Why Digital Receipts Are Good for Business, and the Planet

Every business understands the value of generating receipts. While the word “receipt” remains synonymous with a small slip of paper (that you’ll probably end up losing), more and more businesses today are embracing paperless receipts. With the right tools and software, going digital can simplify receipt management, capture every transaction, and track spend without using a single piece of paper. Through this organizations can save time, save money, protect public health, and benefit the environment.

 

Receipts are not as recyclable as you think

Each year in the U.S., millions of trees and billions of gallons of water are used to produce physical receipts. While this alone represents a big impact to the environment, you’d think that recycling receipts would, at least part, offset the toll this process takes on the planet.

The truth is that most paper receipts can’t be recycled. That’s because thermal paper receipts are coated with a toxic and potentially harmful chemicals called Bisphenol-A (BPA) or Bisphenol-S (BPS).

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned BPA from use in baby bottles and sippy cups, but these chemicals remain in use in more the 90% of receipts —despite their links to health risks including miscarriages, premature births, heart disease, prostate cancer, and adverse effects to the endocrine and nervous systems.

 

Good for the planet, good for business

Protecting the environment and public health are just part of the argument against paper receipts. Offering digital receipts can also significantly benefit a company's efficiency, spend management, and employee satisfaction.

Using tools like Concur Travel, businesses can automatically integrate electronic receipts from airlines, hotels, restaurants, and other providers into an expense report. For business travelers, every paper receipt they get on the road can be digitized by simply snapping a photo on their smartphones through the SAP Concur mobile app. This image then goes directly into Concur Expense, which automatically reads receipt data to create, itemize, and categorize information into an expense report.

By going paperless and connecting solutions, organizations can save time and ensure that data is entered fully and correctly. In addition, business travelers can be spared both the pain of collecting piles of paper, and the burden of attaching these to a physical expense report when they return to the office.

 

Our work is bigger than software

SAP Concur solutions are working beyond its software to help organizations around the world digitize receipts and reduce the unnecessary use of paper.

In 2015, we worked alongside with the Japanese government to address regulations that required companies to keep copies of paper receipts — even after the receipt had been digitized. The following year, Japan reformed its regulations and relaxed this requirement on Japanese businesses.

In 2017, we introduced an e-receipt solution in China that integrated with the country’s WeChat platform to meet unique tax and expense policies around the world, simplify spend management for employees, and control costs more effectively. 

To learn more about how SAP Concur solutions are using automation and AI to redefine and simplify the expense reporting process, check out the blog.

 

 

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