Travel and expense management has largely become a balancing act, with CFOs walking a precarious tightrope between employee satisfaction and controlling the budget. Companies are pushing for higher efficiencies while business travelers are prompted to pay acute attention to costs, without sacrificing compliance and beneficial company outcomes.
Employee expense report reimbursements may not come for weeks, a trend that a 2015 Wakefield Research study said left nearly 75 percent of corporate travelers feeling like a bank, floating the company a loan for their business expenses.
One of the greatest problems is the traditional method of cash disbursements, which is poised for snags and delays at every turn.
- Employees lay out their own cash or use a corporate credit card, inviting a lack of visibility from the get-go.
- Workers make company-related purchases and hang on to the receipts.
- Receipts are eventually dug up, attached to hard copy forms, and sent to the appropriate parties during the tedious manual expense reporting process.
- Finance teams spend extensive time and effort reconciling reports with receipts, then manually entering data into the system. Each stage invites potential for human error, which can result in more time spent backtracking when an error is discovered.
- Approvals come, finally, and travelers are reimbursed. The extensive wait for compensation is a surefire way to make even the most dedicated employees feel a bit shafted, or even scrambling to pay their regular lineup of personal bills.
On the flip side, if companies sacrifice any modicum of control to speed up the process and improve worker satisfaction, the biggest hit can come to the company’s bottom line.
Because the overall lack of visibility doesn’t give managers keen insight into how and where employees are spending company funds, fraud and overspending may have already occurred before anyone approves expenses or even reviews the reports.
There is a solution that allows CFOs to maintain control of the budget while increasing employee contentment – without spending every waking moment crunching numbers. And that solution is to streamline and improve travel and expense management practices. One of the easiest ways to do so is to invest in expense management software that specifically meets the company’s needs.
- Automate expense workflow through the use of pre-paid cards that eliminate the need for employees to use corporate cards or lay out personal funds.
- Integrate expense management technology into existing web and online platforms.
- Photograph, store and submit receipts on mobile devices, removing the hassle of paper receipts.
- Reduce the 91 minutes it takes for manual expense reporting to an expedient 5.5 minutes with an automated system. Quicker processing of expenses results in increased productivity and smaller reimbursement cycles.
- Provide real-time visibility of how, where and when employees are spending money as the activity is occurring. Managers can set customized preferences and budget caps for individual employees.
- Offer intelligent features and mobile capabilities that create seamless integration among managers, employees and the accounting team.
With intelligent analytics, predictive insights and a comprehensive overview of the company’s financial status, automated expense management software can help achieve high levels of control as well as employee satisfaction.
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