Your company’s audit committee faces significant challenges this year. Its members will need to address new risks and responsibilities while staying focused on financial reporting integrity and internal controls, according to an article on the Accounting Today website. That’s why priorities for 2013 should include monitoring the impact of business and regulatory changes on your company's compliance programs, along with developing a clear understanding of how your company is managing its significant tax risks.

A good way to address the challenges of changing regulations is through expense management. Local, state, national and international tax laws are often very different in scope and reporting requirements. To minimize corporate exposure to financial and operating penalties, companies need to adopt and enforce policies for travel expense management and business expense tracking.

The Accounting Today article draws upon a new report from audit services firm KPMG called “Audit Committee Priorities for 2013.” In addition to primary oversight responsibilities, the report calls for audit committees to understand the roles of digitization and social media in transforming the business landscape and their impact on company and board oversight.

Expense management solutions help ensure expense policy compliance and corporate transparency. It not only sets the stage for potential savings and risk avoidance, it also improves employee morale as rules become consistent and evenly applied. Employees know what is expected, which mitigates risk.

An automated system mimics your existing company-approval process while offering increased efficiency and significant savings. Manually processing expense accounts costs an average of $21.41 per report, according to research by the Aberdeen Group, while a fully automated system reduces that cost to $8.50. With an automated system like Chrome River’s, necessary approvals are gathered as activity progresses, and policy exceptions are caught before spending takes place. This can eliminate a lot of back and forth. By the time an approver receives an expense report, all the information is in place to make a decision.

As your audit committee prepares for a challenging year, expense report software can provide valuable savings and data-driven insights. Has an automated expense system helped your organization become more efficient and reduce expenses? How do you think it helps with ensuring regulatory compliance?

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