Business expense management platforms can automate tedious tasks

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Expense management is a hassle for any business. An app for tracking expenses and creating smart receipts doesn’t sound revolutionary, but it can transform your entire business. Manually collecting receipts and paperwork (especially while on the road) is a major pain point, and automating this process reduces errors while making everyone work more efficiently.

But what exactly does an expense management app automate, and what’s the best app for tracking expenses?

That’s what we’ll tackle in this blog. Let’s get started with your current manual process.

The stone age of accounting

By now, most companies have long migrated to automated accounting platforms like Quickbooks, Netsuite, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage, Deltek or Accumatica. That’s because they understand how overly complicated the manual process of payroll, general ledger coding, and other related activities can be. However, travel and expense reporting lags behind in many organizations still today.

Remote workers manually track travel expenses through receipts on the road. Administrators manually track spending after the fact, never knowing until it’s too late whether or not budgets were kept. Stacks of paperwork physically stack up on desks until everyone is literally buried under them. If you think email has elevated the workflow process, wait until you see what webexpenses provides for workflow and visibility.

With so many other accounting tasks automated, it’s necessary for a business expense tracking software to easily fit into existing accounting platforms. This is how automation is achieved, and the best app for tracking expenses and receipts is webexpenses. Although it offers a free demo to walk you through the nuts and bolts, allow us to highlight some of its technology and uses.

Automating with a smart receipts app

Webexpenses is a full suite of tools that can be easily customized to any organization, regardless of size. It not only acts as free expense report software but also includes the best expense management solutions to ensure that your company is on top of travel expenses.

The mobile app includes an OCR (optical character recognition) program that’s powered by top-of-the-line technology. Scan a receipt for Trader Joe’s, for example, and it connects to Google technology to read the receipt in seconds. We do not use call centers.

Most basic OCR programs can barely get the characters right, so this extra feature is really noticeable. In addition to grabbing the list of purchased items and the total, it can determine payment methods, and even work out handwritten tips. This extracted information can then be audited in real-time to ensure accuracy and the amount is reimbursed to the employee much quicker.

A simple color-coded area shows both sides in the process that an expense report is sitting, and it’s easy to connect the information to accounting apps like Quickbooks to fully automate the process. No longer will the CFO face a mounting pile of paper approvals on his or her desk every morning.

The impact of an expense management software

Believe it or not, a recent webexpenses survey conducted last year found that only 35 percent of office workers submit their expense claims for their current job via an online system. Those performing this manually spent 50 minutes on average sorting and submitting their expense claims per month.

Small businesses hold on to outdated techniques longer, and integrations of credit card feeds, A/P, workforce management, CRM, and ERP platforms will soon show respectable returns for companies early to implement them. How are you going to get ahead of the competition?

The average cost to produce an expense report is lost to 48 percent of companies, and almost 50 percent of companies that do track it say these costs are $10 or more per report. And, although 85 percent of companies have a travel policy in place, only 26 percent have an automatic system flag policy violations.

The entire system is too complicated and filled with too many errors. That’s why an automated expense management platform makes sense for small businesses.

Key pain points in manual tracking

The biggest pain point in expense management is tracking and archiving the receipt of the purchase. Receipts are often destroyed just by sitting on a car’s dashboard in the sun for too long due to thermal printing. Even if taken care of well, a paper receipt may not last until the end of the month, especially if all you have is the carbon copy to start.

Lost receipts can also occur after the employee has turned them in. Resolving this issue alone is enough to reign in some companies, and taking a photo to store them in a cloud-based OCR platform is a great place to start.

In addition, your company may one day be audited, and when the IRS does this, they can request detailed documentation for as far back as 10 years. Imagine trying to find the receipt for a doughnut you ate on a trip to a convention in Chicago back in 2009. Can you remember anything you were doing back then?

Smart receipts make small businesses smile

If your business pays for the expenses incurred during any type of official travel, whether in-town or internationally, you need to track those expenses. Once company cards are issued, it can still be a pain to track down those receipts, but when an employee pays out of pocket for something business-related, he or she expects to be paid back in full on schedule.

Falling behind on bills with your own employees can be fatal for some businesses and will definitely test your team’s unity. Your employees should be able to trust that you're paying them back instead of losing a day of productivity worrying about it.

Accounting and human resources are the unspoken heroes of businesses. Focusing on optimizing these processes show the best long-term returns in terms of employee, client, and vendor happiness, as well as profitability.

Implementing a business expense management solution is a winning idea that will change the way you do business.