In today’s business environment, the manual process of creating and processing expense reports is quickly becoming a thing of the past. According to CFO Research Services, about 63% of CFOs plan to implement digital expense reporting solutions. A growing part of that is mobile expense reporting. Mobile expense reporting essentially automates the entire process from expense capture to expense approval.
This means smartphone-equipped travelers now have the option to, say, take pictures of receipts and save copies via the cloud. Here is a breakdown of just a few of the other benefits.
Manual expense entry leaves room for human error. One study revealed that between 63% and 95% of employee travel expenses are purchased from a credit card. That means having an automatic import of corporate credit card charges for travel reduces the chance of human error for a sizable percentage of travel purchases. Plus, it saves your employees endless hours of manual data entry.
Some expense report applications will flag a company expense violation and send out an alert. This ensures that employees are aware of any violation at the time of submission. It also puts the responsibility on the employee to follow the company rules. If a submission is not corrected, each person in the workflow will have a clear view of the expense policy violation and can take action to correct them.
Automated expense management speeds up the turnaround of expense reconciliation by decreasing manual processes such as data entry in accounts payable. It also saves time because auditors don’t have to review hard-to-read paper-based reports. Employees can be reimbursed more quickly for any out-of-pocket expenses charged to their credit card — even if they are still traveling — because these expenses can be instantly submitted for approval via their smartphone.
Companies need to constantly analyze their travel and entertainment (T&E) spending for additional cost savings. Mobile expense applications allow T&E data to be aggregated so that spending by projects, customers, employees/departments, is visible and can be used to negotiate better discounts with vendors.
Cloud ERP vendors such as Netsuite, Intacct, and QuickBooks provide APIs for real-time data exchange. Once an expense report is approved, it is recorded to the financial system. These records are used to create invoices for billable expenses, to reimburse an employee for personal expenses, or to track corporate card spending for reconciliation. The real-time data exchange eliminates human errors and streamlines any reimbursement process.
The IRS accepts digital receipts submitted online for both individuals and businesses if the expense management system used to transmit them follows certain requirements. To simplify matters — and save on storage costs — you can even destroy your hard-copy records as long as they have been digitally stored according to IRS guidelines.
Employees that travel can use their smartphone camera to capture digital photos of their receipts as expenses occur. Mobile expense apps also allow for the capture of mileage, time, cash expenditures, or edit existing expenses coming from a credit card. Managers can process expense report approvals directly without having to be back in the office.
Most businesses today have already bought into the tremendous benefits of cloud computing. With millions of smartphones being used in our global workforce, these same cloud computing benefits easily extend to mobile devices, including tablets. In the next five years, we will see amazing technological strides in the way we conduct business from a mobile phone.