It’s December: Time to break out of spreadsheet jail

Baby, it’s cold outside – but inside, expense reports are heating up finance departments everywhere. ‘Tis the season when everyone in accounting is inundated with a sudden influx of receipts, notes, and spreadsheets. Did you know that the busiest expense day of the year happens in December? Better have lots of coffee on hand.

 

While you scramble to enter expenses and close the year with clean books, you often have to push other, equally important end-of-year activities to the side to accommodate the last-minute rush. If that doesn’t sound very festive, it’s not – and it’s also not necessary. Because here’s some great news: there’s a better way. Technology is changing the way we report and manage expenses – and in the process, it’s helping to eliminate that end-of-year crunch. Here’s how:

 

 

The cloud makes expense reporting easier

As cloud-based services continue to make their way into the enterprise, new solutions have emerged for submitting and tracking expenses. These options make the process easier to manage and more efficient for both employees and accounting departments. When it comes to expense reports, convenience and ease of use are key to improving the experience for everyone.

 

 

With the right app, workers can snap a photo of a receipt with their smartphone, and they’re done. Research shows that employees can expense reports 60% faster with online tools, and they get reimbursed 40% faster when their organizations use smartphone apps for reporting. When keeping track of spending is as easy as grabbing the device inside a pocket or purse, it reduces the pressure – and increases the motivation to present accurate and complete reports.

 

 

December just got merrier

Holidays and deadlines are hectic enough on their own, so why combine the two? With a good expense reporting solution, companies and their employees can save money – a jolly prospect indeed. In fact, more than $2 billion could be saved each year if U.S. companies automated expense reporting. Per our data, organizations that do use an automated solution report:  

 

  • 50% lower processing costs
  • 22% more policy compliance
  • 28% shorter approval cycle

Imagine a world with no lost receipts, miscalculated numbers, or a frenzied run on the accounting department when deadlines loom. You don’t have anything to lose – except a whole bunch of useless paper.

 

What’s on your shopping list?

With so many apps and services out there, it can be tricky to decide which one is right for your organization. Keep these features in mind as you shop for your expense reporting solution:  

 

  • Works on mobile devices. As of January 2014, 58% of American adults owned a smartphone, and that number is growing. When you give your employees the ability to access and update their records via smartphone, it empowers them to stay on top of expenses and in charge of their reports.

 

  • Integrates with existing systems. A solution becomes more of a problem if you have to throw out your entire system to accommodate it. Learn what software is compatible and what isn’t to avoid a meltdown worthy of National Lampoon. In life and finance, simpler is always better.

 

  • Solves tricky issues with travel expenses. Many of today’s professionals travel for work – and that can complicate expense reporting. A good solution will enable them offline access, convert currencies with ease, and submit expenses for approval no matter where they are. Concur has built partnerships with companies such as Airbnb, Uber, and Starwood to make it easier than ever for employees to book trips and complete expenses.

 

  • Keeps sensitive information secure. Security breaches happen, and expense reports with sensitive information can be a target. Educate yourself on the security risks and advantages that potential solutions have.

 

 

Automated expense reporting with smartphone-enabled features could be the answer to your end-of-year problems. By staying in step with current technologies, you’ll get better participation from employees, and a seamless solution to tracking and managing expense reports. When you have greater accuracy and visibility into who is spending what, you won’t have to brace for an onslaught of paper. After all, the best gift you can give yourself this year is making next December a breeze.

 

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