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The Business Benefits of Digital Expense Reporting

Smarter Reporting, Better Visibility

How can you manage something that you can’t see? This has been one of the fundamental challenges that businesses have faced when it comes to keeping control of employee expenses. It’s a problem that has been caused by the paper-based and manual ways traditionally used to manage the reimbursement of travel and entertainment costs. It makes collating any kind of expense information a slow and error-prone task.

It means organizations are only able to access the most basic data. The lack of visibility creates a murky area of company finances where errors, inefficiency and fraud are able to remain undetected.

It’s estimated that a business typically loses five percent of their annual revenue to workplace fraud: That equates to global losses of $2.9 trillion each year. This is a problem which we now have the ability to tackle.

A better way to manage expenses

The emergence of digital systems and automated processes has revolutionized the way finance teams are able to monitor these costs. A digital setup generates real-time data on every aspect of employee reimbursements. It means the challenge is no longer about collecting information – it’s managing it.

This is why reporting tools are becoming such an integral part of any effective expense management setup. A system such as webexpenses allows tasks that would normally take hours to manually collate, to be created in seconds. The benefits go beyond speed and efficiency; effective reporting provides the kind of 360 degree vision of costs that has not previously been possible. It shines a light on those areas of company finances that, for too long, have existed in the shadows.

The purpose of this guide is look at how digital expense reporting works and practical ways it can deliver business benefits to your company.

How digital expense reporting works

What has made information so tricky to handle with manual expense systems is fragmentation. The use of paperwork and Excel spreadsheets leaves organizations with no central synchronization or control of information. The need to keep manually transferring expense details between storage points leads to data entry errors, the duplication of datasets and ongoing confusion over which documents have been validated.

A digital system removes these inefficiencies by automating the whole process. From the moment a claim is made, the system begins storing data on each step of the process. The information it keeps track of includes:

  • What’s being claimed – category, currency
  • Who’s claiming – name, position etc.
  • When and where the claim is made – cost centre ID/code
  • Digital copy of supporting docs – receipts/bills etc.
  • Details of who checks/approves/rejects and when

The reporting tools provide a simple and user-friendly way to collate and manipulate this data, providing advanced level functionality. It allows the system to handle most reporting tasks without the need to export any data into external packages. The features provided by the webexpenses reporting suite include:

Business Expense Templates

Users are provided with an extensive library of preconfigured templates from which to choose. The templates cover all of the most common reporting tasks that a business is likely to require. The options include:

  • Expense Claims/Expense Reports
  • General Ledger
  • Detailed Ledger
  • Benefits
  • Receipts Status
  • Tax Rate
  • Mileage Rate

With the setup already done, it allows reports to be collated within a matter of seconds. All of the data is easily changed to create different groupings, to change the order of any columns/rows or to add/remove datasets.

Custom reporting templates

If there isn’t a template to meet a specific need – you can easily create one for yourself. Just about every aspect of reporting can be configured, allowing access to any combination of the wide range of available datasets. Existing templates can also be adapted with customization options including the exact terminology and naming conventions used in each report. Once a template has been created, it’s able to be saved and made accessible to everyone within the finance team.

Claims duplication analysis

With all of the information centrally controlled and synchronized, the system allows you to check to make sure any claims are not duplicated elsewhere. When it finds two data sets which appear similar, it gives the option of whether to keep them separate or merge them together. It’s a quick and easy way to guard against the errors and confusions that can be caused by undetected duplicates.

Integrated financial systems

While the reporting tools can handle most tasks, the system is also designed to allow any information collected to be seamlessly shared with external packages. Any of the reports collated inside webexpenses can be exported as a PDF document or saved in Excel or CSV formats. This allows the information to be shared with any external accountancy or spreadsheet package, allowing visual displays of data to be easily created.

Real-time spend visibility

The cloud storage of data allows any updates or additions made to expense information to be instantly accessed via the reporting suite. With manual systems and long processing times, data is typically weeks or even months out-of-date. The ability to access real-time information gives finance managers the ability to identify and address issues early, before they’re allowed to turn into resource sapping problems.

Maximizing benefits of digitizing business financials

The ability to easily access and manage information is something that’s become essential in today’s digital business environment. Companies who harness the benefits of digital data give themselves a competitive advantage over those who remain in the dark. Here’s a look at some of the practical benefits that can be achieved through effective expense reporting:

Policing employee expenses

Employee expenses have historically posed such a fraud risk because of the difficulties in properly monitoring costs. The time and resources required to collate information with paper-based systems has created a dangerously unmonitored area of company finances. With digital systems and reporting tools, finance teams now have the ability to shine a light on all expense areas. They are able to dig into activities at any level – from departments to individuals. It allows suspicious patterns to be identified and fraudulent actions to be rooted out. In doing so, it removes the smokescreen behind which fraud has been allowed to grow.

Company policy compliance

Providing fast and accurate information on employee expenses is essential when dealing with the tax authorities. There’s nothing more likely to trigger suspicion than late or incomplete submissions.

With effective reporting tools, all of the information a finance team needs is instantly available with a data trail to prove that all proper compliance procedures have been followed. It helps to guard against the risks posed by triggering a tax audit or investigation as well as providing the tools needed to best cope with either of those circumstances.

Financial business analytics

The ability to track performance and efficiency within a company is something that used to be prohibitively difficult for all but the biggest of organizations. Digital systems help to level this playing field and provide businesses of all scales with the ability to benefit from analytics. This allows the data collected to monitor performance, identify weakness and set quantifiable targets. It can highlight areas of an organization with the highest spend and reveal patterns suggestive of fraudulent behavior.

Focus on better fiscal business practices

With effective use, digital expense reporting can transform the way an organization is able to manage and monitor employee spending costs. It provides finance professionals with the ability to view the precise mechanics of an expense setup in ways that just aren’t possible with a paper-based system.

It provides a powerful ally in the fight against workplace fraud and helps to protect companies from the risks posed by non-compliance. It also shows the way forward a better way to manage with digital data providing the visibility required to guide growth.

About webexpenses

From day one, webexpenses has only had one objective – to make expenses something you effortlessly control; not a costly drudge your organization battles against. It’s an approach which has fuelled webexpenses’ growth over the past decade; it’s now the tried and tested solution for hundreds of clients throughout the world, from small organizations to large multinational corporations.

By giving organizations the tools they need to control expenditures, webexpenses clients are able to increase efficiency, stabilize T&E spending and reduce operational costs; providing a speedy return on investment. The foundation of webexpenses’ success is our powerful and robust software. But at the heart of the company lies a commitment to exceed expectations – to go that bit further to ensure our clients’ needs are met.

Each and every one of our clients, no matter how large or small the organization, is given the same level of personal service from our client support team. This commitment has allowed webexpenses to record some of the industry’s highest ratings for customer support and a 97% client retention rate over the past five years.

For more information, custom quote, or to book a demo, contact us today. To download the PDF of this white paper, fill out the form below.

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