Duty of Care
Let’s Get Automating: Why You Should Modernize Your County’s Expense System
You’re not alone if your county’s process for submitting and approving expense reports is still manual or even paper based. Unfortunately, as much as local governments work to optimize taxpayer dollars, legacy expense systems and outdated technology too often hamper this effort due to their inefficiencies and lack of transparency and visibility. Let’s take a look at some of these challenges that counties face with expense reimbursement and consider how automation could help.
For Honesty’s Sake: Manual Expense Systems Are a Pain
Manual systems are slow and labor intensive for both the employee filling out an expense form and for the finance team processing it. Filling out spreadsheets or forms, stapling receipts, and matching expenses take time away from more strategic pursuits. Lengthy approval processes also mean that you never have completely up-to-date spend information.
Manual expense systems are also prone to human error—especially given the tedious tasks required to manually track employee expenses—with a risk of expenses, like mileage, going unreported and non-compliant charges being approved. Both instances lead to an inaccurate picture of your spend. In addition to human error, acts of fraud can more easily slip under the radar with legacy expense systems.
The lack of transparency and visibility may be one of the biggest problems with legacy expense systems. You can’t manage what you can’t see, and compliance is especially critical when it comes to government funds. To make better decisions regarding your budget, you need clear, accurate, and up-to-date information and the right tools for effective oversight.
The Time Is Now: Transform Your Expense System
Automating your expense process addresses these drawbacks of manual systems, speeding up cycle times, eliminating human error, reducing fraud, and providing clear visibility into expenses. Plus, your county can take advantage of government funding from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 to fast-track this type of digital transformation effort.
An automated expense process allows you to track expenses easily and accurately. An automated solution can also quickly spot inconsistencies and highlight issues such as duplicate claims or missing receipts. Here are three more areas where counties can benefit from an automated expense process:
Spend management: Automated expense processes can tell you in near real-time who’s spending how much and where, giving you transparency and visibility into your spending and cash flow. With the right financial data and analysis tools at your fingertips, you can also plan more accurately because you can identify trends and improve spending forecasts.
Control and compliance: An automated expense system can also flag and prevent non-compliant transactions from going through. For example, with your local government’s compliance policies built right in, your finance team can get more transparency into tracking expenses, increase your control with pre-approvals, and greatly simplify reports and audits with intelligent tools like analytics, Artificial Intelligence, and Machine Learning.
Employee experience: Let’s face it: Employees don’t like cumbersome manual expense processes and paper processes are especially problematic now that many people are working remotely. Automation simplifies the expense process experience, making it more efficient, easier, and less error prone. For example, a GPS-based app can be used to automatically track car mileage, or a digital interface can offer new employees the help, guidance, and training assistance needed when using new tech for the first time. The time that automation saves can be spent in more strategic work to serve your constituents.
The Solutions You Need, the Automation You Deserve
Managing your county’s budget is no simple task and outdated manual expense systems make it even harder. That’s why more counties are turning to automated solutions such as SAP Concur to modernize their expense systems and track expenses when and where they happen, with the convenience of mobile apps. SAP Concur solutions make the process simpler and more efficient for everyone involved—and give your county a complete picture of how your funds are truly serving your constituents. With the unparalleled automation of SAP Concur, you’ll know more so you can do more.
See how SAP Concur solutions can help modernize your county’s spend management challenges, so you can focus on serving citizens. Visit us online.
Additional Resources to Leverage
- 4 Keys to Optimizing County Spend
- Four Tips to Help County Leaders Maximize Budget
- 7 Ways Digitizing Spend Management Benefits State and Local Governments and Their Constituents
- How Digitizing Spend Management Supports the Government Mission
To learn more about how to digitize your county’s financial operations, visit the SAP Concur partner page at the National Association of Counties.