Uncomplicating the Expense Report: 4 Steps

With an automated expense reporting system, employees can upload receipts, expense reports, bills, and email invoices on-the-go and on time.

Expense Report

Employee expense reports are essential, but managing them is a time-consuming function for any organization. As soon as an employee submits an expense report, the approver needs to review, validate, and approve the expenses to be processed immediately. This process is usually delayed because receipts are often lost, and duplicate receipts find a way to make their presence felt. And unfortunately, a large part of expense reporting processes are in violation of corporate policies. With most organizations still using paper-and-tape or spreadsheet-based expense management, the manual process is a veritable sinkhole involving complex validation and reporting.

Automation of expense management makes the approver’s job easy – and a streamlined automated expensing process is a boon for approvers and relief for employees. Here are four important things to consider to make expense reporting painless:

Ensure timely submission
Employees struggle to file and get approvals for their expenses in a timely manner. In a manual process, the approver needs to cross-reference corporate policies and keep falling back on additional references and receipts. It is estimated that 40% of employees forget to submit their reports on time and once an employee delays submission, it gets difficult to track those reports and maintain deadlines.

With automation, your employees can upload receipts, expense reports, bills, and email invoices on the go. The process is simple and alerts employees about policy deviations, unauthorised receipts, and additional requirements which can be fulfilled immediately. The do-it-yourself module of the automated expense management system makes it simple, real-time, and valid. Approvers also receive alerts from the system to immediately review the expense reports.

Validate expenses with corporate policies
It is important that employees are aware of corporate expense polices including timelines and spend thresholds. It is also important that the policy is clear about what is acceptable and ready to be submitted to the accounts payable. For an approver, validating every expense report is a humongous task. Corporate policy compliance can be increased by incorporating corresponding rules within the system. The system will automatically red-flag the impermissible claims.

Institute a participatory review process
An effective approval chain, which streamlines the expense process, encourages employees to adhere to acceptable norms. In many organizations, multiple approvals may be needed and it is important that all the reports are processed within deadline. Automated expense management can be customized according to routing needs and organization hierarchy. Approvers and higher management should be held to the exact standard as their employees. The automated alert system successfully incorporates this feature.

Leverage data analytics
Approvers can use data analytics to identify anomalies in the system. Reports and trends help in identifying expenses incurred by each employee, vendor, and department. Any unusual trend can be investigated and policy changes can be implemented immediately. Approvers should be able to review expense policies to incorporate new items and fix loopholes.

The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners found that expense frauds amount to about 5% of revenues. A streamlined expensing process and a watertight policy, which is implemented through an automated system, can help save time and money. Approvers are accountable for making the expense process simple, streamlined, and trustworthy. Automated systems like Expenzing Employee Expense Controller improve accuracy and enhance visibility of business expenses. With Expenzing tools, your employees can track their expenses real time and the bottle necks within the approval process are much reduced. The profitability and competitiveness of your business is assured through effective cost and expense management.

This post was written for the Shoeboxed blog by Ashley J., a freelancer and marketing operations manager in India. As a marketing operations manager, she focuses on growing expense control software as an open source product, and communicates the value of identity to customers, partners, and the larger community by targeting specific markets through segmentation and analysis.

Author: Claudia Amand

As Shoeboxed's Marketing & PR Manager, Claudia focuses on maintaining a positive relationship with the media and engaging users with the Shoeboxed product. She is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in Public Relations.