If You Don't Automate

For obvious reasons, companies of all sizes need to keep their finances in order with a clear and controlled system. Tax time, audits, financial reports, cross-checking spending – without proper data organization – this becomes an utter nightmare. That’s why products like QuickBooks, Intacct, NetSuite, Xero, MS Dynamics, and many more ERPs and accounting programs exist – each filling their customers’ needs with different capabilities, characteristics, quirks, and charms.

The only major drawback to these programs is that they’re designed to be primarily used by accountants and financial teams. So how do your employees go about submitting timesheets, purchase orders, or especially expense reports? Would it surprise you that many companies still have complicated methods requiring internal forms, receipts being physically attached to paper, and a process of shuffling these stacks of files up the appropriate chain of approvers until finally it lands on some poor accountant’s desk? And then, then administrative team have the fun job of double-checking the reports once more before entering them into their accounting system by hand. Seems a bit time-consuming, doesn’t it? Another word comes to mind: archaic.

This is why many companies have switched to an online reporting solution. On average, it takes around two hours to complete an expense report by spreadsheet. Multiply that by each employee, for each report, and that equates to quite a bit of lost time! However, by switching to electronic management of these forms, employees benefit from a much faster and simplified procedure. Approvers benefit from automatic notifications and direct access to the reports, as well as auto-enforced spending policies. Finally, that overworked accountant benefits from digital receipts and concise data. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Well, when we reach this point – the final step before these approved reports can be processed and then compensated for – we need to get that information into a company’s accounting system. And that, my friends, is where integration comes into play.

Limitless-VideoThere’s another reason why 90% of companies report fewer errors with the reporting process – and that is from also integrating their corporate credit cards with their expense reporting solution. Two thirds of these companies are also benefiting from lower costs to process a single report and much fewer cases of fraud. By bringing charges directly into the system via automated transaction feeds, and mandating that all (or most) business expenses be done on company-issued cards, all the info is laid out for everyone at every step of the way: from the submitter, through the approvers, right to the accounting manager. Nothing gets lost in the shuffle, and the ability to review anyone’s corporate spending is quite literally a couple mouse clicks away. In short: you simplify, you secure, and you save! By integrating a company’s expense reporting system directly with its accounting software, another crucial step is simplified and automated – and with it, the room for human error is minimized. In reality, this step should be a bit of a no-brainer. You’ve gone through the efforts of implementing a simple and streamlined expense reporting system, you’ve got digitized receipts and organized data…why would you not have that feed directly into your ERP and save on workflow? Well, nearly two thirds of the top-performing companies in their field know this and rely on an integrated ERP system to handle their business expenses. Each of those companies benefit by saving a third of the time taken for reimbursement, a third of the costs spent on processing expenses, and by having a third better compliance on corporate spending policies. What’s more: documented processes for submissions and approvals, real-time visibility of spending and budgets, and regular audits of expense reports become simple and standard procedures. This is precisely why ERP integration is favored by best-in-class businesses.

The flow of data is non-stop – that much is inarguable. So why not take advantage of this steady stream of information and make it work for you? By automating these things, the grunt work is taken out of some more tedious tasks, and everyone benefits from more reliable and controllable results. The ability for these systems to handshake with one another and work together is already present, so it only makes sense to get all your proverbial ducks in a row. Choosing the right ERP for your company’s needs and the best expense reporting system may require a bit of research, but once you’ve got your all-stars picked out, get them working together! And don’t forget to bring in your credit card feeds as well. Your employees will benefit from quicker reimbursements. Your approvers will benefit from a streamlined process. Your managers will benefit from less errors and fraud. Your owners will benefit by saving money. And your accountant will benefit by actually being able to see their desk again!