Global mobility expense management
How do you enhance your strategic decision-making, outcomes and value?
At K2, we have a successful track record in helping organisations make a better assessment of the impact and direction of their global mobility programme thanks to our comprehensive global expense management service. Our focus is to ensure costs are managed efficiently, compliance is fulfilled, risks are minimised, and spend visibility is increased.
We work closely with clients to devise and implement bespoke, rigorous and consistent systems to reduce their financial risk and deliver improved accuracy, accountability and visibility of their global mobility spend.
The context and risks
When employees relocate, particularly globally and to scale, they inevitably create a complex and variable trail of expenses. From paying their salary to the rent and school fees, expenses need to be managed quickly and efficiently to keep your employee happy and your budgets under control.
This trail also needs to be reviewed, paid, reconciled and reported to ensure proper compliance. The consequences of mismanagement can create a spiral of time consuming and resource intensive work, confusion and complaints, and increase your risk of exposure to potential financial penalties.
The client request
Our client, a leader in global reinsurance and retirement products, was undergoing an organisation-wide process of structural and technological change. In parallel, the global mobility department – which was responsible for hundreds of relocating employees across multiple international locations – was trying to tackle its own expense management challenges.
With the business adopting a more international focus, they asked us to work with them on a global mobility expense system overhaul. The goal was to support them to devise and implement a fit-for-purpose, automated expense management system that could cope with increased future demands and complexities.
Their existing decentralised and cumbersome expense system was causing an inefficient and disproportionate use of time and resource. With only manual and no formal processes, based on a case-by-case approach, it was difficult to deliver a clear and consistent spend picture or develop effective, senior-level assessment reporting. As a consequence they had limited cost visibility, controls, validation checks against policy or analysis of the financial implications of their international assignments.
They were also unable to provide their executive committee and senior stakeholders with true assignment and international transfer related spend data, as well as the essential data analytics of global mobility costs. This also meant they couldn’t provide the necessary insights to support strategic decision making, ensure transparency and compliance, or make an overall assessment of the impact to the business.
Added to this, they were clocking up unmanageable out-of-scope fees for additional work to finalise tax returns by their external tax provider. Due to inconsistent formats of data across various HR and accounts teams, as well regional hubs, they were also spending significant time co-ordinating the process internally.
On top of this, they were unable to keep up with the pace of the business and make emergency or same day payments due to the unwieldy internal sign-off process.
The K2 solution
Working closely with the client’s global mobility department and a trusted service partner, we ran a full review of the existing processes. Using the insights gained we devised and implemented a bespoke, centralised and automated system of consistent and accurate global mobility expense management. On top of this, to further enhance their value, we made recommendations for a monitoring and reporting framework and process.
Recognising that the wider company was undergoing structural changes at the same time, we also offered a flexible, agile and phased approach to implementation to ensure effective roll out within the overall corporate change environment.
The positive outcomes
Since implementation, our client’s global mobility function has evolved from continually fire-fighting and dealing with transactional processes, to being able to concentrate on adding strategic value to the business.
The list of benefits of our new system are tangible:
- Our client now has a single, integrated picture of global mobility data with all data checked, collected, tracked, reported and analysed
- Global data is now collected, cleaned, coded and allocated to cost centres at the point of transaction
- The new centralised approach to payment and data collection provides greater accuracy and controls for audit and compliance and they can now generate correct and timely recharge reports for a full audit and compliance trail
- Tax data is now coded at source and is easier to input and process for tax returns, making huge cost savings by eliminating out of scope and unexpected fees by reducing and ring-fencing the tax provider’s role in the process
- Tax, audit and compliance data reports are now customised to align with payroll requirements (P11D, benefit in kind) and tax vendor requirements for year-end tax reconciliation
- They can now manage direct payments such as housing and school fees
- They also now have the ability to pay cross-border in multi currencies and run paymentd via BACS or ACH
On an ongoing basis, we have also produced analysis reports with insights and commentary on monthly, quarterly and annual cost data. This is presented to the executive committee. This valuable information has enabled our client to proactively build their positive reputation and influence amongst senior internal stakeholders. They can now provide spend tracking, programme impact assessments, and forecast insights to help inform and support their executive committee with important, business critical decision-making.
Our personalised approach improved accessibility, analysis and accuracy of cost data and has led to the key outcome of enabling better organisation-wide decision making about the viability and value of international assignments.
To find out more about K2’s expense management service or to discuss how we can help you and your teams, please contact us.