Expense Management Automation: A Complete Guide for 2022-2023

Wondering what expense management automation is? Here's a complete guide to help you understand the crux of it and how it is beneficial.

Introduction

Everyone has experienced the pain of manually compiling expense reports. Expense management is critical to financing operations and accounting departments in all organizations worldwide. In today's business world, organizations must operate efficiently with minimal errors. Manual expense reports can be time-consuming and prone to errors, whereas automated solutions are easily deployable with minimal disruption to daily operations or employee workflow.

What Is Meant by Expense Management?

Expense management is the process of managing all the expenses and costs incurred by a business entity, especially to minimize or eliminate unnecessary expenses. It is usually performed after an expense has been incurred, but sometimes it can be done before incurring any expense. The main objective of expensing is cost savings for organizations and businesses that may include cash-flow smoothing, improved profitability through better budgeting decisions, and reduced tax liability on profits from investments made on behalf of shareholders.

In today's world, where sales have become increasingly competitive, organizations have no option other than to cut their operational costs while maintaining or improving product quality levels simultaneously. A successful organization needs to be efficient in using its resources to achieve maximum productivity; therefore, it must focus on reducing expenses without compromising productivity levels.

Why Is Expense Management Required?

Expense management is a necessity in today's business world, as it has the potential to:

Control Expenses: Expenses can be controlled through proper expenditure and budgeting processes, ensuring that your company spends money only on what is necessary.

Improve Employee Productivity: By reducing travel costs and improving employee satisfaction, employees will be able to focus more on their jobs rather than worrying about how they will pay for their daily needs while away from home or working out of office hours. It means that they are more likely to return from their trips with better results than before--boosting revenue potential in the long run.

Reduce Travel Costs: Travel and expense automation processes help reduce travel costs by using video conferencing tools instead of sending people around to attend meetings and discussions. Thus, T&E automation processes help reduce unnecessary travel expenses.

Issues Faced With Manual Expense Report Processes

Manual expense report processes are time-consuming and prone to errors. Besides being time-consuming, manual processes are also prone to fraud and inaccuracies. In the past, companies have relied on manual expense report processes because they were the only option available. But now, with the technology available that automates expense management, more businesses are adopting this approach because it eliminates the need for human intervention and makes a company's business operations more efficient.

Flaws in Traditional Expense Management Process

Most companies' traditional expense management process involves multiple stakeholders, leading to inefficient and ineffective processes. Here are some of the problems you may be facing due to manual expense management:

Time-consuming: Manual processes require much time and effort from employees, who have to wait for approvals or reimbursements before they can use their money. It results in delays, resulting in an overall inefficient process.

Error-prone: Manual processes are prone to errors as there is no way for employees or managers to track expenses across the organization since there is no visibility into what others are spending or have spent on them. It means that even if one employee doesn't record their expenses properly, it may also affect others because there is a lack of transparency about how much each person has spent within the organization.

No accountability: Manual processes also lead nowhere when it comes down to determining who should be held accountable for unapproved expenses or those with inaccurate receipts. It is because there isn't any system in place where these things can be tracked effectively, and therefore no one knows who spends how much money on what kind of items/services, etc.

What Is Meant by Expense Management Automation?

As the name suggests, expense management automation is the process of automating the expense management process. It is a way of reducing manual intervention required in the expense management process and increasing its efficiency.

Expense management automation aims to reduce the time and effort required to manage expenses and automate them using the software manually. It allows you to track your company's expenses without worrying about manual intervention from employees or third-party agents.

Why Should Expense Management Processes Be Automated?

Listed below are some of the reasons why you need expense management automation:

Reduce manual processes: An expense management app helps to reduce manual processes by automating expense reporting and approval. By eliminating the need for employees to submit their expenses manually, you can reduce the number of errors in your expense reports.

Increase employee satisfaction: With a better system that is easier to use, employees will be more satisfied with their experience managing expenses. They will feel like they have control over their costs, which increases participation and transparency in the process.

Improve accuracy: With automation, there are fewer typos and fewer errors when entering information into the system—which means fewer incorrect reimbursements being issued because of human error or inconsistencies across systems used by different departments within your organization.

Get more efficient: Expense management software can help streamline the expense management process, saving you time and money. By automating your expense reporting and approval process, you will be able to reduce the number of staff hours spent on these tasks while ensuring they are done correctly.

Reduce fraud: Automated systems can help to reduce the risk of fraud by providing tighter controls over who has access to expense reports and how they are submitted. Improve compliance: Compliance is an important aspect of any business, but it's especially critical when it comes to managing company expenses. With a good system in place that automatically tracks all expenses, you will be able to meet your compliance requirements while also reducing the burden on your staff.

Comparison Between Traditional and Automated Means of Expense Management

There are two ways to manage your company's expenses: by manual means and by automated means. The first method requires that you manually enter every expense into your accounting software and record it as a function of time on a spreadsheet. In other words, this option requires that you do the work yourself. The second method uses an automated expense management system that does most or all of this work for you automatically, saving time and effort upfront—but requiring more money upfront for setup costs.

The benefits of automated means include reduced labor costs associated with entering data manually (which can be substantial), greater accuracy due to consistent coding practices across all employees and departments, improved compliance because error rates go down when less human intervention is required in data entry processes (i.e., fewer mistakes), faster turnaround times for accounts receivable reports since fewer transactions are being recorded each day/week/month and more.

Another option is to use a combination system that includes some manual data entry but uses automated means for the rest of the process. This method provides an immediate short-term gain in cost savings and efficiency by reducing labor costs associated with manual data entry while still giving you access to more accurate, timely, and complete information than is possible with manual means alone. The drawbacks to this method are that it still requires manual data entry.

Key Ways To Automate Expense Requests and Approvals

In order to fully automate expense management, you will need to implement the four key components of automation:

Automated expense requests: Requests can be submitted via a form or an employee's mobile device. The request will automatically be routed to the approver, who can approve or reject it. If approved, the system will create an invoice for payment and generate a purchase order if necessary.

Automated approval processes: With this feature enabled, employees can submit their expenses directly from within your expense management software platform without having to wait for someone else's approval first before moving forward with spending money on behalf of your company. The automatic approval process lets users do everything from requesting reimbursement for their out-of-pocket costs within minutes after completing transactions by submitting items like receipts or invoices without any manual intervention on anyone else's part whatsoever.

Automated expense tracking: Automated expense tracking is a great way to eliminate confusion about where your money is going. This feature helps ensure that everyone in the company has access to the information and prevents discrepancies from happening. It also allows you to track expenses over time to see how much each employee spends per month or year—and whether this aligns with what's expected for their position.

Automated expense reporting and reconciliation: This feature lets you track all of your expenses in real-time so that you'll always know where your money is going. In addition to tracking employee spending, it also includes tools for reconciling expenses with company accounts payable records.

This feature is also useful for identifying trends or unusual spending habits in order to prevent fraud or waste. By tracking expenses in real-time, you can identify potential issues before they become a problem—and take steps to address them before they escalate into something more serious.

Advantages of Automated Expense Management

Here are some advantages of automated expense management:

Reduced time and effort: Automated expense management systems can reduce the amount of time it takes to process expenses. For example, it's often faster for employees to submit their receipts via an app or mobile device than it is for them to file a paper receipt. It also reduces the need for your organization to hire additional workers in order to handle the increased workload.

Improved accuracy: The automation of expense management means that documents are automatically filed and processed, streamlining this process so that errors are minimized (and therefore less likely). In addition, since automated systems use AI technology that learns over time, they become more accurate over time as well (which could lead to reduced legal liabilities).

Improved visibility into expenditures: In addition to making sure that documents are properly filed according to your company's policy, automated systems can also provide insights into where money is being spent and identify areas where spending could be reduced without impacting productivity or the overall success of operations.

Improved security: When employees submit their receipts using an app or mobile device, it's easier for your organization to keep track of who is submitting expenses and when. In addition, since expenses are automatically filed once they're submitted, employees can't change details about the transaction after the fact (which could help prevent fraud).

Aspects of Automated Expense Management Solutions

Expense management solutions have a number of features that make it easy for you to keep track of all your expenses. Some of these features are:

Bill and Receipts: This feature allows you to record bills, receipts, and payments. You can also add notes to them so that they will be easy to locate later on.

Expense Reports: With good software, expense reports become an easy task because you do not have to take care of any manual calculations or formatting. You just need the right data in the right format, and your report is ready.

Expense Approvals: A great software will allow you to assign different approval levels for different budgets/departments within an organization so that everyone knows who's responsible for approving what type of transaction before it gets processed by the system.

Automated Reporting: Good software will provide you with a variety of pre-built reports for different purposes. This means that instead of manually creating these reports from scratch each time (which could take hours or days, depending on how complex they are), you need to download them from the system and use them as is without any further modifications.

How to Choose the Right Automated Expense Management Software/Mobile App?

Choosing the right automated expense management software or mobile app is not a trivial task. If you are running a small business and your expenses are not too high, then an online application could probably be enough for you to manage all your expenses. However, if you have multiple people working in different countries and there is a lot of money involved, then it would make sense to look at more robust solutions such as ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) systems or cloud-based applications.

The first thing most users worry about when choosing an automated expense management solution is how much it will cost them. The second thing they consider is whether the software supports the features they need from an expense tracking system (e.g., reporting).

The third aspect that many companies consider before making their final decision on which tool to use is customer support: Will someone be available 24/7 if my employees have problems using the tool? The last thing that should be considered when choosing any service provider for your accounting needs is the ease of use.

There are many different features that you should look for in an automatic expense management tool. These include:

  • The ability to assign expenses to individual people (e.g., your employees) who have taken them out
  • A way of tracking business mileage so that you can be reimbursed for this by your company (if applicable)
  • An easy way of sending expense reports via email or mobile app so that they can be approved and processed quickly by whoever needs to see them

Conclusion

An automated expense management solution gives you insights into how much your business is spending on various expenses, which helps you make better decisions about where to spend money and how much to spend on each item or category.

With this information at your fingertips, it's easier for you, as the company owner, to plan out future budgets for upcoming months or years. It helps prevent overspending in certain areas without having enough money left over for other important things, such as salaries or marketing campaigns that bring in more revenue for you overall.

Zorp is an ideal platform for building an employee expense management system that is extremely robust and flexible. You will be able to allow your employees to submit their expense reports in a seamless way that can be integrated into your existing system.