Pssst! It’s Me, Your Expense Report, and I’ve Got Some Secrets to Tell You

Most secrets are better left as secrets. But when it comes to your expense reports, the facts can be seriously worth knowing. After all, an expense report with secrets is covertly impacting your bottom line.

This is often the time of year when most companies review budgets and plan spending, which means it’s also time to unearth secrets. Wouldn’t it be nice if your expense report was like that friend of yours who can’t keep a secret any longer than she can hold her breath?

Well, automated expense management software is like having your blabbering friend working on the inside for you – no expense report secret is safe. Data and analytics are easily captured and synthesized by automated expense management software, which allows you to move beyond spreadsheet data points into a new reality of actionable insights that can help you make sound budgeting decision next year and beyond.

So what are the top secrets your old fashioned, spreadsheet based expense report form is hiding from you? Here are 10 educated guesses.

 

Secret #1: Extra fees for late bookings

 

Preparedness pays. Don’t just encourage employees to book travel and lodging earlier, use expense management software to send alerts and apply uniform booking policies across your entire organization.

 

Secret #2: Ancillary airline fees

 

You can’t perform a proper, apples-to-apples comparison of airlines unless you’re taking all ancillary fees into account. How much are you paying for checked bags? How much does a rescheduled flight cost and how often does it happen? What other fees apply?

 

Secret #3: Extravagant vendor costs

 

Not only does expense management software give you data that makes comparison shopping easier, it also gives you data you can leverage for negotiating with vendors where you are paying more.

 

Secret #4: Uncategorized expense tracking

 

Spend by general ledger. Tracking spending within specific categories can point to areas where you are overspending, and can also present opportunities to negotiate or update your travel policy. For example, if you’re spending a lot on air travel, try booking flights on Wednesday when they tend to be cheaper.

 

Secret #5: Luxury car rental and separate taxis

 

You already know transportation is expensive. But it’s also ripe with opportunities to save money. Are all your luxury car rentals necessary (i.e. only for meeting with valuable clients and partners)? Are business travelers taking advantage of hotel shuttles and sharing taxis when it’s not too inconvenient?

 

Secret #6: Longer-than-necessary travel routes

 

Often there’s a path with either less mileage or less traffic – help your employees find the shortest travel routers.

 

Secret #7: Late fees

 

Do you know exactly how much damage late fees are doing to your bottom line? Late fees are often costly, yet entirely preventable with the right system in place.

 

Secret #8: Paid Wi-Fi

 

Did you know that most hotels will offer free Wi-Fi if you simply ask? And if you’re forking over big bucks for internet access, does it make sense for your company to offer a secure, portable Wi-Fi solution for travelers?

 

Secret #9: Untracked costs

 

You can use cost tracking reports to track spend by client, project, department, etc. Tracking spend will allow you to more accurately gauge profitability and future budgeting needs.

 

Secret #10: Out-of-the-loop employees

 

Employees who are unclear on policy can be much more costly than others. Schedule a training session with team members who fall into this category. Better yet, include business travel policy training in your employee onboarding plan. If one aspect of the policy is consistently missed by the broader team, it might be time to clarify the item through a policy update.

What data is your expense report hiding from you? The data and analytics provided by expense management software lets you easily determine which employees, vendors, general ledgers, clients, projects, etc. are helping you meet – or not meet – profitability goals so that you can plan accordingly.

 

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