Most business owners rely on paper receipts and spreadsheets to manage their expenses. This outdated approach has several problems, though -- it leaves room for errors, you waste a lot of time on data entry, and you risk losing receipts.
Instead, consider automating your expense management process. Automation can save you hours of your day and makes tracking expenses a breeze.
Here are several ways automation can help simplify your work:
Achieve faster approvals for reimbursable expenses
The time it takes to get reimbursed for an expense can vary greatly, depending on the approval process. Automating this process can help ensure that employees are reimbursed on time.
In addition, automating approvals can lead to faster, more accurate reimbursements because it takes human error out of the equation.
For example, if you require approvals for certain types of expenses, or if you want managers to double-check employees' expense submissions, you can automate the process using a pre-approval solution. This gives managers time to quickly check instructions and approve reimbursements without leaving their current workflow.
Streamline complex reporting requirements for finance and accounting departments
Complex reporting requirements can be a major challenge for finance and accounting departments. By automating the expense management process, you can take the burden off of these teams and help them to focus on more strategic tasks.
For example, an automated system can help to quickly generate custom reports on spending by employee, department, or client. This gives finance and accounting teams the ability to quickly review and analyze spending trends.
Reduce the risk of fraud and abuse
Businesses lose thousands of dollars every year to fraudulent expenses. Fraudulent expenses can take many forms, such as employees submitting fake receipts, suppliers overcharging for services, or managers awarding business to preferred suppliers because they provide additional benefits.
Organizational spending power increases with the adoption of an automated expense management process. With more expenses being tracked and reported, it's easier for businesses to track and identify areas where fraud may exist or where employees may be overspending.
For example, a business might use an automated system to compare employee spending against predetermined spending limits. If an employee goes over the limit, the system can automatically flag this as a potential issue and send an alert to appropriate personnel. This type of early detection can help you prevent larger-scale fraud from happening.
Reduce manual data entry and administrative time
Manual data entry is a waste of time and a distraction – your employees could be better off spending that time on more strategic or revenue-generating activities. By reducing the manual nature of expense management, you free up time for people to get back to work.
For example, you can save receipts and upload them to a centralized platform, and eliminate time spent on manual data entry. This means that employees only have to spend time on the expenses that need more detail, such as travel or long-term purchases, instead of spending hours every week entering data and sifting through paper receipts.
Enable mobile access to your expense management system.
Giving employees the ability to submit expenses and access reports while on the go can save time and improve productivity.
By using a mobile app that allows employees to take photos of receipts and submit them for approval, there’ll be no need to carry paper receipts with you. The result? Submitting expenses becomes much easier.
Get visibility into spend data
An automated expense management system can provide you with a centralized view of spending data for your entire organization.
This type of visibility can be extremely valuable for businesses that want to track spending trends or identify areas where they may be overspending.
For instance, an automated system can help you to compare categories of spending across different business units or locations. This makes it easier for companies to spot areas where different groups are spending too much money, especially if they're in similar departments or working on the same projects.
Compliance is often a priority for many companies. Noncompliance can carry huge risks -- not only do you run the risk of receiving hefty penalties, but you also risk tarnishing your own reputation.
Having an automated expense management system in place can help you to ensure compliance with a range of different regulations.
Automated expense management systems virtually eliminate the hazards of regulatory compliance. They can apply complex tax rules and come with built-in audit capabilities. Some go even further, capturing data that is necessary for reporting corporate and income tax reports.
Improve Employee Morale
Happy employees are productive employees.
One of the benefits of automating your expense management process is that it can help improve employee morale.
Employees like knowing that their company is taking steps to make their jobs easier and more efficient. Having a mobile app that allows them to submit expenses from their phones, as well as access expense reports and other data on the go, can go a long way toward making employees feel like they're respected and valued.
When it comes to automating expense management, the options are many and varied. You can find standalone software applications, cloud-based solutions, or even modules integrated into larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems.
The problem, however, is that some of these solutions are too costly. If you’re looking to save money and cut costs, the last thing that you’d want is to pay an arm and a leg for expense management software.
That’s where Penny Inc comes in. Penny Inc is a completely free expense management platform that offers the perks we’ve mentioned above. You can request as many virtual cards as you need, get access to your employee’s spending through an easy-to-use dashboard, and scan all your receipts through the interactive mobile app — at no cost. Sign up today.