Refresh employee expense management with automation

Employees tend to overspend on work trips as they don't have a clear overview of their spending. Manual expense management is a drain on your company's finances and employee productivity and happiness levels. Automation is a fail-proof way to streamline these processes, boosting your business's bottom line and leaving your employees feeling engaged and satisfied with their work.

Defining Expense Management automation

Expense management automation is the process of automating how businesses record, track and approve employee spending.

Automating expense management saves your finance team time manually registering and approving expenses. It also saves your company money as it can reign in overspending on approved – and unapproved – expenses. 

Expense management automation also helps with data collection that the software can analyze to help the company make better spending decisions and help maintain accountability and compliance by accurately reporting employee expenses. 

In this blog post, we'll discuss how expense management automation works, the benefits, who benefits, key elements for success, and steps to take when starting your expense automation journey. 

How it works

 

Traditional Expense Management process

Traditional expense management is a manual process and is paper- and spreadsheet-based. It takes time as the employee collects their receipts and files an expense report back in the office while the finance team manually processes physical receipts. A typical expense reimbursement process looks like: 

  1. The employee makes a work-related expense.
  2. They save the receipt for later.
  3. They manually enter information and attach their receipts to their expense report and submit it for approval.
  4. The approver checks the receipt and the expense report, ensuring the transaction matches with the filed expense and it is accepted or rejected.
  5. If accepted, they reimburse the employee. If rejected, the employee receives the report for corrections and repeats the process.

In some cases, the expense management process is more or less complex as different steps may be involved depending on company policy, ERP software, or other reasons. 

 

 

Automated Expense Management process

Automated expense management cuts down the tasks needed to complete an expense reimbursement process and significantly reduces the processing time as it is digital and cloud-based. An automated expense reimbursement process looks like this:

  1. The employee makes work-related expenses.
  2. They immediately scan their receipt with an app that automatically captures the data and immediately submit it for approval.
  3. The approver checks the receipt and the expense report, ensuring the transaction matches with the filed expense and it is accepted or rejected.
  4. If accepted, the employee is immediately reimbursed. If rejected, the employee receives the report for corrections and repeats the process.

The benefits of expense management automation

Automation software solves some of the most significant issues in expense management, such as manual data entry, errors, overspending, long waiting time for reimbursements, and fraudulent activities. 
 

The main benefits of implementing expense automation software in your finance team are:

  • Eliminates paperwork - easily captures receipts, removing the need for physical copies.
  • Reduces manual data entry and errors - OCR captures information automatically.
  • Speedier approvals and reimbursements - instant access to expenses means quicker processing time.
  • Increased visibility - a real-time overview of employee spending.
  • Order matching - automatically matches transactions with credit cards and spots inconsistencies.
  • Cost efficiency - prevents employee overspending and costs on manual labor.
  • Increased compliance - built-in policy controls prevent the abuse of company credit cards.

 

Key people who benefit from automation

Your finance team

No more hidden costs - by simplifying the expense management process, you have a complete overview of how much money employees spend, where it's going, and who's spending it. With automation, you can eliminate repetitive manual tasks, which take time away from other essential activities. This frees you up to optimize your company's spending, save money, and encourage growth.

Your approvers

With expense management automation, approvers can avoid bottlenecking. Approvers get a clear overview of which expenses they still have to approve. Because employees record their expenses immediately, the approvers can quickly review and approve any claim instantly. They have direct digital communication and a track record of interactions with the employee.

Your employees

Employees are used to using fast and efficient technology at home – manually reporting and tracking work expenses is not their cup of tea. Giving them an efficient way to track and report spending lowers frustration levels. At the same time, faster approval and reimbursements raise satisfaction levels – keeping them focused and performing well at their job.

C-suite executives

Top executives want to build a healthy and profitable company. Expense management automation helps keep costs low and increase profit while keeping the employees happy and free to do more meaningful work.

Keys for success

Before shopping around for an expense management solution, you must know what key capabilities a good expense automation software should have. To set you and your company up for future success, it needs: 

  • Scalability - the option to add and remove users as your company grows
  • Simple setup - integrated with your current ERP system
  • Built-in approval flow - sends receipts directly to the correct flow for approvals
  • Permission levels - restricted user access to approvals to avoid fraud
  • Card integration - match and reconcile expenses automatically
  • Mobile app - scan and upload receipts in real-time

Key takeaways

Implementing automation will benefit your business in several ways, such as cutting down on employee overspending, combating fraudulent expense reporting, and saving costs and time spent on manual tasks.

You and your team can start to direct your efforts towards scaling the company based on reliable data and promoting growth where needed. Overall, automating your business' expense management process saves you time, money, and your employees' sanity!

Easy expense management for Business Central

At Continia, we want to give you the best possible automation experience - that's why we built our Expense Management solution inside Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. You don't have to learn a new system to automate your expense management process. 

Track employee spending in real-time with the Expense App and the browser-based Expense Portal. Your employees can easily upload their receipts on the go – no more lost receipts. Among other things, features include: 

  • Mileage tracking
  • Travel budget allowances
  • Scan and upload receipts
  • Automatic reminders
  • Built-in approval flow
Learn more about Expense Management