It might seem counterintuitive, especially for a small business, but not buying software to help you manage expense reports can get, well, expensive. According to the Aberdeen Group, it costs SMBs on average $35.02 to process one expense report. Multiply that by the number of expense reports you handle each month and you could be looking at a pretty substantial hit.
An automated travel and expense system may feel like overkill when spreadsheets are “free," but automated expense management software really start to make financial sense when you take into consideration the amount of time your people spend filling out and reconciling expense reports—time that could have been spent on more strategic tasks.
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Plotting out Manual Expense Reporting Costs
Why do manual expense reports cost so much? For starters, a manual expense report is just that: manual. This means an employee is sifting through receipts, entering costs into a spreadsheet, making photocopies, following up on missing documentation and, more often than not, tracking down approvals and signatures on foot. All this takes time.
And it doesn’t stop there. Once the expense report is complete and submitted, it’s the finance team’s turn to review and reconcile the expense report. Again, they are digging through a stack of receipts, reviewing, comparing and reconciling before finally paying the bill.
Calculating Your Company’s Expense Line Item
Because employees are the ones doing all the legwork, it’s easy to forget that your company is still paying for each expense report. Calculating the number of hours spent on expense reports multiplied by the average hourly salary of your staff, divided by the number of expense reports you process per year, will give you your customized number. It looks like this:
(Hours spent annually on expense reports) X (average hourly rate of your processing staff) ÷ (Number of expense reports per year)
Cost per expense report
If your company is like most of the others from Aberdeen’s research, this number is likely north of $30 per expense report. Don't feel like doing the math? Use our calculator to see how much spreadsheet expense reporting is costing your company.
It’s Time to Be a Little “Graph-ic”
Fortunately, there is a way to bring spending on expense reporting back into line. Shifting from a manual expense process to an automated system will make that graph look a lot better. But, keep this in mind: Choosing the best solution for your company is not just about your needs today, but also what you will need in the future.
With so many solutions available, which one to choose? Concur Expense goes beyond automation, taking expense tracking mobile. With the mobile app, employees simply take a picture of their receipts, and the system takes it from there. This greatly reduces the chance of human error and eliminates the need to hold on to all those receipts. And the finance department has visibility into where the money’s going in near real-time, from any location. Plus, SAP Concur solutions can scale with your company as it grows.
With the right solution, productivity goes up and the time (and money) spent filling out and reconciling reports goes down. Now there’s an XY chart that’ll make any leadership team celebrate.
Are You Ready to Draw the Line?
There’s no time like the present to move from a manual to an automated, cloud-based expense and travel (and invoice!) system. For SMBs, choosing the right solution, with all the right data points, will make that transition pay off. Read the report to see how SAP Concur is "the unquestionable leader in the travel and expense management software market."