The administrative burden of expense management can be an exhausting chore, especially if spreadsheets, manual approval processes, and written policy documents are involved. Not to mention the pain of receiving an expense report from seven months ago, for instance, after you closed out the fiscal year, and had a policy change.
Thankfully, an expense management system can reduce this burden. With software, you can eliminate static spreadsheets that can lose their calculations, be manipulated, and live forever on someone’s hard drive. A Web-based expense management system provides real-time accessibility to policies, controlled calculations, and alerts. In addition, it can increase accessibility with multiple submission methods. Whereas, a spreadsheet limits an employee to completing the expense report on a company computer. Mobile, email, fax, and Web-based interfaces allow employees on the go to submit, review, and approve expenses at their convenience. The increased accessibility allows them to add receipts to expense reports rather than potentially losing them in the shuffle. In addition, built-in policy notifications provide immediate feedback on the expenses’ compliance.
For example, the ExpenseWire system has a traffic light that lets the employee know when a line item is acceptable and within policy, not in policy, or within policy but starting to approach the limit. For example, let’s say you wanted employees to know that you changed a policy regarding client entertainment. You could set a threshold amount that would display a yellow caution light when an expense was within acceptable limits, but would provide a call out to help educate the employee regarding the new limit.
The employee, or the approver, could then click on the yellow icon to read the updated policy that triggered the caution light. If they violate the policy, a red icon would appear to notate the violation. The beauty is that everything in the system operates in real-time, so everyone has the same access and visibility.
In addition to enforcing policy, an expense management system can improve reimbursement turnarounds with automated workflows that send email reminders and requests. The email communication encourages employees to complete approvals at the appropriate time, thus continuing the momentum.
Last, but not least, expense management software improves visibility and reduces costs. In fact, a national retailer found that ExpenseWire reduced their cost of expense report processing by $80,000!