Nationwide is the largest building society in the world and second largest provider of household saving and mortgages in the UK. Employing 18,000 people across around 700 branches it was recently ranked number one for customer service satisfaction amid its high street peers.
With a focus on transforming the business, Nationwide set out their strategic priorities to enable them to meet their vision of being the first choice for financial services. The priorities include being a Modern Mutual – embracing the digital revolution and being a Great Employer – being the best place to work.
With these priorities in mind, the Finance team at Nationwide focused on streamlining the expense process, making it easier for their employees to claim their expenses in a timely manner, and more efficient for the finance team to process by reducing errors and mandating the use of digital receipts.
The project was driven by an objective to improve control and quality of receipts, giving them greater audit trail and visibility of spend to supervisors, group tax and ultimately HRMC. They needed do achieve this whilst also reducing the time it takes to reimburse expense claims.
Lost receipts were common which created huge challenges in processing the claim and inevitably increased the time it took to reconcile and reimburse.
Another consideration for the team was employee productivity. The administrative overhead for some employees, especially PAs, of collating and submitting claims was significant. They wanted a solution that would allow their business travellers to submit expense claims during ‘dead’ travel time.
The team also set out to identify any areas where costs could be reduced, through improved, more efficient processes.
Processing 5,000 expense claims a month, it was important that the project was delivered seamlessly ensuring that the transition to a new tool had minimum impact on the services levels for processing expenses.
Nationwide had been using KDS Classic Expense for a couple of years and were excited by the new developments that were available through an upgrade to KDS Neo Expense. The updated user interface and functionality presented an opportunity for them to meet their objectives by installing the latest technology which gave them a fast, intuitive and easy to use solution.
The digital receipts would enable a reduction in payment days with the ability to validate invoices quicker with a digital image. It would also gave them much easier access to receipt images for audit purposes, rendering their existing receipt storage and archiving process redundant.
Improved approval workflows would help to reduce costs with all expense claims validated by both the line manager and the expense validation team. This visibility would ensure no rogue expense claims getting through.
As a KDS customer, Nationwide was up to speed with the benefits that KDS Neo would bring. They worked closely with KDS on the proof of concept to ensure that the solution would meet their needs whilst being low impact on the business in terms of disruption and project resource overhead. Reassured and excited by the potential they saw, Nationwide kicked off the project after year end had closed out in 2016.
Project management teams from KDS and Nationwide worked together walking through all aspects of delivery to ensure the project plan captured all activities and ownership. They visualised what a successful launch would look like and built the go live plan to support that.
Change management and employee communication was key. The dispersed workforce with 10,000 branch employees meant it was necessary to create videos and user guides that could be easily accessed and efficiently communicated across the organisation to support employees through the transition. Despite a robust communications programme in the run up to the project go live, Nationwide found that some of the material provided was not used as much as they anticipated. However, because KDS Neo offers an intuitive solution to employees, they managed to get up to speed and productive quickly.
Our people are saying that KDS Neo is intuitive and brings Nationwide into the 21st Century. They are excited about using it rather than dreading it.
As of 1st August 2016, Nationwide has moved to 100% digital receipts. Feedback from the business has been positive and employees have welcomed the new tool, which they say is easy to use.
The project has delivered against objectives. Among the benefits, Nationwide has been able to:
- Reduce costs – with better workflows, approvals and management visibility
- Improve speed and accuracy of claims with drag and drop calendar view and auto-expense functionality
- Reduce non-compliance and lost receipts with mobile receipt capture
- Streamline expense category descriptions making them more user friendly and easier to understand
- Reduce the reimbursement cycles with quicker validation of digital image
- Remove need for receipt storage and archive
- Improve productivity and cut administrative costs by reducing the time it takes to submit expenses.
The expense team at Nationwide won a Team Recognition Award for delivering the project with minimum negative impact in an agile framework. The project was delivered for an internal cost of £1,600 with a team of just four, delivered alongside their day jobs.