Picture your average employee just back from a sales trip. He’s paid for flights on his personal credit card, found accommodation, taken clients out for meals, and used taxis and trains to travel between meetings.
On his first day back at the office, he’ll likely spend up to a couple of hours sorting through his receipts, entering data into a spreadsheet, before emailing it to your finance department. And then your finance team may well spend a significant amount of time sorting through those expenses, before eventually paying the employee back.
This traditional approach to managing business expenses is slow, inefficient, and expensive. More than that, the time employees spend on these tasks could be spent on much higher value tasks across the business.
The good news: Automated expense management solutions are available to help overcome this challenge.
What’s Wrong with the Current Approach to Expense Management?
Expense management is the system by which your company processes, pays, and audits expenses that employees report while they are traveling or entertaining clients. In many businesses, expense management remains a largely manual process – this survey by KDS found that 41 percent of employees still use a time-intensive spreadsheet to submit expenses.
When your expense management solutions are manual, employees need to collect paper receipts and store them in one place, then read through these and chronologically enter them into a paper form or spreadsheet on return to the office. Any errors, spelling mistakes, or confusing entries will likely be queried by finance, adding to delays in reimbursement.
This manual approach to expenses is time-consuming and bad for business:
- KDS’s survey shows 47 percent of employees say expense reporting takes them up to 1 hour.
- 18 percent say the manual reporting process takes up to 2 hours.
- What’s more, 80 percent of employees file their expenses during working hours.
All this time spent filing expenses and reporting on receipts is a huge drain on your company’s resources. Not only do you have to pay for the cost of the expenses themselves, but you also pay for the cost of delays to work, plus the frustration of staff.
Other challenges that arise from manual expense management processes include:
- Employees don’t know which expenses are and are not permitted, so they submit everything, only for finance to reject some costs, which leads to disputes.
- It can be very difficult for finance to view the expenses you are paying for in a transparent manner and gain insights into the kinds of expenses which people are reporting.
- Incomplete information can result in finance rejecting an expense report – which leads to frustration and slow repayments.
Read this case study to learn how one company automated their expense management process.
Automated Expense Management Solutions are the Answer
The traditional approach to managing business expenses is one of the many broken processes holding back organizations large and small. It’s costly, confusing, and not cut out for the modern business environment.
Let’s look at how automated expense management solutions solve these issues, using a common expense claim situation:
George is the leading sponsorship salesman at a corporate events company. He regularly flies to events around the US to meet with clients at events. George’s company has recently deployed an automated expense management solution, which is a life-saver for this busy professional.
- George has arrived in Atlanta for a conference and checked into his hotel. On his first day, he takes two corporate sponsors out for lunch. At the end of the meal, he takes a photo of the receipt and uses an app on his smartphone to record the expense – where it was, who with, and how much it cost.
- This expense is sent immediately via the cloud to his company’s centralized expense environment, where it is logged appropriately.
- The finance team sees the expense coming in and can immediately assess whether it is legitimate.
- Finance can then pay George back right away, at the click of a button (thanks for the speedy response, finance!),
Automated expense solutions such as the one outlined above make the whole process of managing corporate expenses much smoother and more efficient.
Rather than requiring employees to keep all their receipts in a wallet or handbag before trying to remember what the expense was on returning home and entering it into a system, the process is immediate, efficient, and on-the-spot.
By using automated expense solutions, companies – and employees – can save countless hours of downtime, improve employee satisfaction, and avoid an onerous task.
Nintex’s advanced process automation tools are specially designed for organizations of all sizes to dramatically improve common business processes like expense management. With our easy-to-use interface, it’s fast and simple to build out common processes such as expense management, to ensure the process is done quickly and correctly.
By using Nintex’s automated expense management solutions, you win back time, avoid disputes and boost employee satisfaction. To learn more about Nintex’s corporate finance solutions, visit this page or contact us for a live demo today.