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How Much Did That Expense Report Cost? More than You’d Think

How Much Did That Expense Report Cost? More than You’d Think

In the United States, December is among the busiest times of the year when it comes to expense reports, and accountants and finance departments can expect an unusually high amount of expense reports being filed before business travelers take the end-of-year holidays off and you close out (often) the final quarter of the year.

Related: Busiest Expense Days Around the World Infographic (Concur Blog)

But considering the volume of claims you can expect in the next month, how many will be completed inaccurately? How long will it take you to correct the errors? How much will it cost? New research from the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) and the Hotel Reservation Service (HRS) answered just how painful expense reporting is for organizations.

How Much Did That Cost?

For instance, it takes twenty minutes and $58 to complete and process one expense report for a single-night hotel stay.

This may seem high, but it gets worse. Nearly one out of five (19%) reports has some kind of error—leading to another eighteen minutes and $52 to correct it.

Essentially, 19% of your expense reports cost almost as much as the average price of a hotel room in the US ($141, according to Hotel Price Index). Translating this to the average amount of expense reports filed by a company (51,000), organizations spend approximately half a million dollars and nearly 3,000 hours correcting errors in expense reports annually.

Of course, this differs by company size and annual travel and expense spend, as shown in the image below:

Expense Reporting Cost by Company Size

Five Biggest Pains in Expense Management, Review, and Auditing

So here are the five biggest expense review pains in auditing expense reports, according to Concur clients:

  • Time Pressure– even though the C suite will tell you they have people looking at those expense reports, someone at a high level is painfully aware of the amount of time double-checking those reports is taking at least one employee, and is wondering what the organization can do to save that time and get more productive.
  • Bad Cop – is what hardly anyone wants to be, yet the person who ends up auditing the expense reports has to call or walk over to the desk of the errant user and tell them what they did wrong. A genuine solution would automatically follow up with a user who submitted a suspect expense, de-fusing personal issues.
  • Unclear Policy –When the policy is unclear, because it’s non-existent, badly written, or hard to find, it cuts across all levels of expense reporting. If people don’t know what’s permissible, the same errors will show up over and over again, costing time and money, assuming they’re caught at all. And the only way travelers are learning what not to do is when they get their hand slapped for a mistake – about the least efficient kind of training there is.
  • Scalability– Simply stated, how do you scale an organization if you’re drowning in expense processing?  Even if the perception is that “we don’t have a problem” that assumes everyone’s going to be in the office and sharp all the time, without vacations, sick days or rush times of the year. Here’s another example: if there’s one person who reviews the majority of expense reports, and the number of employees who submit reports grows with the business, at some point, you’ll have to add another reviewer just to keep up. And what happens if one of those reviewers leaves the company?
  • Missing the vision– you didn’t get into this business (whatever it is) to audit expense reports. If people are buried in piles of receipts, how can they focus on what matters most?  Organizations overwhelmed by audit tasks can’t lift their heads high enough to see the big picture, and in the meantime, opportunities for growth slip away.

The Fix? Automation, Simplicity, and Visibility

From the traveler to the accounting department, cutting the time it takes to file, approve, and reimburse the traveler can be simplified.

With mobile expense reporting from Concur, travelers can snap a receipt with a phone and have it submitted—accurately—to accounting, who can in turn approve or deny the request.

Learn more about Concur here. See how Brittenford can help you take the time and money savings even further by automating the connection to your ERP software with ExpenseConnect for Intacct or ExpenseConnect for Microsoft Dynamics GP.

Travel Expense Management and Accounting Integration Infographic and Resources

Learn how you can take your savings gained by using Concur Expense further by integrating it with your choice of accounting software—Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, or Intacct. The following Infographic shows you just how much this simple integration can benefit your business.

Connecting your travel and expense data can reap significant rewards. At this informative overview session, you’ll discover:

  • Why bringing clarity to your business spend can help you make great decisions
    • How you can connect people, systems and processes
    • Why automation is just the beginning

Click Here to Register.


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