Perhaps you’ve been at a restaurant or a nightclub and overheard someone at the next table say, “Don’t worry about it — it’s on my expense account.” You glance over at the group and wonder, “That’s a business function?”
Business travel and entertaining clients may be valid expenses, but just because you’re in another city, T&E spending isn’t a free-for-all. Smart organizations are using sophisticated travel expense management software to catch fraud, prevent honest mistakes, and prompt discussions about gray areas for employees who need clarification.
As an article on CFO.com reports, for many companies, especially those in the financial services, the cost of fraud and mistakes in expense claims is no small matter. As many organizations realize, having clearly defined policies and penalties in place isn’t enough to ensure good travel expense management. When trying to match up countless small expenses with several transaction types and correct descriptions, the paperwork challenge can soon overwhelm any serious enforcement attempts.
They key to sound travel expense management is automation, according to CFO.com. By integrating T&E policies and rules into expense management software like Chrome River EXPENSE, organizations can simplify the process for employees and their managers.
Here are three advantages of using an automated system.
- Builds training and just-in-time notifications into the process. Integrating triggers and rules can provide employees with guidance at the point of purchase or when filing the expense. For example, an employee might receive an alert that first class airfare isn’t covered. It also applies rules consistently, which ensures everyone is treated fairly.
- Supports built-in, system-initiated auditing. Automated systems can generate red flags and audit instructions based on specific criteria. You can also use the software to help conduct random audits.
- Manages exception handling. Including alternate approval or handling options can ease frustration and provide a sense of control. Rather than tell traveling employees that they cannot book a certain flight, the system can give them the option of getting manager approval.
In the end, organizations can leverage new automated technology to streamline travel expense management, making it easier to authorize, procure, track, process and reimburse employees for business expenses. Since the company policy is programmed into every step, managers gain visibility into ways they might manage spending more effectively and can address problems before they get out of control. The right expense report software can make all the difference.
We appreciate your feedback. How would you compare an automated expense system to manual reporting methods? What’s the most significant improvement you’ve experienced?
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.