According to a report1 by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), U.S. firms will spend about $296 billion on travel and entertainment in 2017. On average that can amount to 10% or more of annual revenues, and for project-based firms, that amount can be much higher.
Adding to the actual amount of expense reports, the time and costs of expense report processing can easily exceed $100 according to another report2 by GBTA. This is a result of the following facts:
- It takes 20 minutes on average to complete one expense report.
- The average cost to process one expense report is $58.
- On average, 19% of expense reports have errors.
- It takes 18 minutes on average to correct an expense report.
- The average total cost to fix one expense report is $52.
Accounting Departments are Overwhelmed
In today’s world, accounting departments run lean. Asked to do more with less, accountants are being pushed more than ever. Adding staff usually is not an option, so finding ways to lighten the load with automation is more crucial than ever.
Especially in the busy month of December, as your employees are hustling to finalize those year-end expenses and reporting, this automation can result in significant time savings, leading to lower costs and happier employees.
Automating your workflows and implementing best practices for your accounting will significantly reduce your department’s workload, improving accuracy, cycle time, and employee satisfaction. It can also improve Sarbanes-Oxley compliance.
Reduce Time Spent for Accounting Staff and Employees
Manually collecting receipts and filling out expense reports on paper or a spreadsheet is time consuming both for your employees and for your accounting staff to then enter into your ERP system. By providing a simple solution to capture the receipt and capture the information significantly reduces the time spent.
The crucial aspect of any solution is the integration into your accounting system. By automating the information flow between the systems, the accuracy of the data is assured, and your accounting staff can do a quick review for posting.
Improve Employee Satisfaction
By reducing the time spent manually creating and entering expenses, and eliminating the need to keep up with paper receipts, your employees can focus their time on what is important. This leaves them more time to be productive. Truly this is a win-win solution for the company and your employees.
Based on the GBTA study mentioned above, automating your expense processing can reduce this number to as low as under $10. The right automation system can easily reduce the time spent by your staff by 50% or more.
In addition to the time savings, the features available in an automated system can impact your bottom line even more. By catching duplicate entries, and automatically flagging expenses outside of company policy, the back and forth from your employee to your accounting team is virtually eliminated. All communication can be handled within the system, and completely documented for auditing purposes.
Switching to an automated expense report process is truly one of the best win-win solutions for everyone involved. Your employees spend less time on expense reports, receive reimbursements more quickly due to improved cycle time, and your accounting staff spends much less time and energy entering data and enforcing company policies.
During the busiest month of the year, every minute counts, and no one wants to spend time on expenses.
Tanya Drake is Director of Add-on Technology at Full Sail Partners