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Minimizing the Effects of ‘Murphy’s Law’ of Expense Management

Minimizing the Effects of ‘Murphy’s Law’ of Expense Management

You’ve probably heard the statement, “Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.” Discussed in everything from sports to product availability to love, Murphy’s Law is alive and well. But how does this translate to expense management? Simple.

“If the receipt is important, the business traveler will inevitably lose it.”

“If it’s ‘Expense Monday,’ the most well-traveled business traveler will have a year’s worth of receipts waiting for you.”

“If a spreadsheet exists, there will be a miscalculation somewhere in the process”

We could go on (and on), but the point of this exercise is as such: Whatever can go wrong will.

So what can you do to minimize the potential of these happening? Three things: Simplification, Integration, and Visibility.


The easiest way for a business traveler to avoid losing a receipt is to minimize the time he or she has with said receipt. Easier said than done. This leads to some form of organization strategy that ranges from “color-coded expense binder” to “Ziploc® Bag” to “Costanza Wallet.”

But why wait until the end of the trip to submit an expense report, taking all of the time to write down a paper report, wait for finance to approve and finally get reimbursed sometime within the next two to three weeks?

Why not use something easier? What if you could take a picture of your receipt within five minutes of receiving it, autopopulating expense report line items and submitting for approval?

Snap, dispose, get reimbursed. It’s that simple.

For finance, it’s just as easy. The person in charge of approving reports receives an expense report within minutes and can approve or deny requests much more quickly. You ensure compliance to policy, and get to avoid hunting down travelers who haven’t submitted expense reports.

Learn how easy it is, and how you can love business travel again.


It’s nearing the end of the year, and expense reports will be flying in. This leads to the reception, approval, and transfer to finance. This three-step process, when manual, means that there are three separate points for a misplaced decimal, a corrupted Excel file, or misconfigured data.

To avoid this case of “whatever can go wrong, will,” the easiest step is to minimize the amount of potential occurrences of error. The best way to do this is to automatically go from approval to finance—no downloading and manipulating files, no modifications, and a much lower potential for error.

Learn how easy it is to automatically map an approved expense report directly to finance, saving time, money, and potential for error:


T&E costs are the second most difficult operating expense line item for businesses to control. From noncompliance to lack of transparency, organizations end up overspending without even knowing it.

Things contributing to this? According to Forrester Research, the following three situations pose a detriment to visibility:

  1. Internal resources are forced to take a reactive approach to T&E management: Manual Entry, Lack of Real-time insight, and lack of technology are slowing companies down; preventing companies from being proactive.
  2. A Lack of Transparency Causes Lack of Control: When data from corporate cards, expense reports, travel systems, HR and supplier invoices come from different sources, they are not part of a consolidated system that records or triggers T&E costs.
  3. Manual processes do not contribute to policy compliance: Spreadsheets and most custom expense systems put the onus on those who work in finance, HR and travel to enforce policy compliance. Because there’s not a system in place to prevent users from performing out-of-compliance activities, almost all policy enforcement is done on a reactive basis, after it’s too late.

With outdated, slow-moving software, organizations find themselves trapped with no control over spend and erroneous processes. Learn more by downloading the report, “The Power of Real Time Insight” from Forrester.

Learn More: Simplification, Integration, Visibility

Brittenford Systems has been providing Concur Travel and Expense Management as well as Financial Management solutions from both Microsoft Dynamics GP and Intacct. Learn more about how you canlove business travel more with Concur, and how we can help you find the software that fits your business needs.


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