Spire Healthcare is one of the UK’s leading independent hospital groups. With 39 hospitals and 8 clinics across England, Wales and Scotland, Spire Healthcare provides diagnostics, inpatient, day cases and outpatient care.
Delivering a high standard of care through all of its services, Spire Healthcare has over 7,700 employees across its sites. With nearly 2,000 employees claiming expenses, the organisation sees around 1,000 claims a month going through Allocate’s outsourced Expense Expedite service.
A more transparent expense policy
Before Allocate, expenses were managed using a manual and paper-based process which proved to be inefficient and time-consuming.
Johnathon Armstrong, Systems Accounting Manager at Spire Healthcare explains: “We were keen to mandate the use of an electronic expense system to ensure claims were going through the appropriate approval processes. As well as allowing us to gain a greater degree of internal control.”
Spire Healthcare engaged with Allocate at the end of 2017 and have been using the outsourced expenses service, Expenses Expedite ever since. The Expedite team validates all of the expense claims submitted by Spire Healthcare’s employees. Providing them with an efficient and accurate way to ensure claims are fully compliant with their expenses policy and HMRC legislation.
From a user perspective, Johnathon explains that the Expenses Expedite service couldn’t be simpler: “We’ve eradicated all paper receipts and now employees submit their claims online using the Selenity Expenses solution. It allows them to photograph and upload their receipts which are then submitted to the Expedite team who review and validate each claim.”
Selenity Expenses guides employees through the claiming process. It’s configured around Spire Healthcare’s expenses policy and authorisation requirements, helping employees to make fully informed decisions before making purchases they intend to claim for.
“Having our expenses policy built into the system has proved to be utterly invaluable. There have been many instances where the finance team have been able to point staff directly to certain policies. Employees can easily access policies at any time and claims which fall outside our policy are automatically flagged to users,” adds Johnathon.
Maximum legislative compliance
Once claims have been submitted to the Expenses Expedite team they follow a stringent 16-point check to ensure claims are fully compliant with HMRC regulations. By regularly monitoring any legislative changes, Allocate guarantees that Spire Healthcare remains fully compliant and recovers maximum VAT.
“The Expenses Expedite team have a good understanding of compliance processes. By validating claims and prompting employees to correctly classify items such as mileage they ensure the correct level of VAT is paid. It was a difficult process to manage beforehand but we’ve seen an increase in the amount of VAT we’ve reclaimed since using the Expense Expedite service.”
HMRC specify that organisations need to be as accurate as possible when claiming expenses. By reviewing each claim, the Expedite team can bounce back any items that need to be reclassified under an alternative category. This stops claimants recording items as ‘miscellaneous’ or ‘sundries’ and year-on-year Spire Healthcare has seen a decrease in the number of claims filed under these group. Not only does this give a more accurate picture of spending but it also helps claimants to understand the process.
Whether it’s claims which appear to be duplicated or those which go over the policy spending allowance, the Expenses Expedite team are able to identify these instances and return them to claimants for extra justification.
What’s more, automating and outsourcing the validation of expense claims saves the payroll officers and line managers at Spire Healthcare considerable time. The task of reviewing each individual claim and ensuring it matches the claim description and expense policy has been removed. This frees up staff time, instead allowing them to focus their attention on other valuable activities and better serve the organisation.
Legislation around claiming VAT on mileage claims can be complex to calculate. Under the EU’s sixth VAT directive, organisations must produce a fuel receipt for each individual mileage claim – that’s dated within six-weeks of travel.
By automating the process and filing claims under a ‘fuel’ line item, the Expenses Expedite team can easy track and validate claims. Determining how much recoverable VAT each employee can claim based on the mileage travelled and fuel available from validated receipts.
Outsourcing the process in this way, simplifies fuel VAT recovery for the finance team and claimants alike. Employees simply upload their receipts to the system which are validated and calculated by the Expenses Expedite team. Managers are then able to access the data and run reports across specified dates, establishing the amount of recoverable VAT for that time period.
Increased data and transparency surrounding employee claiming behaviours has also helped to ensure policy compliance and given the finance team greater control.
“Using the reporting functionality, we’ve been able to gather greater insights into our spending. It’s provided some very useful management information to senior staff across the localised business units. We’ve been able to utilise information to make positive changes for our corporate card holders as well as strengthen the relationship with our corporate travel provider. The system has removed the burden of reporting, delivering us business insights which have proved to be immensely valuable.”
A digital approach
The time savings, improved compliance and faster turnaround on reimbursement have been very well received across all of Spire Healthcare’s sites.
“Since using Expenses Expedite it’s been much easier to demonstrate employees are compliant with our expenses policy. The Expenses Expedite team provide us with useful, effective guidance which we can use and implement across our organisation.”
As an added benefit, Spire Healthcare’s employees have also experienced quicker reimbursement of their expense claims. The Expenses Expedite service offers next day payment as standard, so waiting time is minimal.
Working with Allocate
Johnathon concludes: “I have nothing but compliments for the way Allocate have engaged with us. From communicating any system changes to asking for feedback on the features we would find useful. The dedicated support team is on hand for anything we need.”
- Better quality data and business insights
- Fast expense processing
- Time savings for employees and the finance team