Automated, mobile-first T&E processes have the potential to transform expense processing by cutting costs, increasing compliance, reducing fraud, and more. The right tools offer integration, mobility, and intelligence, which give employees the experience they want and are key to driving adoption.
The cloud is bringing the power of intelligence and automation to small and medium-sized companies through easy-to-deploy software that saves time, cuts costs, and supports easier business expansion. Take travel and expense (T&E) automation, for example. According to AMI Partners, amongst firms that have automated their T&E tools, 76% are already using cloud solutions.
And given the benefits, it’s no wonder more firms are looking to automate their T&E processes using cloud solutions that run easily on both PCs and mobile devices. Manual expense processes are incredibly slow and costly, in part because of the time and effort employees put into expense reporting.
Business travellers need to keep track of every receipt, which isn’t easy on long trips. Some are hard copy, others are electronic – and most have at least a few expenses fall through the cracks along the way. During trips, manual processes such as populating spreadsheets, sticking receipts to paper, copying, and submitting and filing take up valuable time that could be spent on strategic work that grows the business.
Once the paper report is submitted, the inefficiencies continue within finance and across the business. Typically, many people need to touch each paper along the way, things get lost, and reimbursements are often delayed due to long approval processes, which frustrates employees. In addition, surveys show that six out of 10 employees have filed at least one incorrect expense report, which can lead to significant cost and compliance risks for the business.
In contrast, automated, mobile-first T&E processes that integrate with business software and third-party applications have the potential to transform expense processing, saving time and money while eliminating errors. AMI Partners found that, on average, finance teams see an average time savings of 15% by automating key tasks. And employees benefit even more.
With the right solution, they can use their mobile phone or tablet to facilitate all aspects of travel – from booking flights to getting a taxi – and have receipts from these transactions flow to the application through smooth integration. They can take pictures of paper receipts and upload them to the system while on the go, eliminating the need for paper records altogether.
And when expense report policies are built into the software, employees can quickly create accurate, compliant expense reports that are ready for approval by their manager. The entire expense management process is much faster, more transparent, and less costly.
Keys To Driving Employee Adoption
Three key drivers of employee satisfaction with T&E automation solutions are:
- Integration – Specifically, the degree to which they are integrated with familiar, third-party cloud software such as uber.com and airline and hotel websites. (According to AMI Partners, 73% of firms using automated solutions are integrating their solution with other software)
- Mobility – Specifically, the ease of use through mobile devices. (AMI Partners notes that 60% of users of T&E automation solutions access them using their mobile devices)
- Intelligence – Specifically, to drive automation that ensures exceptions are accurately identified for special handling and data is captured and flowed to the right places (for example, to prepopulate expense reports as transactions occur)