply click a picture of the paper receipt through the expense software and turn it into a digital receipt. Employees can then submit their expense report along with the e-receipt. After submission, the report automatically gets stored on the cloud. This becomes useful for construction crews as they don't need to worry about managing their fragile receipts.
- Field employees can seamlessly report and track business expenses. While office employees can verify and validate these expenses even when remote.
- Both field crews and finance teams can be on the same page even though they are working out of different stations. Thanks to the digital audit trail that records and centralizes all the details related to the expense reports, it makes it easy for stakeholders to collaborate.
- The finance team can get timely insights into the spending trends and patterns. Using the information, they can make decisions on updating policy, estimating budgets, and even fish out potential fraud.
- By analyzing spending patterns, finance teams can also identify opportunities for their business. For example, they can view vendors their employees frequently visit for purchasing hardware and negotiate a discount.
- You can transfer massive amounts of expense data incurred during the duration of a project. For example, your finance team can easily sync all expense information to their accounting software through software integration.
- Finance teams can increase storage without compromising security.
Another benefit is that cloud services are far easier on your wallet in the long run. While they could sometimes have a steep upfront cost, you don't have to pay to maintain any of their hardware or replace it if something goes wrong.
Record and store expense data on the cloud
For your traveling construction workers, they may incur expenses such as accommodation, meals, transportation, etc. when they move to a new site for a project. To claim their expense reimbursements, they need to keep their receipts intact to submit them along with their expense reports.
When your crew is on-site for a project, they may take weeks to report their expenses. This can be due to them working out of lousy coverage areas or simply not having the time to report their expenses. During this duration, there are high chances of receipts getting damaged or misplaced.
A cloud-based expense management software can solve the problem of receipt management for your industry. The software also provides receipt scanning to safely scan, submit, and store receipts in a centralized system. Additionally:
- All the workers have to do is take a picture of their paper receipts with their mobile phone
- The software captures all the expense details and digitizes the receipt, turning it into an e-receipt
- Fyle then automatically stores all receipts and expense reports on the cloud for easy storage and accessibility
- Finance teams can then access the reports and receipts without the workers having to travel to submit the expense documentations
Gain real-time insights into budget spends
Have you ever wanted to check on your construction site to make sure everything's running smoothly with the budget whenever you like? Well, cloud services fulfill that desire by allowing you to access real-time expense reports that your team submits.
Cloud-based expense management softwares allow finance teams to view expenses from on-field employees in real-time. This ensures they don't have to wait for the workers to submit their expense reports at the last minute physically.
Additionally, with real-time expense reporting, you can:
- Increase visibility into project expenses and progress with the budget
- Get real-time insight into the utilization of estimated budgets
- Calculate, predict, and forecast the financial status of projects
With cloud technology, you can share data with all shareholders without much physical effort. Additionally, cloud services offer accessibility and let you construct plans around how to use your remaining budget.
Safe data storage allows the Finance team to stay audit-ready
Without cloud sharing and storage:
Finance teams have to remind employees to submit their expenses and ensure everything is in order before the final submission. The Finance teams also usually receive all the expense details and documentation at the end hour. This translates to time wasted on confirming receipts are attached to the reports, the expenses are within the allowable limits, etc. This leads to the team having to rush at the last minute to meet the stringent deadlines.
With cloud expense management:
The process of expense reporting and expense tracking can be a totally different ball game for your Finance department. They can remind on-field workers and project managers to submit expense reports or review them on-time. They don't have to wait for someone to bring a physical copy of their expenses to process reimbursements. They can easily access it via the expense management software. This truly puts an end to all your expense management woes.
Not only that, an expense management software like Fyle also provides a digital audit trail. With the audit trail's help, the Finance team and Management can view an expense report's entire history. This allows them to verify important expense details for any expense report in just a click.
An increase in data security is another perk that cloud services offer. Also, with a cloud expense software, a hardware failure on your end won't mean getting locked out of your data forever.
Take to the digital skies
By switching to a cloud expense management software such as Fyle, you can manage processes and deliverables with ease. Combining an expense management software with cloud technology can also be a catalyst for your crews’ productivity.
With your central-planning teams and on-site construction workers connected via the cloud, a better and seamless collaboration between teams is guaranteed. This will further result in better project cost management and overall expense management.
Now that you know all about a cloud-based construction expense management software, are you ready to update your company for the digital age! Schedule a demo with Fyle today to see how it’s done!