Ever asked an accountant how much time he/she spends in tracking down paper receipts for employee expenses or in manual data entry? Hundreds of hours per month are spent in reconciling errors in expense reports and chasing employees for paper bills and incomplete expenses (27% of organizations claim this task a pain point in expense management).
Furthermore, they are required to manually check for policy violations by scanning through hard copies. All these efforts are just overhead tasks, and no insights are usually derived from them for the business. Clearly, these high-paid and highly talented folks are not utilized by businesses to their fullest.
Thanks to web-based expense reporting solutions, the way organizations record expenditures and generate expense reports is finally evolving. By automating tasks like data entry from excel sheets into their accounting systems and compliance checks, expense automation software allow accountants to focus on keeping track of the myriad of other, more strategic jobs they need to accomplish for the business.
Helping Accountants be more Efficient
By using expense management software, accountants can cut-down the manual overhead in tracking and processing expenses. The return usually comes in the form of multiple billable hours saved, lower cost of expense management, insights into spending and expense analytics, and obviously, much less frustrated employees, managers, and accountants. From a business perspective, here are the three top winners for expense automation:
- Going paperless – Receipts, expense reports and expense forms are a sizeable part of the paperwork in 21st-century business. With eco-friendly workplaces and paper-less businesses gaining traction and urgency, automating this workflow and making your entire process paperless can be a very good idea, especially when it only helps you to stay much more compliant. Relying on an automated expense reporting system reduces costs that go into printing expense reports. Offsite employees who would have had to courier in their expense reports can now rely on the web solution to send it in on time. Ultimately, accountants no longer have to stress about receiving reports with crumpled bills attached to them.
- Improved data accuracy – Human errors are hard to avoid, but an automated expense management solution can increase precision. Errors such as double billing, or missed receipts are often seen in this case. The lesser the data entry, the lesser are the chances of making mistakes and thus, more accuracy. With the automatic extraction of information from receipts and seamless transfer of data to other systems, the process gives accountants the confidence in the numbers.
- Spend insights and analytics – With the use of an expense reporting software, the accounting department can view expenses as they are filed and approved. Also, they have an auditable trail of the expenses which they can review later. These features help them gain insights into employee spending patterns. Furthermore, the expense analytics that the system generate accurately presents data and companies can use it to make strategic decisions. Know how to make the best use of expense anaytics.
Perfect Expense Management Solution For Accountants
An automated expense management system can not only appease the burdens of employees and managers but also accountants. Businesses must ensure the following features are available in their software to ensure their accountants can gain the maximum benefits.
Automatic Policy Checks
Expense management software enables organizations to put down threshold limits on certain expense categories automatically, which then strictly enforces policy compliance. This helps block out entries that violate the organization’s policy and wards off the need to manually scan for errors, and send back reports for corrections.
The company must ensure the software supports standard information such as IRS-approved mileage rates that prohibits employees from entering unapproved expense mileages. Many companies may also choose to define per diem rates, the allowance for lodging and meals and incidental expenses, according to the US General Services Administration (GSA) rules in their policies. This will not only make it easy for employees to understand their reimbursement guidelines but also helps accountants avoid manual policy checks.
Instant Access to Expense Reports
If you are an accountant, you must have sent out emails asking employees to re-scan receipts or clarify an expense or even check for totaling errors in expense reports. These delays only make expense reports more troublesome. Using the scan/snap feature, employees can ensure the soft-copy of the paper receipt can reach you without any other confusions. Accountants can then ensure managers approve expenses on time and can send reminders in case there is a delay. The software ensures that all communication regarding the expense is consolidated in one place using the comment box. Furthermore, the one-click expense reports that the setup generates for employees will ensure there are no discrepancies in them and accountants can be assured that all the details and costs add up. Expense reports are submitted punctually and accountants have can review them at any time.
Automatic Software Integrations
Using two separate systems usually requires tons of data entry. Accountants are usually left going back and forth between spreadsheets and expense reports. A fully automated expense management solution can integrate and seamlessly transfer data to an accounting system. The system integrates with the company’s bank accounts and accounting software (Tally, Quickbooks, Xero, etc) to effortlessly transfer auditable expense data into the company ledgers and books, and enable a timely settlement of reimbursements for the employees. This kind of system perfectly fits any business, providing them with logical and coherent financial management.
Since switching to the automated expense reporting system, 44% of companies have claimed to have used it to enhance other accounting and budget planning systems as well. The finance and accounting teams handle numerous reports relating to paying taxes, identifying revenue streams, supervising sales orders, tracking invoices for payment and the overall balancing of books. An expense automation solution can reduce one of those many reports and make the reimbursement process easier and more accurate. Thus, giving finance and accounting teams the time to focus on functions that are most critical to the company’s bottom line.