There are still some advantages to doing things “the old fashioned way,” especially when it comes to the storage of information. An archive of documents can be viewed at any time, provided you have enough light to read. A file doesn’t require an electrical outlet, or a battery recharge, and reading a normal business document doesn’t demand Internet access.
But there are three things that old fashioned physical documentation and storage can’t do very well. Making physical documents is time consuming, storing them takes up a lot of space, and, unless you are creating documents the size of a billboard or spending time to create multiple copies, only one person at a time can view the content. If you need to change a physical document, this means either making a new one from scratch that accommodates the changes, or making time-consuming alterations to the existing document to get those new changes in.
In other words, physical documents, while hardy in some respects, are very inefficient in others. This is why automation has always been an important part of business, and in the 21st century, when time is of the essence, it matters more than ever. Even in something as innocuous as expense reporting.
Let The Computer Do The Work
With automated expense report software, the computer, and the online database that software is connected to, act as the document maker, document maintainer and even the archive for storing the information itself. Forms don’t have to be printed or made, they already exist in the software. Putting in the relevant information is as simple as entering data into a few requested windows, or simply taking a picture of a receipt as physical evidence.
All of these tasks do away with the more time-consuming, laborious aspects of maintaining accurate expense report records, because they reduce the time required to mechanically enter, preserve and even retrieve data, and put the burden of the work on the computer itself. By making it easier and more convenient to enter data, more accurate data can be contributed and it can be more efficiently viewed, processed and approved. What used to take hours can now take minutes because of the accessibility of digital information, and the ability to report expenses as the happen, rather than at the end of a business trip.
There’s still a place for physical archives and records, especially where questions of non-electronic access arise. But the efficiency and convenience of systems like expense report software can have a significant impact on how smoothly a business operates, especially with a lot of travel expenses.