Manually managing and handling expense reports takes a lot of work. For businesses that require employees to travel, expense reports are simply a part of doing business, and it’s important to get everything done correctly and in a timely fashion. Without automated expense reporting, this means having reports travel through several channels before reimbursement is provided to employees. As reports go through these channels, employees are forced to wait and valuable time is lost on reports that could be spent on meeting or completing other accounting goals. Manual reporting not only takes up time, but resources as well, and breaking down the costs involved is important to any company’s bottom line.
According to research done by the Aberdeen Group, manually processing one single expense report will cost a company a little over $20. At $20.65, to be exact, processing 5 expense reports puts the company out over $100, 10 moves that number to over $200, and so on. Over the course of a month, thousands of dollars could be spent manually processing reports, and this only counts for the process, with none of the expenses included. So, what can be done about these costs? Automation brings down these numbers significantly.
Where is this money spent? The answer will vary depending on the business. Some companies will spend less than the average $20.65, others will spend more, and it really rests heavily on how the expense reporting process is handled. Generally the process goes as follows:
- Employee creates expense report and files it to the approver.
- The approver reviews the expense report or expense reports and passes them along to the accounting department.
- The accounting department reviews the expense report or reports during the processing and auditing phase, then reviews the reports again against company policies.
- If any problems occur within the reports, they will then be returned to the employee so corrections can be made or necessary receipts can be provided.
- If the reports check out, they will then be passed along to accounts payable for final reimbursement.
What automated reporting does is cut down on the general steps involved with processing expense reports manually, and therefore cuts down on the expense as well. Everything from the creation to the approval process can be automated and integrated, freeing up other departments and employees to work on other projects, and allowing employees to be reimbursed in a timely and accurate fashion.