Clunky, error prone spreadsheets, confusing travel policies and slow reimbursements are all major frustrations for your employees when it comes to travel and expense management. Not only are your employees frustrated, your company lacks visibility and insight into dollars spent.
Do you know what can ease your pain and theirs? Expense management software.
So, let’s dive right in and explore some of the top challenges most small businesses have with their travel and expense management and ways to solve them. For example, savvy small and medium business managers are using expense management software to breeze past potential issues and turn them into opportunities to save time and money.
Challenge #1: Lost Receipts
“Where did it go?” “Is it in my stack or yours?” “Can we find a copy somewhere?” “Do you remember ‘about’ how much it was for?”
Lost receipts waste time. They also lead to inaccurate reporting. With expense management software, you’ll never need to worry about lost receipts again.
You can import credit card charges and automatically route them to the appropriate expense report. E-receipts allow you to upload line-item data from airline, hotel and car-rental transactions. Have cash transactions, too? No problem. Simply snap a photo of the receipt and upload it in real time using your mobile device.
With all the time you save, you can finally kick up your feet and relax. And with all those receipts off your desk, you’ll have a clear space to do so.
Challenge #2: Clunky, Error Prone Spreadsheets
If you’re using a spreadsheet for expense management, you’re also doing unnecessary manual work. And if your spreadsheet does not contain errors, the manual translation may.
Professor Raymond R. Panko, spreadsheet expert from the University of Hawaii has written, “Every study that has attempted to measure errors [in spreadsheet development], without exception, has found them at rates that would be unacceptable in any organization.”
Expense management software eliminates the need for spreadsheets. Enter data once – if it’s not already automatically uploaded – and you’re done.
With spreadsheets you only have data.
With software you have detailed information and intuition. You can setup rules, limits and automatic reminders to eliminate pesky recurring tasks. All of which help make it easier to not only create your expenses reports, but analyze your spend data.
Challenge #3: Determining Out of Policy Spend
Your employees don’t intend to go out of your travel and expense policy. But sometimes your policy is overly long or complicated or full of confusing twists that are only too easy to unintentionally ignore.
For example, an employee may try to save company money by booking a hotel with a reduced rate. However, if the hotel is outside of a company’s preferred provider list, then they have violated policy and their report will not be approved.
Expense management software can easily set caps and restrictions to alert employees when they unintentionally go out of policy before they have even submitted their report, making it easier for both the employee and your accounting department to manage spend.
Challenge #4: Late Expense Report Submissions
You get a large-summed expense report from seven months ago. But, you closed the books on the fiscal year two months ago. Even worse, some of the expenses need to be charged back to customers, who usually don’t like being surprised by late invoices.
What a headache.
Instead, create time limits in your expense management software with automatic reminders, like email notifications, to ensure compliance. If there’s no way around late expenses, use the stored historic data in your software to determine how much money you should allocate to a reserve account for outstanding expenses.
Challenge #5: No Visibility into How and Why Dollars Are Spent
Your travel and expense budget is through the roof, but there is nothing you can do short of banning travel, right?
Wrong! Expense management software provides you visibility into exactly where and how your dollars are being spent. You can’t optimize your spend if you can’t see it.
For example, you can see a huge percentage of your spend goes to last minute plane tickets — where the rates are increasingly higher than if the same ticket was booked at an earlier date. Then, work with your team to book earlier.
A large chunk of money is going towards hotel stays. Look at which hotel your employees are most often booking at, and call them to negotiate a better rate. Check out Concur’s Expense IQ reports to see what other businesses are spending on their travel and expense.
Better insight can help you negotiate with vendors, amend your travel policy and work with your employees in order to save money and gain efficiencies.