Expert's Corner

3 Ways to Streamline Expense Report Management

Posted by François Duchesne on Mar 9, 2018 1:30:00 PM
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Did you know that administrative and travel expenses can generate huge costs for your company? Business travel indeed represents the second-highest annual expense after salaries. By implementing good management and integration strategies within your organization, you can:

  • Reduce costs and time to process expense accounts;
  • Enhance compliance;
  • Increase your revenue.

Discover 3 ways to streamline expense report management.

Young businessman calculating.jpeg

1. Electronic Invoices and Pictures

Sending and receiving electronic invoices is becoming a more and more common practice. In fact, when an employee receives a paper invoice, it is strongly advised that he takes a picture of it using his mobile phone in order to avoid:

  • Losing it;
  • Wasting time looking for it;
  • Being overwhelmed with paperwork.

Those two methods prevent mistakes, as supporting documents provide detailed and precise information. Moreover, reports can be easily approved and employees are reimbursed faster. You therefore gain time, money and transparency, as your staff’s expense accounts require fewer corrections.

2. A Clear Expense Policy

An expense policy within an organization is a structure that defines eligible expenses and payment conditions. It allows you, among other things, to save time during reservations by eliminating providers that do not meet your guidelines. It is very important to clearly state your policy to provide guidance for your staff and avoid any mistake. Otherwise, your company is at risk of being subjected to tax consequences. For example, you may have to pay penalties following an audit when some rules have not been applied. Employees can also unfortunately commit fraud.

To ensure that your guidelines are clearly defined, here are some relevant questions to ask:

  • Are you aware of business travel spend as soon as it’s engaged?
  • Do you have a clear, effective policy?
  • Do you know when your guidelines aren’t followed?
  • Are you able to categorize your employees’ expenses?
  • Can you easily link travel expenses to a specific customer or sale?
  • Can you spot expenses that are not consistent with your policy?
  • Do you make informed budget decisions based on detailed spending data?

If you answered “no” to most of these questions, your policy may not be clear enough. Besides, your staff might not be familiar with it.

3. Integrating an Automated Solution

Several tools exist to help you organize your business travels and manage your expenses, such as automated solutions. These provide a wide range of services to manage your trips, especially by being connected to travel agencies, credit card providers and many of your partners. They allow you to access electronic invoices and collect data. Data collection is convenient for budget forecasts, for example. It makes it easier to determine priorities and adjust the budget allocated to expense reports.

Another option offered by automated solutions is integrating your policy with the management process. This way, reimbursement rules are automatically implemented in the system. Thus, any operation that is non-compliant with your guidelines is quickly flagged, so you can take action accordingly. Keeping in mind that 40-50% of employee travel is booked outside of guidelines or company policy, such a system is very advantageous. It guarantees that guidelines are followed and decreases the risk of spending beyond budget forecasts. Your employees will also be glad that expense reports’ compliance and transparency are enhanced and reimbursements are received more quickly.

Automated solutions also simplify travel management and planning by providing cutting-edge technology to make reservations with ease. These are connected to several on-line applications and services to book plane tickets, hotels and vehicles. Subject to such conditions, your staff saves time on managing trips and is able to perform more productive tasks. This means reducing costs. You win on every aspect!

Discover even more ways to cut your expense processing cost in the whitepaper ''You've already cut cost. Now what?''.

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Overall, developing good strategies as well as integrating effective tools is rewarding for a business: Businesses with an integrated travel and expense system require an average of 47% less staff time for processing travel and expense reports.

Integrating an automated solution means your employees have more time and resources to focus on expanding your business!

Would your company benefit from streamlining its expense management? Let's get to it together!

Topics: Finance

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