The Case Against Using Spreadsheets for Expense Reporting

By far, the most common feedback I get from small business owners is that their spreadsheet expense report template works fine; something that cannot be said for everything in their business. So, they ask, why make the move now? Here is one good reason: bottom-line saving. Subscribing to an online, automated expense reporting solution can save your company money when compared to using “free” spreadsheets. Surprised to hear that? Let me show you how.

  • Do you pay a bookkeeper or a finance clerk to take care of your expense reports and code them into your accounting system? The people who handle expense reports and the accounting system typically cost in the neighborhood of $25 to $30 per hour. How many hours per month do they spend creating, approving, and auditing expense reports for you? How many hours are spent manually entering that data into your accounting system? Concur Breeze brings that full process online, automates it entirely, and gives you the electronic data so that uploading it to your accounting system is like attaching a file to an email.


  • Have any of your staff ever FedExed their receipts in? We see this all the time. And, at $10 per shipping bill, you have to ask yourself why. Concur Breeze offers a free service for faxing in receipts (which the IRS approves of, by the way) and imports scanned receipts.


  • Have you needed to pay late fees or penalties for employees who were reimbursed too late to pay their credit card on-time? $25 late fees can pile up. Concur Breeze reminds employees when they have credit card charges that need to be expensed. And then, expense reports are monitored as they go through the approval flow in Concur Breeze – with reminders sent to approvers if they do not act promptly.


  • Do you entertain clients and prospects a lot? Entertainment expenses are usually tax deductible at an average corporate tax rate of 35 percent. Not claiming a few $250 entertainment tabs could really impact your bottom-line. Concur Breeze makes it easy to classify spending as entertainment and ensures that it is properly accounted for when you export the data to your accounting system. As a side note: Are you spending enough on entertaining? Concur Breeze will help you see where these powerful dollars are (or are not) going.


  • Do you have a policy that places a limit on how much employees can spend on breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner? Is it enforced? With a lot of our clients, before Concur there was a whole lot of "getting away with it" going on. Employees were "forgetting" policy or creating their own definitions of reasonableness. Approving managers were rubber stamping without looking. The accounting team assumed it was OK since it was approved. And the result was a little bit extra each day for employees … becoming a little bit more extra each day … and so on as long as they were "getting away with it." Concur Breeze allows you to set reasonable limits for meals and then highlights each occasion when an employee is over. It isn’t obtrusive and it doesn’t slow things down. But it does make everything visible to the employee and approver – and that has shown to greatly reel in the "getting away with it."

These might not all apply to you. But if one or more does, your "free" spreadsheets might be costing your company more than you thought. Over 10,000 mid-market and large businesses have automated expense reporting with Concur because they know every dollar spent with Concur generates savings. Big savings in most cases. Concur Breeze offers this same solution outfitted and priced for small businesses. 

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