Anyone who travels for business knows that tracking, logging and reporting expenses has long been one of the most tedious aspects of professional work life. And like just about everything, the process for doing so has taken on a number of various forms over the years.
The earliest generation of expense management consisted largely of filling out forms, first on paper and then apps such as Excel. The second generation welcomed apps designed specifically for expense management as a part of enterprise resource management [ERP] software that was at least slightly more intuitive than the old spreadsheet methods.
The latest generation has seen expense management make its way to mobile devices. Although employees still needed to manually enter and submit their expense reports and wait a period of time before finding out if their claims would be accepted by management.
While the process of keeping track of expenses is necessary, these methods are laborious and time consuming for employees. It’s not uncommon for employees to avoid the process for as long as possible before realizing a month or two has elapsed.
Employee-First: The Next Generation of Expense Management
Today’s modern wave of expense management technology leverages data and context powered by artificial intelligence to deliver a superior experience. They do so from within apps that users are already familiar with, such as email, Slack, WhatsApp and so on.
Take business travel expenses as an example. Today it’s very common for employees to have invoices for flights and hotel bookings sent to their email inbox. Using an email add-on for platforms such as Microsoft Outlook or Google Gmail, employees can automatically extract journey and invoice details in seconds with the simple click of a button. It can also auto-fill the categories necessary for an expense report, making for an easy reporting system for employees. This removes the need for them to fill out multiple spreadsheets or click through the various windows in outdated expense management or ERP software.
For employees, this can feel like a godsend. They know they can track and report all of their expenses with a few simple clicks. And this removes the feeling of dread they might feel as the end of each month approaches and expense reports are due. In fact, expense reporting becomes second nature over time because the task is done and dusted in just a few seconds.
Eliminating Time-Consuming Back-and-Forth
Tracking and reporting business expenses isn’t the only tedious part of the process. Oftentimes employees need to engage in lengthy back-and-forth conversations with managers or decision-makers who may nitpick over various expenses in their report.
Modern expense management technology eliminates this exercise as well, as it allows businesses to preset parameters based on company policies. If, for example, company policy says that employees with a “director” title or above can book flights in business class, those with a lower title will automatically be denied the expense request at the time of a business class booking. There is no longer a need to wait until a manager has time to review the expense report, only to find out that a claim has been denied.
Another way this improves the employee experience is it ensures that workers are reimbursed in a much more timely manner. Since expenses are approved and denied in real-time, there is no need to wait for approval for each expense, and then wait again to be reimbursed.
Translating an Improved Employee Experience to the Bottom Line
For businesses, there are a number of ways using modern expense management to create a better employee experience and help boost the bottom line:
- It saves employees time. When team members aren’t bogged down by mundane tasks such as collecting receipts, manually logging them and submitting expense reports the old-fashioned way, it frees them up to do more valuable work. This not only makes them feel their time is more valuable, but it also helps improve productivity across the organization.
- It encourages timely and more accurate reporting. Manual expense management is an activity that most employees dread, meaning they’re apt to put it off until the last possible minute. With a system that is easy to use and automated, expense reporting happens almost instantly, which significantly reduces the likelihood of errors in reporting.It promotes compliant behavior. As businesses set up custom protocols to automatically ensure that employee expenses are made aware in real-time about company policies, which results in a timely response to the nature of exceptions. This virtually eliminates the opportunity for fraudulent claims, accidental errors or otherwise.
- It reduces the cost of filing expense reports. With a centralized system that tracks and reports employee expenses in real-time, businesses save themselves from the time-consuming and ultimately costly man hours it can take to ensure claims are accurate.
- It provides improved analytics. Accurate and timely expense data gives businesses deeper insight faster, helping them make quick and intelligent decisions that help with the bottom line. For example, decision makers can quickly see which vendors are used most often by employees, giving them an opportunity to negotiate discounts.
While there are expense management tools on the market that aim to help make the entire process easier, Fyle is the first to truly enhance the employee experience with an AI-powered platform enabling employees to quickly and easily report expenses where they are. This includes on their mobile device, within their email inbox, popular apps such as Slack and WhatsApp, or via an extension of the world’s most popular web browser, Google Chrome. Businesses that implement the platform will find that it not only improves the employee experience and in turn boosts team morale, it positively impacts the bottom line as well.
Fyle is the next-generation spend management platform for businesses that employees actually love using. Fyle delivers continuous compliance and recurring cost savings with an AI-powered policy engine that reduces human effort in processing expense reports. The platform comes with plugins that make the entire process of “fyling” an expense similar to liking a post on Facebook. Fyle links email, consumer apps and other platforms to simplify recording, sharing and processing of expenses and invoices within an organization. With Fyle, users can capture their spend data the moment they complete the transaction with a single click. It’s that easy.