Automated Expense Reporting: Which App is Best?
Expense reports make everyone's lives difficult. Nobody looks forward to filling them out at the end of the month. Employees must find receipts for their expenses and check credit card bills to ensure they haven't overlooked anything. The firm's finance department must manually enter the expenses in a spreadsheet. The entire process is time-consuming and inefficient. It can be fraught with errors, and there is room for dishonest employees to attempt to defraud the company in several ways. Is there a better way to manage the expense report-approved process? Automated expense reporting. Digital tools can make operating expense reports run much more smoothly and efficiently, saving your business time and money.
What is Automated Expense Reporting?
Automated expense reporting allows you to get rid of the most challenging parts of processing expense reports. It replaces the paper or Excel spreadsheet claims with an expense reporting app that guides the employee through each claim.
Good automated expense reporting follows the same basic steps:
- The employee pays for the business expense out of pocket.
- The employee logs the expense in their digital automation tool. A mobile app is the best choice since the employee will always have it at hand.
- They take a photo of the receipt and attach it to the logged expense within the app. The employee looks at the expense to confirm the details and submits their claim.
- The manager receives a notification of the employee's claim and has the option to either approve or deny it.
- The manager approves the expense and sends it to the firm's financial controller. The controller checks the details to ensure everything looks proper and matches the receipt. If so, they process the expense with a mouse click. The controller may approve the expenditure straight away, or they may prefer to approve expenses in batches.
- All processed claims go to the firm's accounting department. The automated software forwards the reimbursement directly to the employee's bank account.
The entire system is straightforward. Finance department employees don't have to perform any data entry. The expense report approved process ensures no employee overspends and minimizes errors.
Benefits of Automated Expense Reporting
Automating your business expenses gives your company several benefits, including the following:
- Fewer errors.
According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), approximately one in five expense reports contains an error, and it takes an average of 18 minutes to correct each one. Each expense report takes about 20 minutes to file. If every fifth expense report takes twice as long to process, then the finance department's staff get bogged down trying to file expenses at the month-end.
Automated expense tools reduce errors from the outset by walking employees through completing their reports step-by-step. They also protect the company from dishonest employees who may be attempting to defraud their employer.
- Simplifies your procedures.
Automation means fewer steps and fewer opportunities for human intervention. As a result, the entire process flows faster and easier.
- More flexibility.
Most automated expense software is offered in SaaS (Software as a Service) mode. It is completely online, which means that users can access it from anywhere with an internet connection.
- Quicker to file.
Even if all the expense reports are correct, it still takes too long to submit them manually. Employees must find the expense report template, fill it in with their identification details, and locate their receipts. The employee must confirm the details and determine where to submit their expense report. It's a time-consuming process for them to receive reimbursement.
With an automated approval policy, the employee can expense each item immediately, and no further action is required.
- Processing expenses is more efficient.
The finance department has a crunch close to the month-end trying to process all the expenses. It needs to close the firm's books for the month and ensure there are no errors.
Automation means there are no piles of paper records for entering into the company's computer system. The lack of paper records saves time, eliminates duplication of work, and reduces errors. All employees' claims are already in the computer system, ready for approval.
- Automation works in real-time.
Chief financial officers (CFOs) can obtain the visibility over company spending they need to be most effective at work. Many companies struggle with the problem of a gap between employees paying out their funds for business and charging the company for them. The CFO can't track the spending until the employee submits their expense report claim.
Automation tools allow employees to submit claims in real-time, which means the finance department can track spending more closely. Budgeting and forecasting for the next quarter (or the following year) are much more manageable.
What to Look for in an Automated Expense Reporting App
Which features are most important if you want to add automated expense reporting to your company?
- Simple to Set Up
The expense management software you choose should be simple and easy for your team to use. If you need to designate someone in your firm to manage your expense software full-time, then you may want to consider other options.
- Multiple Permission Options
The best option is to have a single account holder for the expense management software. In many cases, this is your CFO or the financial controller. The company managers can approve their team members' spending. Managers also set up permissions for employees who can make payments and request business expense reimbursements.
- Built-in Approvals
A manager should approve each expense as part of the automatic workflow process. No one in the finances department should have to follow up with managers about individual expenses to request approval.
As your business grows, your automated expense reporting software should be able to keep up. Look for a solution that allows you to add new users quickly. It should also be easy to remove users as employees leave or retire.
- Integrates with your Accounting Software
Your company won't be more efficient if your team has to copy and paste numbers into your accounting software. The expense software solution you choose should integrate seamlessly into the other platforms you are currently running.
The Best Automated Expense Reporting Apps
There are several options on the market. Consider the following automated expense reporting apps when making your decision:
ONexpense is a mobile application for managing expense reports that is very easy to use. Take a photo of the receipt for the business expense. It is then recorded and filed in the software. The application can recognize the type of expense from "reading" the receipt.
The business expenses are compiled in a digital file (Excel, PDF) and sent to the company finance department. Be warned that several users have complained about problems with this application.
iZyFresh is a fully online platform that records expenses according to the photos of employees' receipts. The software exports them to accounting software, which is a convenient option. However, this app's features may only be suited to large companies.
Expensify is expense report management software that will manage your expense receipts. Other features include boarding delay notifications, flight notifications, and automatic tracking via GPS for mileage cost calculations.
This option is worth considering for companies with sales reps who have to travel regularly or regularly fly for business.
N2F is an app for companies with employees who travel internationally for business. N2F includes 11 languages, automatic conversion into 170 currencies, and an offline mode.
N2F users can record the time spent with customers. They can generate an invoice on the spot for a customer's signature.
- Fred from accounting
Fred from accounting is a web platform linked to a mobile application. Expense reports are captured with a photograph and processed automatically.
This app is promising. However, some users report issues with bugs in the software and malfunctions leading to devastating consequences.
Evoliz is an app that allows users to photograph expense reports and supplier invoices. It also allows companies to create recurring purchases and classify purchases for their various business expenses. This expense report app is only for small businesses.
Rydoo automatically identifies duplicates among expense receipts. This option validates expenses in real-time and sorts your expense management policy according to different branches and subsidiaries.
Would you like to manage your expense reports in real-time? Use the app to photograph receipts and digitize them.
In all fairness, the data in the photos is not always entirely recognized by the software. Staff may need to enter the data manually, which means there may not be a significant time-saving.
Mooncard offers a corporate card for business expenses. The software immediately records all transactions. All expense reports are pre-filled; the manager just needs to approve them.
The employee pays directly with the Mooncard credit card, and the expense is recorded in real-time. Expense reports are generated automatically from these expenses.
Receipts are generated into the expenses automatically, and the employee doesn't need to worry about lost or misplaced receipts. The person responsible for managing the expense reports receives all the information they need about each business expense the employees incur: the type of expense, the vendor, names of guests, and the amount of VAT provided.
Would you like to learn more about Mooncard? Click here to book your online demo.