Businesses need a simple and user-friendly way to track their expenses.
Unfortunately, for many small businesses and startups, the words “simple” and “user-friendly” aren’t the first that come to mind when they think of their expense reports. Hunting down receipts, badgering employees for financial information, and overlooking hidden costs all contribute to the headache of manually managing your company’s expenses.
With how much time is wasted, it’s no wonder that many are looking to automate expense reports as much as possible to streamline their processes. Expense management automation offers an efficient, detail-oriented, and convenient solution to keep track of finances without the stress.
But how does fully automated expense reporting work?
Automated Expense Reporting
Collecting receipts and filing physical paperwork is time-consuming and stressful. With fully automated expense reporting, you can seamlessly manage company-wide finances from the comfort of your office chair.
You no longer have to manually perform any of these crucial bookkeeping tasks:
- Tracking expenses and managing receipts
- Analyzing company cash flow and spending patterns months after the fact
- Nailing down an extensive paper trail of receipts and invoices just to close the books
Track Expenses Immediately with Automatic Receipts
Automated accounting allows employees to instantly update company finances when new purchases are made. That means no more tax-season scrambling—the days of sorting through boxes of receipts and digging through old credit card statements are over.
The current state of expense reporting is rather dire. Here’s the typical situation business are facing when tracking even the tiniest of expenses:
- An employee makes a purchase with a personal credit card.
- They have to remember to keep the receipt—they crumple it somewhere in their wallet.
- At the end of the month they submit an expense report, tacking on those old receipts.
- The manager has to confirm each receipt is present and approve expenses.
- The accountant queues a reimbursement to the employee.
Along this chain of events, you can already see the potential problems:
- The employee forgot to keep the receipt
- The employee found the receipt months later and still wants to be reimbursed
- The personal expense report is filed late and the accountant has to either re-open the books or apply tedious backdating
- The expense wasn’t approved for in the first place, but has already been spent
In any case, the company is not capturing their precise financials at any given moment.
Instead, with automated expense reporting, receipt tracking is built-in and purchases are logged and categorized instantly. Say good-bye to lost paper receipts and long-overdue expense reports.
Company-Wide Financial Analysis With Easy-to-Create Reports
Receipt tracking is not only required by the IRS, it also reduces expense report fraud and helps you gain a more accurate understanding of company-wide finances. Not only that, but automated receipt capture and tracking—coupled with automated reporting—gives businesses increased visibility into their own company in real-time.
Simply put, you can gain a picture of your business expenditures and tackle issues as they arise. With tools that automate expense requests, approvals, and reports, you can:
- See how money is spent
- Manage employee budgets
- Automate purchase requests
- Organize bills and receipts
Lower Overhead and Cut Back on Errors
It's not uncommon to see companies grow to a size where managing spend really is a full time job. Instead of hiring an employee to manually manage your accounts payables, employee expense report approvals, and reimbursements, companies can use a set of financial software tools to streamline these processes.
Automated expense reporting tools minimize human error, so you don’t have to worry about painstakingly re-running pivot tables and Excel formulas.
Find Money Drains in your Company
Additionally, you will have a clear picture of where excess money is spent and where it could be saved. Keeping track of expenses in real-time—rather than months after the fact—illuminates budgeting errors and erroneous costs. With automated reports, you’ll plug holes in your company before the leak even starts.
Expense management should be straightforward. With all your reports electronically stored and organized, you can avoid digging through piles of paper or sifting through a disordered set of virtual files and folders.
No More Chasing Down Financial Information
Once you have your automated expense reporting processes and tools in place, you won’t have to spend valuable time sifting through tedious financial details. No one wants to devote hours of their workweek re-hashing finances. By automating arguably one of the most tedious processes in accounting, you won't need to.
Likewise, your employees will be able to focus on what they do best instead of budget management. Keep your accounting systems simple and efficient, and everyone will be happy.
Further Benefits of Implementing Fully Automated Expense Reporting
The upsides above are not where the buck stops with automated expense reporting. Companies who implement this also benefit from:
- Increased employee productivity and satisfaction
- Greater productivity
- Avoid unnecessary budget conversations
- Real-time visibility and control
- Adapt to the future
Increased Employee Productivity and Satisfaction
A big reason to switch to automated expense reporting is employee productivity and satisfaction. Keeping track of spending and receipts can be incredibly stressful, causing unnecessary worry and distraction. Employees will thrive when they know you have their back, and expense accountability is simple and easy to maintain.
Employees don’t want to waste their time managing every single expense, nor do they want to waste your time inquiring about logistical details. When expenses are tracked and taken care of automatically, the energy once spent creating and wading through expense reports can now be refocused on new and creative business strategies.
Avoid Unnecessary Budget Conversations
Sometimes talking with an employee about budgeting concerns can be uncomfortable. Adopting automated expense reports eliminates the need to track down employees and hound them for spending details and receipts. Should the situation arise, this can also provide a clear record of unauthorized spending and concerning financial patterns.
Employees will also feel more comfortable when they know exactly how their budget functions and how much they have to spend. Providing employees with the tools they need establishes a relationship of mutual trust and respect.
Real-Time Visibility and Control
Aside from the efficiency and convenience of instant accounting, expense report automation provides a detailed and thorough financial picture in real-time. See where each expense comes from, so nothing slips through the cracks.
With a full view of spending, it’s never been easier to save on unnecessary costs:
- See How Employees Spend Money – Keep track of transactions and hold employees accountable. Instant accounting provides a detailed overview of expenses and employee spending habits.
- Create Parameters for Vendors – Automated accounting allows you to create spending parameters to avoid unnecessary confrontations. Be in control of where money is spent and how much vendors can charge you for services.
- Be Ready for Tax Day – Because all your expense reporting is clearly filed and stored in one place, filing taxes is painless. With accurate records and documentation, you’re prepared for any surprise audits that might otherwise be incredibly stressful.
They say the devil’s in the details, and sometimes keeping track of the nitty-gritty takes time and attention away from more important things. Don’t let outdated, manual accounting processes bog down your business.
Adapt to the Future
No one wants to be stuck in the past, using old-fashioned technology. As the business world becomes increasingly digital, automated, and connected, it’s vital that your company’s tools stay up-to-date and compatible with this virtual landscape:
- Sync with Other Accounting Tools – Many expense reporting services will allow you to link up with other accounting platforms. It’s easy to keep track of all aspects of your financial picture with everything in sync.
- Match Expectations – Your employees, as well as other companies and vendors, are likely to expect automated expense reporting as the standard. When everyone is on the same page, communication will be seamless.
- Allow Your Company to Grow – Adopting simple and easy-to-use expense management solutions allows you to reimagine your budget for the future. If your company is currently growing, using instant accounting can help you approach your budgeting strategy with data and visibility on your side.
Integrate Expense Reporting into Your Card
Imagine offering your employees a corporate card that automatically integrates expense reporting. With the help of companies like Ramp, you don’t have to imagine it.
Ramp allows you to manage spending parameters directly through the card, so you can rest easy knowing the card is doing the work for you. Ramp can also pre-approve expenses on employee cards, so you never have to worry about where money is spent. This applies to employee expenses as well as managing company spend with vendors.
What’s more? Ramp offers unlimited cards, so you can make sure everyone on your team is on the same page with just a few easy steps.
Insperity. Automated Expense Reporting: 4 Not-So-Obvious Benefits. https://www.insperity.com/blog/automated-expense-reporting/
SAP Concur. What is Expense Management Automation? https://www.concur.com/newsroom/article/what-is-expense-management-automation
Next Process. 7 Reasons Why Automated Expense Reporting Makes Sense. http://www.nextprocess.com/expense-report-software/why-automated-expense-reporting-makes-sense/