Southampton Football Club tackles expenses claims with cloud technology Southampton Football Club tackles expenses claims with cloud technology

Southampton Football Club tackles expenses claims with cloud technology
31 May 2015

Southampton Football Club is a thriving club in the Barclays Premier League. Its charitable trust, the Saints’ Foundation works with 30,000 young people and adults each year in projects relating to football and sports participation, education, youth engagement, disability sport and homelessnes

Southampton FC is also the parent company of St Mary’s Training Centre, a provider of apprenticeships, training courses and workshops at multiple venues. The club’s Halo event management and catering company is the official hospitality provider for Southampton FC.

In its entirety, there are around 2,000 full time and casual members of staff working for the football club based at the Staplewood training facilities, stadium headquarters and satellite offices in London, Bath and Spain.

Southampton FC’s expenses history

The football club had been using a paper expenses system before it looked for an alternative electronic system. Any expenses from its members of staff were claimed, processed and paid manually using a paperbased system.

Karen Harvey, payroll manager for Southampton FC explains: “Previously we were dealing with expense claims where the mileage was calculated incorrectly, VAT receipts weren’t always available and random bits of paper were being submitted; resulting in the checking process taking around a week to complete.”

Foundation coaches were also expected to submit paper-based timesheets corresponding to expense claims.

The Expenses system

In early 2012, Southampton Football Club went live with Software Europe’s Expenses cloud service, which was first piloted on a group of 50 trainers working for the Saints’ Foundation Trust.

Karen Harvey says: “The Foundation Trust’s sports’ coaches travel extensively to different schools across the country. With the expenses system, they can submit their travel expenses whilst on-site or at home, avoiding the laborious task of compiling their expenses at the end of each month.

The pilot proved to be so successful that the cloud-based expenses system was first broadened to a total of 100 trainers and then extended again to include each department across the business. Now around 350 members of staff use the Expenses system to submit their claims securely – 70 to 80 per cent are using mobile devices.

The payroll team is now using Expenses to process around 100 claims per month.

In 2014, Southampton FC also replaced its paper timesheets with online forms generated using Software Europe’s GreenLight technology. The new timesheets sync with Expenses to create a single time and expenses claim for line managers and payroll to approve. Southampton FC is processing around 150 to 200 timesheets each month from the Foundation Trust’s trainers, operating across the UK.

Karen Harvey explains: “It is now so much easier for the coaches when they are out at schools to electronically submit their travel expenses and timesheets at the same time. It simplifies and streamlines the approval and payment procedures for the line managers, payroll and accounts team. By the end of this month, all our members of staff will be working from the GreenLight timesheet system.”

The whole expenses process has been streamlined so significantly that the time taken to process Expenses is saving almost one week per month of working time - approximately two days expenses processing time by payroll, two days for payroll to review supporting timesheets, and one day for line manager approval.

Policy governance and VAT compliance

The Expenses system integrates with the football club’s internal expenses policy for booking travel, hotels and subsistence, so an employee of the business is clear about exactly what he or she can claim for, avoiding any discrepancies further down the line. “Expenses gives staff greater visibility of our criteria and policy for claiming expenses,” says Karen Harvey. “We can also achieve greater VAT compliance and reclaim as the system encourages our employees to provide VAT receipts to support claims. We could withhold payment if appropriate receipts are not provided by employees.”

The system also enables a stricter approvals process. The employee adds an item with a receipt to the system. Line managers can review timesheets and hours worked, while budget holders can check amounts being reclaimed. Claimants are notified of status at every step. The claim then moves electronically to the payroll and the accounts team for payment. This is all handled seamlessly and easily online.

Cost savings

The expenses system calculates mileage from postcode to postcode, which has delivered significant savings on mileage claims that would formerly have been left to the employee to calculate for the journey.

Karen Harvey explains that there is no room for interpretation on the mileage of a journey. “A journey to a training ground that may have been recorded as 7 miles, but is actually 6.8 miles will over time accrue unnecessary mileage pay-out. By being one hundred per cent accurate with postcode calculations, we have made substantial savings on mileage claims,” she says.

“In addition to achieving significant financial savings with more accurate expenses claims, we are able to spend more time analysing the expenses claims for improvements in the overall running of the expenses management process. Software Europe worked closely with us to provide a dedicated system for our specific requirements and it continues to provide us with on-going analysis and support when needed,” she concludes. 

 

Southampton Football Club is a thriving club in the Barclays Premier League. Its charitable trust, the Saints’ Foundation works with 30,000 young people and adults each year in projects relating to football and sports participation, education, youth engagement, disability sport and homelessnes

Southampton FC is also the parent company of St Mary’s Training Centre, a provider of apprenticeships, training courses and workshops at multiple venues. The club’s Halo event management and catering company is the official hospitality provider for Southampton FC.

In its entirety, there are around 2,000 full time and casual members of staff working for the football club based at the Staplewood training facilities, stadium headquarters and satellite offices in London, Bath and Spain.

Southampton FC’s expenses history

The football club had been using a paper expenses system before it looked for an alternative electronic system. Any expenses from its members of staff were claimed, processed and paid manually using a paperbased system.

Karen Harvey, payroll manager for Southampton FC explains: “Previously we were dealing with expense claims where the mileage was calculated incorrectly, VAT receipts weren’t always available and random bits of paper were being submitted; resulting in the checking process taking around a week to complete.”

Foundation coaches were also expected to submit paper-based timesheets corresponding to expense claims.

The Expenses system

In early 2012, Southampton Football Club went live with Software Europe’s Expenses cloud service, which was first piloted on a group of 50 trainers working for the Saints’ Foundation Trust.

Karen Harvey says: “The Foundation Trust’s sports’ coaches travel extensively to different schools across the country. With the expenses system, they can submit their travel expenses whilst on-site or at home, avoiding the laborious task of compiling their expenses at the end of each month.

The pilot proved to be so successful that the cloud-based expenses system was first broadened to a total of 100 trainers and then extended again to include each department across the business. Now around 350 members of staff use the Expenses system to submit their claims securely – 70 to 80 per cent are using mobile devices.

The payroll team is now using Expenses to process around 100 claims per month.

In 2014, Southampton FC also replaced its paper timesheets with online forms generated using Software Europe’s GreenLight technology. The new timesheets sync with Expenses to create a single time and expenses claim for line managers and payroll to approve. Southampton FC is processing around 150 to 200 timesheets each month from the Foundation Trust’s trainers, operating across the UK.

Karen Harvey explains: “It is now so much easier for the coaches when they are out at schools to electronically submit their travel expenses and timesheets at the same time. It simplifies and streamlines the approval and payment procedures for the line managers, payroll and accounts team. By the end of this month, all our members of staff will be working from the GreenLight timesheet system.”

The whole expenses process has been streamlined so significantly that the time taken to process Expenses is saving almost one week per month of working time - approximately two days expenses processing time by payroll, two days for payroll to review supporting timesheets, and one day for line manager approval.

Policy governance and VAT compliance

The Expenses system integrates with the football club’s internal expenses policy for booking travel, hotels and subsistence, so an employee of the business is clear about exactly what he or she can claim for, avoiding any discrepancies further down the line. “Expenses gives staff greater visibility of our criteria and policy for claiming expenses,” says Karen Harvey. “We can also achieve greater VAT compliance and reclaim as the system encourages our employees to provide VAT receipts to support claims. We could withhold payment if appropriate receipts are not provided by employees.”

The system also enables a stricter approvals process. The employee adds an item with a receipt to the system. Line managers can review timesheets and hours worked, while budget holders can check amounts being reclaimed. Claimants are notified of status at every step. The claim then moves electronically to the payroll and the accounts team for payment. This is all handled seamlessly and easily online.

Cost savings

The expenses system calculates mileage from postcode to postcode, which has delivered significant savings on mileage claims that would formerly have been left to the employee to calculate for the journey.

Karen Harvey explains that there is no room for interpretation on the mileage of a journey. “A journey to a training ground that may have been recorded as 7 miles, but is actually 6.8 miles will over time accrue unnecessary mileage pay-out. By being one hundred per cent accurate with postcode calculations, we have made substantial savings on mileage claims,” she says.

“In addition to achieving significant financial savings with more accurate expenses claims, we are able to spend more time analysing the expenses claims for improvements in the overall running of the expenses management process. Software Europe worked closely with us to provide a dedicated system for our specific requirements and it continues to provide us with on-going analysis and support when needed,” she concludes.