Managing expenses manually can be a tedious process. When data is collected, it remains stagnant until there’s human intervention. Error-prone and clunky expense report forms, slow reimbursements, and confusing travel and expense policies are all key frustrations for your staff when it comes to expense management. Not only do your employees get annoyed, but also your organization lacks complete visibility into dollars spent.
Companies processing corporate travel and expense reporting manually face a lot of challenges in control and effectiveness. Let’s dive deeper and explore a few of the major challenges most businesses have with T&E management and the best ways to resolve them.
- Data Entry Errors
Many organizations still continue to use Excel sheets that need manual data entry of expenses. It’s a time-consuming process and can lead to costly mistakes. Integrated expense management and travel booking platforms are being embraced by several companies to avoid errors, spot discrepancies between spending and booking amounts, and access data faster.
- Unauthorized Bookings
Sometimes staff will comply with established travel and expense policies at the time of booking flight tickets and hotels, but may upgrade to expensive rooms or better seats at a later date without seeking approval. You can resolve this issue by comparing initial booking costs with the actual expense and by including in your policies document a clear statement stating unauthorized expenses will not be reimbursed.
- Inaccurate Receipts
It’s essential to submit receipts that are accurate, comply with travel policies, and are submitted on time. The first and foremost step is to clarify receipt submission policies. So, you need to draft a policy document that vets the document with managers, outlines policies, and distribute it to relevant travellers. Include the time frame for submitting receipts or any item, which is not approved for reimbursement.
Make a list of penalties for submission of fraudulent receipts. And finally, in order to expedite receipt submission, consider adopting a mobile technology, which enables your staff to submit receipts automatically using a mobile app.
- No Visibility into Spending Trends and Patterns
Complete visibility into expense trends takes place when finance departments have real-time and historical data in hand. However, companies still using traditional expense management gain little or no visibility as they have no data to refer back to. Hence, as a result, you end up making ill-informed business decisions.
Organizations should understand the present expenses and look for trends to predict those expenses going forward. Insight into business spends aids in better planning and budgeting travel and expense management process. A robust expense reporting solution offers advanced reporting and visibility so that appropriate changes can be made when needed.
- Good Communication
It’s crucial to proactively communicate with staff and managers utilizing email about prospective travel and expense problems and their consequent resolution. The application must provide a set of email templates to communicate a daily message to all staff. Communication through emails should be stored in a centralized system, which can be accessed by all employees involved in the T&E management process.
- Lost/Misplaced Receipts
“Where did the receipt go?” “Are there any more copies somewhere?” “And do you recall how much it was for?” Does all this sound familiar to you?
Lost/misplaced receipts waste a lot of time. Plus, they lead to inaccurate expense reporting. With a cloud-based expense management solution, you will never have to worry about lost receipts ever again. The solution helps you to import credit card charges and route them to the relevant report automatically. Electronic receipts enable you to upload line item data from a hotel, car rental transactions, and airline.
Making cash transactions? No problem. Take a picture of your receipt and later upload it in real-time using your mobile phone. This will help you to save valuable time, and with all those receipts off the desk, you will also have a clear space as well.
- Unified Data
Automation is a good start to fixing your problems related to expense reports. But unifying your data will take the expense management process to the next level. Ditch multiple systems with multiple login credentials and consolidate data into a centralized platform. Unifying all data into a single and connected process can streamline your tasks. An automated travel and expense management software that unifies your data will adapt and scale as your organization changes.
The business world is constantly evolving in order to become highly receptive to the needs of staff. While the choice to automate your T&E management method may benefit your organization, it’s a blessing for your employees as well. Addressing expense management challenges has a direct effect on your employee productivity and morale, thus impacting the overall financial productivity of your company.