Delayed reimbursements are a cause of frustration for many.
It is quite difficult to attribute this delay to anything in particular. Employees file their expense reports only after they return from their business travel. Once it is filed, the expense report has to go through multiple approvers, before it reaches the finance team for reimbursements. On the other hand, the finance team receives a multitude of expense reports on a daily basis. They have to go through each of them before processing payment. This further adds to the delay. This sort of manual expense reporting is exhausting, and not to mention, time-consuming.
In this article, we discuss how automation can help in accelerating the reimbursement process. We also touch upon the key points you should keep in mind before reimbursing travel expense reports.
What causes a delay in expense report reimbursements?
Most companies usually do their travel expense reports on paper. This is one of the main reasons for reimbursement delay. If we break it down further, it involves the following processes:
- Filing the travel expense report:
Employees submit all their business expenses on the expense report form. This is done post the trip wherein they attach all expense receipts along with the form.
- Approving the expense report:
After filing the expense report, reporting managers receive these expense reports for approval. The number of approvers may vary, depending on the purpose and hierarchy of the company. In case of concerns or policy violations in the expense report, it is sent back to the submitter for rectification. This further delays the expense reimbursement process.
- Processing the reimbursement: After approval, the expense report goes to the finance team for payment processing. The finance team does a quick review of the expense report before processing the reimbursement. In case of any violations, it is sent back to the submitter. If everything looks good, they give the final green for processing the payment. The employee is likely to receive the refund in 2-4 days.
After processing the reimbursements, accountants have to enter the expense data on a spreadsheet manually. Given the large amounts of data they need to work with, accountants are likely to make errors during the data entry process. This, in turn, would lead to errors in the financial statements.
How automation helps in faster reimbursement of travel expense reports
Delayed reimbursements have become a thing of the past, with automation. Expense reports that used to take 5-7 days to get approved and reimbursed are now processed in just a few hours. This enables companies to provide their employees with same-day reimbursements. Features like real-time expense reporting, one-click approvals, and policy checks have made expense reporting seamless.
Employees no longer have to carry around a wallet bulging with receipts. They can create an expense directly from the receipt, making the process entirely paperless. Submitters are notified of policy violations at the source. They can then make changes in the expense before sending it for approval.
Approvers are notified of the expense report submission and can approve the expense report in a click of the button. Policy violated expenses are flagged, thereby making the review process easy. With in-app communication, they can inform submitters of the mistakes, from within the app, without back and forth emails, and calls.
Finance teams can now approve and push expense reports into the payment processing cycle in just a few clicks. This helps fasten, streamline and simplify the entire reimbursement process for all the stakeholders involved.
Things to keep in mind while selecting a travel expense reporting solution
With the inception of automated expense reporting software, companies have simplified and accelerated their reimbursement processes. However, before you choose to implement an automated solution, here are a couple of things you should keep in mind:
- Evaluate your travel expense reporting needs
Deconstruct your expense reporting workflow entirely. Identify the number of traveling employees. Study in detail how expense approval works in your organization. In a gist, list out all those repetitive tasks that you are looking to automate.
- Include the stakeholders in the trial process
While zeroing in on an expense reporting software for your organization, ensure that you include folks who are going to use it regularly. Since they are going to make the best use of it, their feedback is crucial while selecting an expense reporting solution.
- Measure its ROI
While checking out multiple solutions, measure the ROI of each solution. Some of the questions you need to ask while using the software are:
- How has the software helped in saving money?
- Is it easy to use the software?
- Is it available on the cloud?
Benefits of using an automated software for travel expense reports
In addition to accelerating the reimbursement process, a travel expense reporting software can help you with the following:
- Employees can report expenses on-the-move
- Employees can create and submit expense reports from anywhere, anytime, and from any device.
- Enhance compliance with policy checks
- Easy to analyze expense data
- Improve financial productivity with Digital audit trail
Are you looking for an expense reporting solution that does it all? Look no more. Sign up for a free demo with Fyle and experience seamless expense reporting.