Technology is changing the way everything is done, especially in the accounting world. Expense reports vary from company to company and leaves a lot up to the person reviewing the reports.

In the past, expense reporting has taken up valuable time from accountants’ schedules when they could be looking for tax breaks or write-offs. Manual expense reporting is not only a thing of the past, but it is also not as reliable as the automated expense reporting alternative. Here are four reasons why manual expense reports are inferior that will leave you wondering why anyone would do a manual expense report again.

Documents Can Be Lost

Going on a business trip and having to save each individual receipt becomes frustrating to say the least. Employees sometimes lose receipts and have to file other documents with each individual purchase that they are expensing. Losing the documents not only is a threat during the trip but also until the expense report is filed.

With an automated expense report program, losing documents is no longer a threat to filing an accurate expense reports. Shoeboxed has a smartphone app that allows you to take a picture of a receipt and have the important information extracted automatically. You can then export your receipts to an expense report or any popular accounting program to make bookkeeping quick and simple.

Policy Violations Can Be Vague

Not every company has the same policies as far as items that can be expensed on the company’s dime. Manual expense reports generally have to be reviewed on a case by case basis, which can lead to some ambiguous situations. Out of policy charges can cost a company thousands of dollars a quarter, and depending on the size of the company, can have a huge impact on their bottom line. Automated expense reporting programs send you a reminder and email when a policy violation has been committed. The system will keep employees accountable rather than having to have uncomfortable conversations with employees when expense reports are filed.

Human Error

Human error can never be completely eradicated when relying on manual expense reporting. Whether it is a typo or an employee not completely understanding the company expense policy, skewed reports will continue to happen. Employees frequently make copies of their receipts to submit with different documents, and some of these are filed multiple times accidentally. Automated expense reporting platforms eliminate duplicate receipts from being filed by alerting the reporter and flagging the receipt. This not only keeps employees accountable, but saves the company money.

See also: Filing Duplicate Tax Returns? Here’s What to Know and Do

Decreased Visibility

There is often no quick way for administrators to look at how employees are spending company money. It could take hours to manually review all the receipts and spreadsheets to find spending patterns. For larger companies, manual expense reporting makes it nearly impossible to analyze spending habits of more than a few employees.

With an automated system, the manager or head of a company can easily review how money is being spent. This also allows the manager to make decisions and change policies when loopholes are being used. Enforcing the rules of what can be expensed becomes much easier when going into a program rather than going through thousands of lines of data in an Excel file.

As anyone can see, manual expense reports are a thing of the past. While there will always be some manual aspects of expense reporting, moving to a digital system makes the process much quicker and easier for everyone.

Automated expense reporting will save money and time for employees while also making it easier to review employees’ habits when it comes to spending company funds. Put manual expense reporting to rest and save yourself some money!

JT Ripton is a business consultant and freelance business and marketing writer out of Tampa, FL. You can follow him on Twitter @JTRipton.

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