The ROI of Real Time Expense Reporting
Expense reporting is an easy process to overlook. Even though finance teams are accustomed to seeking efficiencies everywhere, when it comes to expense reporting, it hardly seems worth an overhaul. If the system works, why reinvent the wheel?
The answer is simple: with a better system, your people can review expenses in 20% of the time it currently takes — no overhaul required. Who doesn’t want to get 80% of their time back?
The drawbacks of expense reports
Expense reports are old technology. They’re relics of a time when the best way to get expense documentation to the finance team was to tape receipts to a piece of paper and bundle them in an envelope. Back then, it made sense to combine a number of transactions into one tidy list. It does not make sense anymore.
Expense reports are static. They can’t be edited by the finance team and they don’t update as your company spend changes. They’re also opaque, meaning each time you see an expense report in your inbox, there’s no way to know its contents until you open and review it. Transactions of all different types get mixed together. Expensive client dinners sit next to $5 coffees and cabs from the airport. Because you’re unable to see which expenses need your attention, it takes a relatively long time to unravel each report.
Real time expense reporting is faster and clearer
A real time system fixes the broken old expense report model with two simple concepts:
Expenses flow into the system individually.
Since it only takes an employee a few taps on a smartphone screen to create and submit an expense, why would you choose to have it gather dust, waiting to be included on an expense report? With real time expense reporting, every expense flows straight into the system as a complete, self-contained record.
With this level of granularity, the system becomes able to enforce your policy rules and route each expense to the proper approving manager. By the time expenses get to you, the Admin, they’ve been approved by whomever needs to approve them. Exceptions have been either flagged or removed.
Live Reports organize expenses.
Live Reports are flexible report views that you, the expense reviewer, pull up in real time. As expenses flow individually into the system, you can organize them—for both review and bulk approval—by dollar amount, vendor, category, and so on. The flexibility of Live Reports allows you to understand exactly how much attention you’ll need to give a group of expenses ahead of time, optimizing review time.
This method also keeps you from having to open lots of reports. Because expenses flow into the system individually, they sort into Live Reports in real time. You can review every expense of a certain type in one view, rather than having to find them in many different expense reports. Your review becomes even more efficient and contextual with this ability to see all like expenses in one place.
What will you do with more time?
Traditional expense reports are inefficient and outdated. Live Reports make your workflow flexible and transparent, saving you 80% of your review time. With faster expense review, you’ll have the bandwidth to take on the projects you prefer to do.
Expense reporting will be faster, more secure, and even better for employees. As for how you spend your free time, that’s up to you.
Want to learn more about the ROI of real time expense reporting? Click here to read the full white paper.