Today, many employees have admitted that they still submit expenses manually- filling their pockets, wallets, and briefcases with receipts. These rolled up pieces of paper later get stapled to printed Excel spreadsheets that should be typed, and mailed to the accounting team. In this age where a majority of business operations have been automated, expenses are one of the few areas that still include an unnecessary amount of manual processing.
Here are a few reasons why organizations should move to an automated expense management solution.
Submitting Expenses on the Go
Mostly, business expenses are incurred on the road while traveling, be at restaurants, hotel stays, or meals. Instead of storing the expense receipts until returning to the workplace, leveraging a travel and expense management solution enables travelers to take a picture of their expense receipt and send it to the system directly. The receipt can be read automatically using OCR technology, while the expense transaction data is entered into the software for the user. Expense management solutions can work easily on smart devices, so expenses can be submitted for reimbursement before a traveler steps in through the front door.
Eliminate Human Error
Entering expenses and GL codes manually into Excel spreadsheets, approvers need to validate receipts with the amounts submitted, and the finance department should re-key the data into an accounting solution. It presents several opportunities for human errors to take place at any stage of the reimbursement process. Lack of audit trails often makes it difficult to trace the source of the problem.
Using OCR technology combined with direct integration or rule-based interpretation technology, expense solutions are now capable of extracting the transaction data from a receipt virtually. An expense line item can move from receipt to submission to approval and reimbursement with almost no information having to be entered manually. With options like drag and drop report creation and single click approvals, human errors can be significantly minimized or eliminated in most cases.
Prevent Fraudulent Activities
Submitting outright fraudulent expenses is now a very common problem in the United States. In order to combat fraud effectively, companies using spreadsheets to handle expenses need to manually validate that every expense is legitimate before approval. Has the month-old receipt already submitted before, or did the traveler discover it on their desk all of a sudden? What are the ways to find out the accuracy of mileage driven between two regions or cities? Expense management solutions allow such submissions to become completely automated such as tracking duplicate receipts or integrating with Google Maps to find out a travelers journey, instead of relying on their estimates.
Saves Money and Time
An online expense management system can prove beneficial to employees. No more waiting for two weeks while the report is being processed and a reimbursement check issued. The solution reduces the turnaround time to 1-3 days. Moreover, managers can set parameters for employees to follow which includes maximum allowable rates for hotel stays as well as for airlines. Employees will receive a reminder when they are about to violate their company policy.
In today’s technology-enabled business market, the traditional paper-based manual expense management process is becoming quite redundant due to being error-prone and time-consuming. So, it will be beneficial for businesses to implement an automated expense management system, as it eliminates errors, save money and resources.