How can you optimize your company's CSE expenditure management?

Each year, the elected members of the CSE set two budgets: an operating budget, also known as the AEP budget (Attributions Économiques et Professionnelles), and a social budget known as the ASC budget (Activités Sociales et Culturelles). These two budgets have distinct purposes. Under no circumstances may funds allocated for operating purposes be used to finance a social project, and vice versa. This is a criminal offence punishable by law. That's why you need to be particularly vigilant about how each budget is used, and which expenses are permitted and which are not.

The amount of the AEP budget is precise. It is calculated as a percentage of total payroll, which varies according to the size of the company. As for the ASC budget, the employer has no real legal obligation in this area.

The sums paid out are therefore variable, and the question facing elected representatives is how to control and optimize the management of CSE expenditure in order to improve employees' purchasing power and develop attractive social and cultural activities.

Distinguishing between AEP and ASC budgets

The operating budget, as its name suggests, enables the CSE to function.

The French Labor Code provides a list of allowable expenses:

  • Training for elected representatives (training expenses, travel, accommodation, meals, etc.),
  • Technical documentation (legal subscriptions, specialist journals, etc.),
  • Remuneration and charges for CSE employees,
  • Fees (lawyers, accountants, meeting drafting costs, etc.),
  • Consumables (office supplies, postage, etc.),
  • Small equipment (computers, printers, etc.),
  • Employee information campaigns (surveys, brochures, etc.).

The Social and Cultural Activities budget is primarily intended to improve working conditions for employees. To distinguish between the two budgets, you always have to ask yourself whether the product or service actually benefits employees. If the answer is yes, the expense can be charged to the Social and Cultural Activities budget.

Managing CSE expenses is a complex business. However, there are a few ways to optimize it.

Establish a spending schedule

Expenditure and budget guidelines are voted on by employee representatives at plenary meetings. Drawing up a schedule of planned expenditure for the CSE at the beginning of the year, as soon as the budget has been set, allows you to achieve your objectives with confidence.

Calculating fixed operating costs as accurately as possible, listing and planning the various actions envisaged and evaluating their cost are the most effective ways of meeting commitments and avoiding running out of funds.

Use expense management tools

Expense management tools are simple and easy to use. They offer the enormous advantage of automating various tasks, making accounting and administrative and financial management much easier.

Among the functions they offer:

  • Automatic retrieval and synchronization of invoices and bank transactions,
  • Dematerialization and centralization of documents such as expense reports, real-time expense tracking...

Establish expense control procedures

To ensure that expenses are justified and in line with the objectives of the CSE, managers must set up a control procedure.

Given that there is not really a clear list of what elected representatives are allowed to do or not do as expenses, it is sometimes difficult to know whether an expense is linked to the operating budget or to the social budget. Remember that it is strictly forbidden to use part of the social budget for operating expenses, and vice versa.

Evaluate expenses regularly

A regular review of expenditure shows whether we're on the right track. When evaluation is carried out rigorously and effectively, it helps managers to make the right choices, and to adjust course if necessary.

At the end of the year, it is interesting toanalyze the difference between the forecast and the actual. Based on this, adjustments can be made for the following year.