Two Days, Two Types of Expense Tracking

How much of a difference does your expense tracking solution really make?To help you understand, let’s look at it from the perspective of an end user.

Enter Stacy. Stacy is bona fide revenue driver. In this article, we follow Stacy’s activities on any given Friday.

In the first scenario, Stacy uses a manual expense tracking solution. In take two, we’ll show you how Stacy’s same Friday plays out with an automated expense tracking solution.


Friday with manual expense tracking


7:40am – Shopping for office supplies

Stacy needs to pick up toner, a few presentation folders and a new mileage log for her home office. She gets her receipt and tosses it in her purse.

9:07am – Call from husband

Stacy’s husband calls as she enters the office parking lot. He is working on the family budget and wants to know when she expects to be reimbursed for her sizable expense report last month. She has no idea if the expense report still needs to be approved by her manager. She tells her husband she’ll need to check on it later.

9:31am – Message from accounting

As Stacy begins to prepare for her afternoon meeting with a key prospect, she gets an email from accounting telling her to stop by the department today. On one hand, this will give her an opportunity to check on the reimbursement of her outstanding expense report, but on the other hand she’s a tad frustrated because the pending visit is probably related to errors on her previous expense report.

1:27pm – Leaves for meeting with key prospect

Stacy didn’t get nearly as much time for meeting prep as she would have liked, but it’ll have to do as she needs to get downtown by 2pm to meet with her prospect. Shortly after leaving she remembers she’ll also need to calculate mileage for this trip when she does her expense report. Twenty-five minutes later, Stacy pulls into the parking ramp, pays and stuffs the receipt into her bag as she rushes to make her meeting on time.

3:33pm – Upcoming conference notification

The sales meeting went well, but Stacy couldn’t help but feel it would have gone better if she had more time to prepare. While walking to her car, she checks the email on her smartphone and notices her manager has invited her to attend a four-day industry conference next month, and is requesting her to book airfare and lodging ASAP.

While she is excited about the invitation, she is not looking forward to spending Friday afternoon adding travel booking to her looming expense tracking tasks.

4:21pm – Expense tracking and travel booking

After battling traffic, Stacy is back at her desk. First, Stacy needs to book travel. Not wanting to make another non-compliant booking, Stacy downloads the business travel policy from the shared server. She waits for it to load and then checks the document carefully before booking. This process takes about 30 minutes.

Next, Stacy pulls the massive wad of receipts from her bag and double checks to make sure there are no crumpled or folded receipts hiding in the pocket. She downloads the expense tracking template and begins shuffling through receipts.

6:13pm – Time to go

Stacy is missing a receipt and she’s about 90% sure there is more than one error as she staples the stack of receipts to her freshly printed expense report form. She submits her expense report and heads out an hour later than anticipated.  

Okay, now let’s try the same day again – this time with an automated expense tracking solution.

7:40am – Office supplies

Immediately after purchasing office supplies, Stacy pulls out her smartphone and snaps a photo of the receipt, which is automatically added to an office supplies line item on her expense report. The correct accounting code is also inserted automatically. 9:07am – No call from husband The reimbursement already happened because Stacy easily submits her expenses on time and the internal process is streamlined.

9:31 am – No message from accounting

The non-compliant booking is avoided because it was red-flagged when Stacy originally booked the trip using the automated expense solution. The data entry error also doesn’t exist because the line item information was imported automatically from Stacy’s corporate credit card.

1:20 pm – Leaves for meeting with key prospect

After getting directions via Google maps and automatically importing mileage into her expense report, Stacy is off, feeling great about her meeting prep. She snaps a photo of her parking receipt while walking to her meeting a little bit early.

3:33pm – Upcoming conference notification

Stacy is pumped to learn she has been invited to a four-day industry conference. She books travel and lodging in less than five minutes via the automated expense tracking app on her smartphone. She knows all her bookings are compliant because they are allowed within the app.

Plus, at the end of her trip she won’t need to spend much time sorting through the expenses because the hotel folio will be sent automatically via an e-receipt.

3:39pm – Submit expense report

Still sitting in her car, Stacy submits her weekly expense report in less than five minutes. Most of the data has already been automatically imported from her corporate credit card, and she added the other expenses as they happened. Stacy submits her expense report from her smartphone. Her manager will be able to quickly receive and approve the expense report. It’s weekend time!  

Expense tracking affects every part of your business, every day. Learn why you shouldn’t wait to be asked to fix it.

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