Best Practices to Automate Expense Claims Using Nintex

We’ve previously featured expense reports in our Very Important Process series – as they’re one of the most common business processes, and one of the most painful. However, by implementing an expense claim solution with Nintex, organizations can streamline and simplify the process of submitting expense claims.

One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a Nintex Form and Nintex Workflow. When an employee has a new expense claim they’ll simply fill out the form, and the expense will be processed according to the needs of your business, consistently and auditability.

Follow these five best practices to implement an automated expense claim process with the Nintex Workflow Platform:

1.  Build It and Fail Fast

The Nintex Workflow designer allows you to quickly build out the steps in your process using a wide variety of actions, even if you aren’t quite sure of exactly how the process works. Often processes live in the shadows of an organization and may not be well defined. Quickly building out your workflow with our drag and drop designer in Nintex will allow you to test, and possibly fail, quickly. This way you can get to a point where users are happier much faster and not have to constantly go back to the proverbial drawing board.  

2.  Know Your Actions 

There are over 200 activities, or actions, available to workflow designers on the Nintex Workflow Platform. Below are some that I would call out as being critical to an expense claim automation scenario. You will definitely want to spend some time getting to know the available actions so that you can increase your comfort level and extend the reach and efficiency of your workflows.

Oh, and don’t worry if you are quite sure what an action does – there is context sensitive help built into each action.

  • Send Email
  • Conditional Branch
  • Assign a Task
  • Create Record
  • Update Record

3.  Be Logical  

One aspect of workflows that makes them so powerful is that they bring order to chaos. As you have now spent time discovering all of the actions, remember that the workflow tends to be binary in nature. This means that the path is followed precisely the way you as the designer tells it to move, and the data manipulated by the actions will use the exact information that is provided to them (e.g. inputs from a form, data from another system of record, etc.).

Using logical constructs like loops and conditional branches are the best ways to handle things like iterating through lists of information (such as expenses) and for handling escalations (think secondary approvals if the total claim amount exceeds a policy threshold).

4.  Integrate It

Data related to a business process typically resides in multiple systems of record. With a digital process automation tool like Nintex, you can easily take data inputted into a digital form, such as a Nintex form, or residing in a system of record (e.g. a content management system, CRM or ERP) and manipulate it (capture dates, comments, etc.), and then push that data to entirely different systems, all while having an easy way to create a link between these various systems.

Connectors to integrate with:

  • CRM (Salesforce, Microsoft Dynamics)
  • ERP (SAP, Oracle/JD Edwards, NetSuite, etc.)
  • Content Systems (Box, Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, etc.)

5. Measure It

The amount of analytical data or metrics that are part of a business process can vary greatly regardless of whether or not you are automating an expense claim process or something like a quote-to-cash process. But remember, if it’s worth automating then it’s worth measuring!

Nintex Hawkeye, our workflow analytics technology, allows you to easily surface data about the workflow (when it was created, who participated in it, and more) but more importantly, it can give you deep insights into the business data that is flowing through the workflow. So, when we think of expense claims, typically an approver wants to know that spend for each category (airfare, hotel, lodging, etc.) as well as how much has been allocated against a budget.

Plus, there are usually the other stakeholders in the business, such as the finance team, that need to know how the overall claim process is impacting the business or if there are violations of expense claim policy and the like. Thus, having this data at your fingertips is absolutely critical, and if you don’t need to engage an IT resource to surface, it’s a big win for the business.

Quick, Custom and Intelligent

Nintex enables users to quickly build an end-to-end expense claim process that fits your organization like a custom-tailored suit. Plus, with extensive workflow analytics capabilities, it can provide important insight for cost reporting, and empower your organization for further process automation success.

 

Interested in trying Nintex for yourself? Click here to get your free, 30-day trial!

Brad Orluk

Brad has been evangelizing technology and process automation for over 15 years. Prior to joining Nintex, he had roles in infrastructure, IT consulting, and most recently, as an Information Architect at a Fortune 500, where he worked on business and IT process improvement and automation on a variety of real world global projects and productivity initiatives. Brad’s unique, technical yet business focused, background gives him the ability to help users leverage technology to drive value to their businesses. Follow Brad on Twitter @BradOrluk