All companies need to manage their expenses, regardless of their size. Having control over who is spending and on what is important in order to eliminate overspending and establish and encourage guidelines to spend
wisely and efficiently. Furthermore, having recorded data on expenses assists management in formulating budgets as well as keeping track of where money is being spent.
Claiming travel expenses is done by employees, common expenses include travel costs consisting of food, petrol, tickets and so forth, entertaining a client or buying equipment.
Most will be aware, however, in summary the typical process involved behind managing expenses will being with an employee completing a travel expenses form either paper or electronically accompanies by associated receipts and invoices. An individual at management level will assess the claim as to whether it is a legitimate expenditure. Once approved, the records are handed to the accounts department who manually input the data into a company’s finance system.
In theory, expense management should be an easy process, but in practice things can get quite difficult and inefficient. The aforementioned process is a manual process and for organisations who have a large number of staff or whose staffs’ are out and about frequently, delays in processing the expenses can occur due to high volumes of data. The result of these delays is a lack of visibility and transparency of expenses as well as inability to see company expenditure in real time. Additionally, this causes issues regarding the setting of budgets as budgets are sometimes set after payments have been made. When processing data manually there is always the threat of errors in data input and this is a source of further hindrance for organisations.
Automating travel expense management
Automation of travel expenses, be it from paper records or electronic can help an organisation manage their expenses better due to the following:
– Time savings: Paper expense forms are scanned and the relevant data extracted directly into the companies finance system. This eliminates the need for the accounts department to manually input the data.
– Cost savings: Automating expenses means you can see the where the expenses are being paid out and for what purpose in real time. This means an organisation can manage their expenditure and budget better as well having the ability view of expenditure holistically in the organisation. The result is an organisation has better control.
– Manage centrally: If you’re an organisation with multiple branches, expenses can be handled at individual branch level or at a centralised location such as head office branch.
– Streamlined process: Workflows and business rules ensure expense sign offs and approvals are done in a timely manner and seamlessly without interference, including a combination of paper and electronic records.
Make data actionable
The next step is to use the data in an actionable way. The use of a dashboard can achieve this using its graphical and interactive features. Insights are derived using pattern formulation and form the basis of decision making in areas such as budget. Furthermore, employees can be advised and guided in terms of their expenditure. Overall, a dashboard is a robust means of analysing data at a granular level (or at a larger scale), thus allowing organisations to have a bespoke view of their expenditure.