Are you still using spreadsheets to go about your expense management? If yes, its time you rethink your entire expense management strategy – in fact, it’s time you automate your expenses. This will not only take a major chunk of manual labor off your’s and your people’s shoulders but will give extra time to work on rather high-priority strategic tasks. Not just that, it will also significantly lower the percentage of human errors.
A recent Forrester study found that legacy technology and poor alignment between IT and finance teams are the root causes of poor spend management. When IT and finance work together to automate your expense, travel, and invoice management, it can lead to greater employee satisfaction and compliance.
Expense reports need not be a hassle, provided its created with great thought and precision. There are several ways to make this process less bitter and painful. Let’s see how expense automation can save you a lot of time and money.
Top 5 reasons why you should automate your expenses
1. Accurate reports with fewer errors
Did you know? 19% of expense reports are filed incorrectly each year. And the damage these errors can do your business is unimaginable. On one hand, these errors can become a serious time drain for your teams. On the other hand, it is a mammoth task to identify these errors in the first place.
But when you automate your expenses with the help of the automation tools that suits your organization’s needs – the results are better with fewer mistakes. Because these tools walk employees through claims step by step, it’s far more difficult for errors to slip through. Most importantly, these tools come with OCR technology that reads receipts for you and ensures they match the claim. Thereby, giving you accurate and timely reports with zero room for errors.
2. No more missing reports or receipts
One of the biggest issues with traditional expense reports is lost or missing receipts. In addition, the next big headache is to ensure the shared receipts match with the payments made. This is no joke. Imagine scanning and manually verifying 1000’s or more receipts. This leaves plenty of room for errors, and also double-handling of receipts.
What if you could do all this with just a snap of a finger? Automation tools make this possible. All you have to do is take a photo of the receipt and upload it to the software. Rest, the tool will take care. Isn’t that amazing? This expense entry will now be saved for life unless you delete it from the server. The best part is, you don’t need to take a print out of receipts and manually file them anymore. Thereby saving paper and doing your bit to conserve natural resources.
3. Better compliance rates
Imagine its the financial closing year – you are busy with a lot of year-end work and suddenly a multitude of expenses starts pouring in! That’s gonna be a hell of a task – where your finance team has to track and enter all those transactions in a spreadsheet along with all the other tasks they are expected to complete. That is, they would have to validate every single expense against the travel expense policy manually. Manual expense processing can also mean that out-of-policy expenses slip through the cracks and your finance team ends up reimbursing your employees for policy violations.
In other words, enforcing travel expense policies and maintaining compliance can be quite daunting when you don’t have a proper system in place. This is where the expense management solution pitches in, saving you a lot of time and not mention – your sanity! When you automate your expenses, the programmed system will automatically detect and flag expenses that violate the travel policy. Not just that it will also notify the approvers about the policy violations as and when they occur. Thereby simplifying your finance team’s work by removing unnecessary time-consuming manual jobs.
4. Detects and prevents expense fraud
The chaotic environment of manual expense processing makes it easy for fraudulent practices to occur. For instance, this may include practices like submitting the same receipt twice, rounding up mileage expenses, etc.
Manual expense processing makes it extremely hard to detect suspicious claims. And even if you detect fake claims, the follow-up process is extremely strenuous. Thereby, delaying the problem resolution time and costing you – your valuable time.
Automation is a great way to put an end to expense fraud. When you automate your expenses and responses related to it, the system can easily pick up duplicate entries and send a notification to the submitter and the approver to either merge or delete the expense.
Also, with customized workflows, you can maximize transparency by enabling a double review process. This will ensure there’s at least one additional review after the immediate approver’s review before reimbursing the expenses.
5. Better financial visibility
Manually managing expenses not only affect data accuracy but also limits how much visibility you have into your company’s cash flow. For all that you know – the insights that you gather could be outdated. To get a clear picture of when and where the firm’s funds are being utilized, you need at least a week’s time to go through the records to come up with a detailed report. Also, to make quick, informed decisions – you need to be able to analyze and view data as when the events take place. This is absolutely impossible when you are required to manually manage 100’s or 1000’s of expenses. But this is no big deal for expense management systems which can easily manage 1000’s and even more expenses and generate detailed reports at the same time.
Today, most expense management systems provide extensive reports on expenses, trips, policy violations, reimbursements, and much more. For instance, with just a few clicks, you can use the policy violations report to view the top policy violators in your firm or use the expenses by category report to view your employees’ spending patterns. These systems make it easier and simpler to monitor your cash flow and track your firm’s financial performance. Thereby, equipping you with all the resources you need to make informed, strategic financial decisions.
Automating your expense management is a relatively simple task that will save your company many unproductive man-hours because employees no longer have to deal with tedious expense reports. Thereby, saving a lot of time, reducing costs, and yielding a better ROI and productivity.
We have listed out some of the ways you can benefit by automating your expenses. If you or anybody you know have implemented an expense management solution and have experienced benefits that are missing in this post, please feel free to share it with us. Drop us a comment 🙂