What is one of the biggest issues all employees absolutely dread?
We are sure you will agree. The world of expense management has been bogged down with boring, lengthy and painful manual processes. Where the world today is adopting automation, this is one area of business that has been slow on the uptake.
Here, let’s take a minute to understand what expense management means. It is the exercise by which a business processes, pays and audits employee expenses. It includes the policies and procedures that govern such spending, as well as the technologies and services utilized to process and analyze the data associated with it. This exercise has traditionally been very paper-intensive, where employees submit physical proof of expense in the form of paper receipts, making the whole process tedious and vulnerable to mismanagement as well as fraud, not to mention lacking visibility into overall spend.
As many businesses still perceive expense management as more of a house-keeping exercise, they therefore, tend to ignore the value automating it could add to the business. Unfortunately, this bottleneck has the potential to not only impact performance, but also morale and engagement with the company.
Does it really have such a deep impact, you ask. Yes! If an employee is more concerned about keeping tabs on his petrol bills, travel tickets, food bills, etc., chances are he is not as focused on the task at hand. In all fairness, one can’t fault the employee, after all he has to keep track of his expenses and transactions, often weeks or months after making them. On the other hand, the finance team must painstakingly process all this information and reconcile the reports in order to make sure that everyone gets reimbursed. Managing the process manually can and has caused major problems for productivity.
Where planned expenses are concerned, the process starts much before the actual expense even takes place – with planning and budget approvals. This is followed by keeping track of bookings and receipts, not to mention actually submitting original bills with the concerned department at the right time. The actual reimbursement is then realized at least a month down the line, if not later. The unplanned expense, such as ordering a meal or booking a cab ride home when working late, is a different story, though the process of manual expense filing is equally exhausting.
It is no wonder the employees are demanding automation and simplification of the expense management process. Here is how the automated system works: a cloud-based solution on an employee’s mobile helps him upload a picture of the business expense receipt the moment he spends for it. This, then, moves through pre-set automated workflows to the finance department to be recorded, audited and approved. The amount gets transferred to the employee’s bank account as per predetermined time frame. Hence, not only are the man-hours required for the whole expense reporting process significantly reduced, the whole back-end is compliant and transparent.
The need of the hour, today, is a faster, simpler and more efficient expense management process that automates the creation, submission, approval, and processing of expense reports and therefore, shortens the reimbursement cycle.
Let’s take a quick look at how this need is being met in developed markets. Paramount WorkPlace’s recently released 2018 Travel and Expense Management Insight Report reveals that in Q4 2018, expense management and travel booking solutions were the most commonly adopted automation tools among the North American businesses. One of the key reasons for this is the low-value nature of manual expense reporting tasks, and how quickly this process can increase in cost and time as a company grows. Another reason is the growing amount of travel in today’s business landscape and the resulting importance of having efficient ways to book trip requirements and process large volumes of expense reports.
In India however the story is different, with 65% of companies still recording employee expenses manually according to State of Indian Enterprise Travel & Expense Management 2018 report . It goes on to highlight that 82% of companies are either partially or entirely lacking in automating the whole T&E process despite it being the second-largest operational expense after payroll.
Obviously, the pace of change in expense management in India needs to ramp up. Digitizing spends can help businesses manage finances efficiently and unlock potential benefits.
- Go Paperless: With the bills and transactions being recorded electronically, the paper footprint goes down
- Be Compliant: With every step of the process captured online in real time, it is easy to go 100% compliant
- Go Cashless: Prepaid expense cards not only make spending easy, they also smoothen out the approval cycle
- Reduce Processes: Reduced manhours in manual processing and verification lead to improved efficiency and accuracy, as well as faster reimbursements while reducing unauthorized spends
- Curated Deals: Select, pre-approved service providers and negotiated rates can take the pain out of finding the best deal, making travel/meal bookings or purchasing corporate gifts easy
For the employees too, the simple and easy to engage interface can deliver delightful user-experience. From being one of the biggest hurdles in an employee’s work day, the automated system becomes their best friend, allowing for instant scanning, uploading and logging in of bills and receipts. No more chasing papers around the desk!
As the system empowers the employees, it also creates a robust, compliant and transparent back end that can generate real-time data on expense trends, leading to better insights into business spend to optimize budgets and payrolls. As employee expenses represent the second-largest cost center in a company, being able to control it and derive insights from it can be a game changer for businesses that were thus far lacking visibility into this critical area.
As technology increases automation in our lives, it can do the same for our business. It is time to say good bye to tedious workflows and accounting vulnerabilities and say hello to operational efficiencies and paperless back office.
Automate with Zaggle's World-Class Expense Management Solution Today!
Reach out to us today to find out how our experts can help you get rid of the slow and painful process of expense reporting and replace it with cutting edge technology!