The business benefits of digital expense reporting

How do you control company costs when you have so little accurate information about them? This has been one of the main barriers preventing businesses from properly managing employee expenses. With outdated systems and paper-based processes unable to provide accurate data, companies have found themselves dangerously vulnerable to inefficiency, compliance breaches, and workplace fraud. It’s why digital reporting tools have become such a vital component of any effective expense management system, giving finance teams powerful new ways to manage and manipulate expense data. This guide shows you how.

The hidden challenge of expense fraud

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.

In this white paper, we will discuss the challenges of expense fraud and how proper expense management software can prevent it from happening, including:

  • How expense reporting software works
  • Benefits of expense reporting software
  • Effectiveness of expense reporting software

How expense software 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 synchronisation or control of information.

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 keeps track of includes:

  • What’s being claimed - category, currency
  • Who’s claiming - name, position, etc
  • When and where the claim is made; cost center 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 best of benefits expense reporting

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 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 have 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.

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.

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 weaknesses, and set quantifiable targets. It can highlight areas of an organization with the highest spending and reveal patterns suggestive of fraudulent activities.

Better expense management, better business

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 set-up 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 digital data providing the visibility required to guide growth.

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