You’ve hit your spending limit. Using manual, paper-based, and outdated systems to track expenses is costing your organization money and your own employees' sanity. With employees spending more money across more channels than ever before, the difficulty of keeping track of spend as an organization is sky rocketing. Answer this question to see where your own organization currently stands:
Of the list below, what do you want to be true for your company?
- Streamlined systems
- Maximized productivity
- Accurate spend data
- Enabled and eatisfied employees
- Efficient spending
- All of the above
We’re going to take a wild guess and say you picked "all of the above." The way you decide to set up your expense process affects every facet of your business, meaning manual expense reports are taking a bigger toll on your company than you might think.
What does the average expense report cost for your organization? Let’s do the math. The number of hours spent on expense reports multiplied by the average hourly salary of your staff, divided by the number of expense reports you process per year, will give you your organization’s customized number. It looks like this: (Hours spent annually on expense reports) x (Average hourly rate of your processing staff) ÷ (Number of expense reports per year) = Cost per expense report
Now that you know how much your expense report is costing you, let’s dive into automation can help.
You can happily say goodbye to inefficient, manual processing and say hello to an automated and connected travel, expense, and vendor invoice solution. With automation on your side, your organization can confidently operate with reliable and streamlined expense data. Removing unnecessary steps, such as printing out documents and manually filling out information, will not only benefit today’s processes but multiply in value as your organization grows and changes. Still not convinced? Then ask yourself these four questions:
- Is your accounts payable system scalable for growth?
- Could your expense process be simplified with a streamlined solution?
- Are your employees and stakeholders getting frustrated with your process?
- Do you have the necessary technology support needed to keep your invoice system running seamlessly?
As employee spending becomes more complex, the manual reporting process gets even more painful, making your reports a recipe for wasted hours, days, and dollars. This translates into finance and AP personnel spending a significant amount of their time with manual tasks, while financial decision makers spend a lot more of their time trying to analyze and interpret data. Hours spent x Employee hourly wage = Cost of manual process
With the help of automated, integrated solutions, you can move many manual, frustrating, and mundane tasks off your employees' plates and free up more time for yourself and others to focus on strategic tasks that promote growth. Attaining efficiencies in AP workflows can result in 37% less time spent on AP data entry – just imagine what you could do with all that free time.
Companies that use a mixture of paper and spreadsheets to process expenses and/or vendor invoices are especially prone to human error. Paper receipts can get lost, and it’s not hard to imagine the manual mistakes that can crop up when copying data into a form. It's no surprise, then, that 81% of finance leaders admit to blind spots when it comes to their company’s travel, expense, and invoice spend.
By catching duplicate entries, and automatically flagging expenses outside of 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. And, with automation, you could see a 33% reduction in invoicing errors.
Improve employee satisfaction
The fact is, a better employee experience is good for business. Don't just take our word for it. The data show that when organizations create exceptional experiences for employees they see exceptional results, including 17% higher productivity, 21% higher proftability, and 24% lower turnover.
But, there's more to improving the employee experience than adding gluten-free snacks to the breakroom. You must show you value employees across every touchpoint throughout their employment. This means providing technology that frees people from menial tasks so they can do the work that gives them the most satisfaction, while contributing to the organization’s bottom line. So, tools that automate travel, expense, and AP processes are critical to delivering a good employee experience.
A Forrester survey of 476 finance, IT, and HR decision-makers shows that focusing on the tools employees use on a regular basis is critical to enabling good experiences. For nearly 70% of respondents, this means focusing initiatives on T&E and AP automation tools. While something like your travel and spend management processes might feel like a small thing, a manual, paper-based process can easily get in the way of employee happiness and engagement.
What's in it for them? Using these tools to reduce your employees' time spent manually managing expenses, plus eliminating the need to keep up with paper receipts, lightens the load and boosts morale. Automating workflows and implementing best practices for accounting staff will significantly improve accuracy, cycle time, and employee satisfaction. That's not to mention faster reimbursement times for employees, which shows you value their time and relieves them from shuldering out-of-pocket expenses for too long.
With these tools and processes, you also create an experience that engages and retains top talent, keeps them productive, and helps them focus on taking care of your customers. Everybody wins!
Maintain compliance and efficiently
Several hidden costs can fall through the cracks when using manual processes, including labor costs and fraud. Labor costs are causing many organizations to spend nearly twice as much on invoicing processes than they would with more efficient and streamlined solutions. In other words, businesses are unknowingly throwing away a lot of money.
Paper is also extremely vulnerable to fraud, whether it be intentional or not. And, that's a cost no one wants to deal with. The typical organization loses 5% of annual revenue to fraud each year, with the median losses from asset misappropriation tallying $154,000. What's more, 37% of business travelers have had at least one exception on their T&E reports, and $2,448 is the average reimbursement amount requested by employees that submit fraudulent claims. Yikes!
By utilizing AI to detect signs of fraud and built-in policy compliance, you can focus on preventing fraud rather than recovering from it. By putting a microscope on this area of spend you can prevent fraudsters who may be active in more than one area of the business. Automation mitigates potential fraud by restricting the ability to approve invoices and initiate payments to authorized individuals. Near real-time visibility into all processes prevents unauthorized individuals from accessing sensitive data.
TL;DR: Automated processes can help you better keep track of your organization’s money.
What's Next: Build your case for automated expense or AP management
Luckily, it’s easy to make the move from manual to automated, one-off to streamlined, and at risk to at ease. But, now it's time to convince your leadership team to invest. Take a look at these helpful guides and find out how: