Due to the coronavirus pandemic, your finance department has undoubtedly received some expenses that weren’t necessarily accounted for in your budget.
Maybe your employees needed extra monitors and cables to work from home. Perhaps you bought video conference subscriptions to stay in touch remotely. If your company’s an essential business and its doors are still open, you may have needed to buy sanitation items or increased your cleaning services.
For CFOs, all these unforeseen costs may lead to budgetary and financial issues. So, monitoring them closely and knowing what to expect in the coming weeks is key.
To help you understand and develop an approach for coronavirus-related expense claims, T&E software provider AppZen shared data on what companies are buying during the crisis.
Worldwide data analysis
In its first data analysis (which looked at data through early March), AppZen confirmed that coronavirus-related expenses have surged. In fact, the number of these items jumped nearly 100%, and the dollar value of items increased more than 100%.
According to the data, employees’ expense claims during this time were mainly related to:
- trip cancellation (about 55%)
- remote work (about 15%)
- masks (11%), and
- cleaning/disinfectant supplies and services (about 10%).
The second data analysis (continuing through March) found that these expenses didn’t slow down. Actually, they doubled in one week, from March 7-14.
Trip cancellations and remote work expenses still made up the majority. And remote work purchases – items for work-from-home setup like printers, ink and cables – rose 3.5 times during that week.
Leveraging your own data
AppZen expects that remote work expenses will continue to climb in the coming weeks. And since employees need those items as soon as possible to continue to do their jobs efficiently, your finance department may have to act and comply faster than normal.
How can you maintain a sense of control amid the urgency?
Some companies are creating specific expense types or categories just for purchases related to the coronavirus, AppZen explains. With set categories, employees can compliantly and quickly make necessary purchases, and your finance department can continue to closely monitor and track COVID-19 spending.
You may want to consider adding categories similar to the most-expensed items listed above, like trip cancellations, remote work supplies and cleaning supplies. Be sure to take into account purchases more specific to your industry, too. For example, those in the janitorial industry may want a category just for masks. And those in the restaurant industry with employees using countless gloves to prepare takeout food might have a category just for gloves.