In Part II of our retail exclusive series, Mr. Radha Krishnan, CFO of India’s top ethnic wear brand, Soch shares tips on how you can encourage employees to embrace change and adopt a new solution that helps them be more productive and efficient. In case you missed Part I of our retail series, you can read it here.
Q: The structured approach that you took to selecting the right expense management solution for Soch also paved the way to how you implemented the solution at your organization. Can you tell us more about it?
Mr. Radha Krishnan: Definitely.
When we started out with Happay, we gave Happay cards to not only our store staff but also to teams who were traveling. These included HR managers, area managers, and project teams.
Apart from our store staff, we have 4-5 people who are continuously on tour every week. Normally on an average, we are opening 3-4 showrooms in a month. Whenever any new showroom opens up, the project team has to visit the site – see how the work is going on, see how they can save cost in case there is some extra wastage that is going on. In a month, the project team will be on tour for more than 20 days.
Before Happay, employees would have to prepare the tour bill after say one week or ten days. While doing this, they would perhaps forget some expenses.
Apart from enabling them to use the card and the app we also encourage them to minimize their expense reporting workload by creating a disciplined expense reporting culture.
Q: How did you go about creating a culture of disciplined expense reporting?
Mr. Radha Krishnan: We tried to implement practices where we encouraged employees to do timely submissions and make use of their time in a productive way.
# 1: Encourage employees to utilize the time they spend moving from point A to B
# 2: Have a daily expense submission cycle
We tell our employees that expenses have to be done on a day to day basis. This way all expenses are fresh on their mind.
# 3: Enable daily approval of expenses
Earlier, all the cash slips for one week were coming in on one particular day. So the person from the accounting team reviewing them had a lot of pressure on him. He would tend to make some mistake – in checking the amount, the classification, the bills and the approvals. It’s not easy for the finance team. Each one has some ten showrooms under him. So the workload is a lot. Now with Happay, employees submit expenses daily, and the finance team approves at the same frequency.
This reduces the overall number of expense reports they review and also eliminates the end-of-the-month workload.
# 4: Enable better due-diligence
Every month end is a chaotic time for the finance team. The real challenge is preparing the schedule and comparing the expenses.
With so many changes from the company’s side and the income tax side, the auditors will be doing due-diligence. Say, for example, the rent that I have to pay. Earlier I would give the total amount of rent paid. Now I have to give a schedule for that. These are the showrooms, these are the agreements, these are the rent amounts. TDS I have deducted – this time I have to pay extra because of the revenue share. So on any major expenses, they want to do some sort of due diligence. Preparation of the schedule, giving some additional information is a challenge at the end of the financial year.
I think this is where Happay can help – with proper classification of expenses and with the right supporting attachments this due diligence will be sort of easier in some cases.