There is a simple way many companies can save time, effort and money on expense reporting and reimbursement – automate.
The typical company with 25 employees spends 325 hours per month handling expenses, according to a survey by Certify, which builds cloud-based expense and reporting systems.
Those 325 hours include the time travelers spend collecting receipts and creating expense reports; the time managers spend reviewing and approving reports, and the time accounting departments spend reconciling and reimbursing.
Still relying on Excel
“Excel spreadsheets and paper are our biggest competitors in the expense arena, not competitors like SAP or Concur who also have expense products,” said Certify president Robert Neveu.
Neveu told Travel Market Report that expense management is still a highly manual process for more than 50% of companies sampled in a survey earlier this year.
The problem is that changing to a new travel expense program can be daunting, requiring buy-in from multiple departments and in some cases necessitating changes in travel policy.
Neveu suggested that it’s worth overcoming the barriers to change, as the rewards of automating expense reporting are significant. “These companies that use manual or spreadsheet systems see huge savings in cost and effectiveness in their travel programs by automating the expense side.”
Even companies that process just a few expense reports a month can benefit. According to Neveu, Certify’s expense reporting products are a time and money saver for companies that process as few as five reports per month.
Certify even offers a free single-user version to help spread the company name. Consultants are so happy with the time saved that they push clients to take a similar step, Neveu said.
Low entry point
The low starting point is possible because of Certify’s latest expense product, ReportExecutive. It's a cloud-based product that builds expense reports automatically, schedules reports automatically, reminds employees when reports are due and uses images of receipts to automatically populate expense fields.
“Employees can stop wasting time building expense reports and let the system do it,” Neveu said. “All they have to do is review it, maybe tweak it, and push one button to submit. And because it is automated, the data is always formatted properly and receipts are there.
“Automation is a real time saver for accounting.”