Treasury has partnered with 8common to share the vendor’s cloud-based travel and expense management platform with other agencies.
“Our relationship goes above and beyond a supplier/customer relationship,” said 8common CEO Nick Gonios. “It’s moving towards a commercial partner model.
“We’re working in partnership with Treasury for them to be an internal shared services provider. They will be able to work in collaboration with us to take Expense8 across the federal government landscape,” he explained.
As part of the May Budget, in a paper on Agency Resourcing, Mathias Cormann, minister for finance, said the government would be: “consolidating the provision of common corporate services to a small number of shared service centres and thereby driving efficiencies through economies of scale”.
Peter Alexander, CIO at the Treasury confirmed it will be using Expense8 as part of the shared service ERP offering.
Expense8 serves as an upgrade from 8common’s iCMS product, which the Treasury has been using for five years.
“The benefits we expect are from integration of expense and travel management, noting travel integration is expected to be delivered by Expense8 later this year,” said Alexander. “The user interface is much improved with easier mobile access. Combined this makes it more efficient for our staff when planning and booking travel as well as managing their expenses.”
Gonios said the Treasury’s previous travel approvals process was “a very slow and cumbersome process for them. It was also very paper based amazingly.”
The upgrade means the time it takes to approve trips will be drastically reduced. “We’re talking taking minutes and hours versus days if not weeks,” said Gonios.
In April, the Australian Electoral Commission became the first federal agency to migrate to Expense8. Other government customers include NSW Department of Education, NSW Police, the whole of Northern Territory Government, and Transport NSW.
A travel expenses scandal instigated the resignation of Bronwyn Bishop from her role of speaker of the House of Representatives last year when it was revealed she had claimed for a helicopter trip from Melbourne to Geelong to attend a party fundraiser.
Following the revelation, former prime minister Tony Abbott launched a review into the parliamentary entitlements system which produced its findings in February.
It recommended “a significant upgrade to the information technology systems supporting the parliamentary expenses system” which was “long overdue”. It proposed the urgent development of a “a fit-for-purpose, integrated online work expenses system” and more frequent publishing of expenses.
Gonios said 8common was up for the challenge.
“We have proven capabilities to provide such a system with our existing customers,” he said. “There is an opportunity here for 8common to automate, provide policy compliance, and transparency across expense and travel management and we are up for the challenge to work with federal government to make this possible.”