There’s a lot to gain from updating and automating expense management systems, and not just in the ways you might expect. While employees often complain about time-consuming, outdated processes, many have also inadvertently, or intentionally, submitted some “interesting” personal expenses which those manual systems have failed to flag. By bringing your expense management into the future, you can streamline processes for employees—and ensure reimbursable expenses are accurate and compliant.
Here are three reasons you should update your expense management system to benefit your employees and you:
1. Outdated Systems Take Their Toll
When it comes to expense management, employees have plenty to say about the processes they use. In fact, in a survey of 500 employees with accounts payable responsibilities at small and medium sized companies, here are the results:
What are the top complaints?
- 47% say it’s too time-consuming
- 38% complain it takes too long to receive reimbursements
- 36% think it’s outdated
- 35% worry it wastes too much paper
These complaints are often caused by the outdated systems still used to manage expenses, invoices and receipts. When employees were asked the methods that are currently part of their expense management process:
- 66% said spreadsheets like Excel
- 55% said file cabinets with folders for invoices and receipts
- 43% said handwritten records such as papers, notepads or sticky notes
2. Exaggerated Reports Are More Common Than You Think
It’s easy to complain about the expense management process, but some employees take advantage of it too. In fact, colleagues with AP responsibilities believe that, on average, almost 1 in 5 (18%) of the expenses their coworkers submit are actually personal, non-work related expenses.
When asked to guess the types of reimbursable business expenses that are abused the most:
- 33% said entertaining expenses like restaurants and sporting tickets
- 27% said meals
- 17% said commuting reimbursements like parking and mass transit
- 15% said office supplies
That’s not all. Respondents to the survey reported that colleagues have submitted items which include the following:
- Gettin’ Fancy
- “Cosmetic treatments”
- “Spa treatment”
- “Teeth whitening”
- Family-Friendly Fun
- “Kids’ college tuition payment”
- “Large screen TV that [the employee] said would help him work harder”
- “Part of wedding costs”
3. Future-Proof Your Expense Management
With travel expenses on the rise, it’s more important than ever for companies to make expense management more efficient—and more transparent. 64% of surveyed employees said their company will spend more on travel in 2017, compared to 2016—and expenses are only getting more complex and busy in today’s technological, mobile era.
So how do companies increase efficiency and help prevent expense report errors? The following changes came out on top when employees with AP responsibilities shared what would improve their current system:
- 57%: Technology that allows vendors and employees to monitor expense report status
- 57%: Technology that scans expense reports and automates data entry
- 54%: Integrating expense reporting and invoice management systems
- 40%: Submitting expense reports from mobile devices
Consider Modern Expense Solutions
The benefits of automating expense management systems are two-fold:
- Fewer complaints
- More visibility into expenses
With Concur Expense, you get streamlined processes and full visibility, which is a win for both your bottom line and your employees—even if they can’t get reimbursed for that that large screen TV. Take a look at our infographic to get a clear picture of why improving your expense management is a necessity to make both you and your employees happy, as well as improve your bottom line.