A closer look at the manual expense process

We now live in age where we have machines to make our coffee, cars that park themselves and even self-lacing shoes! What all of these things have in common is automation. Arguably making life much more convenient and freeing up more time to focus on other important tasks.

While many parts of our lives are enjoying the perks of a digital generation, others are left in manual process mayhem. Namely, the way we do our business expenses. Businesses up and down the country are still drowning in piles of paper receipts and bogged down in endless spreadsheets and tedious manual data entry. These methods are time-consuming in their own right but when every expense claim needs to be manually crosschecked against company policies and HMRC regulations then the process becomes deadly for business efficiency.

So how can a manual process hamper your company?

1. One very likely repercussion of a manual process is frustrated employees.
Your finance team for starters may be considerably over-worked. Trying to juggle a mountain of paperwork and chase up employees who need to submit, approve or give missing expense data can be time-consuming. While your finance team slave over the compiling of this information they neglect more meaningful business tasks.

Not only do your finance team suffer but every employee who submits their expenses becomes frustrated by the process of having to hoard receipts and physically give them to the finance department. All with the added fear that if receipts get lost they may not even get reimbursed! The reimbursement process is also a contentious point, the longer this takes the longer the employee is out of pocket.

2. Lack of compliance and control
Manually crosschecking receipts against claims and making sure expenses stay compliant is not only time-consuming, it is also fraught with errors. As vigilant as your team may be, human error is sometimes unavoidable. Checking correct expense information, double-checking mileage distances, recognising duplicates, the list really is endless and your team cannot possibly detect every error. Unfortunately it is these errors that may be losing your business a lot of money, whether that be through genuine mistakes or even fraudulent claims. This in itself is bad enough but if HMRC start uncovering wrong doings then you might end up with bigger problems!

3. Failure to make any productive insights
Not having your expense information collated on one central platform can make it difficult to gain any constructive insights into spend patterns. Having no clear indication as to how much your business is spending spells out trouble! While spreadsheets can record expense information, they cannot give you a real-time overview of your expenses. As a result, you may be missing the opportunity to identify any areas where spending is too high or any peculiarities in your business’s expense claims.

Unlike self-lacing shoes, employing an expense management software to automate your business expenses is essential. An automated expense solution like ExpenseIn will speed up the reimbursement process. ExpenseIn eliminates the need for spreadsheets and automatically verifies your expenses against automated policies. Errors are flagged upon submission meaning no more rigorous checking for your finance team. Instead they can focus on using powerful reporting tools to make better finance decisions for the future.

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