Top Expense Management Considerations for the Healthcare Industry

Expense Management Considerations for Healthcare Industry

The healthcare industry is far-reaching because it includes hospitals, clinics, private practices, research labs, pharmacies, in-home care, and more — and each of these facilities has its own challenges and requirements when it comes to spend management.

Nevertheless, it is equally important for each type of healthcare facility to manage corporate spending effectively to be able to continue providing care.

Here are some of the main considerations that healthcare companies need to consider when looking for expense management solutions.

Automation

Healthcare workers shouldn’t be spending time looking for receipts and filling out expense reports — they should be spending time taking care of patients. Automation is often adopted for processes like medication distribution and staff scheduling, but the healthcare industry can also benefit from automating its expense management processes.

Adopting a solution that can eliminate manual tasks (and the risk of error that comes with them) can save everybody a lot of time and stress. Look for virtual cards with features like mobile receipt uploading and automatic receipt matching to eliminate expense reports and make month-end reconciliation as painless as possible.

You can also automate recurring payments to vendors for the aforementioned software, or for regular shipments of medical or office supplies. This ensures that payments are not missed, and that the transactions are automatically added to the books when you sync with your ERP.

By automating menial data-entry tasks, your specially trained healthcare employees can spend more time helping patients rather than fussing over paperwork.

Travel Policy Integration

Whether it’s continued medical education for healthcare workers attending conferences or on-call staff visiting remote patients, healthcare companies should ensure that they have a formal travel policy in place and that employees know the rules.

A travel policy should lay out expectations for the processes involved in booking transportation and accommodation, as well as setting guidelines for the cost of meals and restrictions on purchases like alcohol. 

Virtual cards with travel features can ensure that employees remain on budget by providing real-time spend monitoring, suspending the card once limits have been reached, and specifying where the card can be used (i.e. only for fuel at gas stations if an employee is traveling by car and returning the same day). By limiting the approved vendors for particular cards, you are also enhancing security and protecting the business since traditional corporate cards expose all of the company’s credit to vendors.

Mobile receipt uploads are another crucial feature to look for if you have employees that travel. This allows them to submit receipts for travel expenses or in-the-field expenses as soon as a purchase is made — meaning they don’t have to carry around a paper receipt until the end of the trip and then submit it with a manually filled-in expense report. The risk of losing the paper receipt is eliminated, and receipts can be automatically matched and reconciled.

Administrative Workflows

Emergency rooms and urgent care centers may operate based on a triage system, but that doesn’t mean your company’s financial health needs to be in chaos to thrive. Rather, having organized and automated workflows for expense management alleviates some of the pressure that healthcare organizations are already under.

Due to the frontline nature of jobs like doctors, nurses, and paramedics, administrative tasks often fall to assistants and clerical workers. This can lead to confusion, miscommunication, lost receipts, and back-and-forth calls and emails to confirm information. An expense management solution removes the manual processes that often lead to errors.

For example, let’s say a private practice doctor attends a conference to continue their medical education. They use their company card to book flight and accommodation, but use their personal credit card for meals throughout their trip. They lose receipts for some of the meals before they return, and no one else has access to their personal credit cards to verify charges. This creates chaos for the administrative assistant who is expected to submit the doctor’s expense reports for reimbursement.

With the right expense management solution, though, the doctor could have booked flights and accommodations through virtual cards that incorporate the office’s travel policy — ensuring that the prices are reasonable and that reimbursements aren’t necessary. Another specified card can be used throughout the trip to charge meals — once again ensuring that spending limits aren’t surpassed, but also keeping a record of spending for the assistant and the finance department.

You should also look for a solution that allows for approvals and requests to be submitted and approved or denied from anywhere. If an exceptional expense is required outside the typical expense policies, finance managers can approve a request instantaneously. Likewise, if they receive requests for an employee to spend at an establishment that is unlikely to be work-related, they can deny the request immediately and suspend the card in question.

Managing Special Funding

The healthcare sector is unique in that many facilities and organizations receive funding, grants, and donations — often which come with particular rules about how that money is spent.

An expense management solution with virtual cards allows you to create cards specifically for these sums of money, which automatically categorizes spending to ensure the money is being used correctly. 

For example, if a sum of money is to be dedicated to a particular branch of research, you can control which vendors the card can be used at, the amount that can be spent, and when the amount expires. This ensures that unrelated work expenses like travel or meals or office supplies are not put on the card dedicated to the research grant.

Additionally, by tracking all spending in one place, it’s much easier for the finance team to notice any out-of-place spending immediately and take action to stop it.

Adaptability

Healthcare professionals know the importance of adaptability. Urgent, unpredictable events like pandemics, natural disasters, or mass casualty situations means they have to be prepared for the unexpected — whether that means more patients, different medical supplies requirements, or supply chain issues. But the financial health of businesses in the industry shouldn’t be put at risk because of this.

Ensuring that spend management is being controlled leaves companies in the best possible position to be able to respond to unexpected events with agility and resilience. A hospital overspending on recent business trips could be catastrophic if it has to compensate by making cuts to supply orders or the number of staff on-call.

Instead, by managing expenses with a reliable and adaptable solution, medical companies can actually find extra cash in their budgets that can be saved or put towards urgent matters when needed.

How Mesh Helps Medical Businesses

Mesh Payments provides real-time monitoring, insights and control over all company spending. Whether it’s travel expenses, HR software or recurring medical supply orders, using Mesh ensures that all business expenses are accounted for, categorized, and in compliance with company policies.

Employees can upload receipts for in-the-field or travel expenses as soon as the purchase is made, right from the mobile app. This eliminates the need to chase them down for receipts or to fill out expense reports, and automatically matches receipts and syncs with your ERP.

To learn more about how Mesh can help companies in the medical industry manage their spend and save money, book a demo today.

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