The traditional method of filing an expense report goes something like this; people go on a business trip, make their expenditures, attempt to collect receipts, try to make sure those receipts are stored away at the end of the day, and then continue this for the duration of a business trip. When the trip is over, those same receipts are taken out, used in the filing of a final expense report, and then stapled or photocopied as some kind of attached, verifiable proof that the claimed expenses actually took place.
This is the ideal, theoretical path that old fashioned paper-based expense report is based on.
The reality is closer to something like a rush of activity during the business trip itself often makes it easy to one, two, or even several of those tiny slips of paper to get lost. There’s a rush to wrap up a business meeting at a restaurant, and they can slip out of a wallet during the drinks that happen afterwards, or simply not all get collected and packed when it’s time to return.
Because of this, statistics show that in 2015, the #1 complaint that most businesses have when it comes to employee expenses for travel and/or entertainment is that receipts get lost.
A Tedious Necessity
It’s easy to see why this happens, however. A receipt is a small document, and, when gathered together with many other receipts acquired over the course of an entire business trip, it is very easy, without meticulous accounting methods, to simply lose track of a piece of paper, or two or four. And while the majority of expenses during a business trip may be accounted for, missing receipts mean incomplete expense report files at best and, at worst, expenses that an employee may have to bear from his or her own pocket, depending on company policy.
Switching over to automated expense report software like ExpensePoint dramatically lowers this risk of inaccuracy. A receipt imaging system allows employees to use their phone or tablet to take a quick photo of a receipt as they file an expense report, so they don’t have to keep every single receipt and ensure they are all reproduced or stapled and submitted for a final expense report after a trip is over.
By reducing how many receipts are lost—by simply not requiring actual receipts any longer—expense reports can be much more accurate and kept up to date during the course of a business trip itself. This means employees don’t have to worry about financial housekeeping at the end of the trip, accounting department can keep accurate records for proper tracking and reimbursement.