As much as expense reports are despised, they are a necessary element of today’s increasingly mobile workforce. Surprisingly, even in the paperless 21st century, most companies process paper expense reports and expect employees to mail-in the receipts. This manual approach is frustrating, time consuming and wasteful!
With T&E spend hovering between 7% to 15% of the total budget for the average mid-market company ($50MM to $800MM in revenue); the challenges facing CFOs in this area are immense, with millions of dollars at stake! For most companies, travel related expenses remain a significant area of spend – second only to payroll. That’s how huge T&E spend is.
The Problem is Known. But Where to Start?
Most companies know that a manual paper based expense reporting process is painful to manage for the company and inefficient. Yet they struggle to tack action. This is because of not knowing where to start.
Aberdeen Research Group’s report (‘Expense Management for a New Decade and The Mid-Market Expense Management Program’) says that:
- Only 33% leverage cloud-based expense reporting solutions
- 56% of mid-market companies have limited visibility into T&E spending
- Just 15% provide T&E data to C-level executives for financial forecasting purposes
- Only 28% utilize corporate credit cards and integrate the data in T&E systems
Welcome to the Paperless 21st Century
The good news is that economical cloud-based T&E software’s like Gorilla Expense have significantly brought down the cost of automating the expense reporting process. The software provides significant reduction in expense processing costs and removes frustrations for the travelers and accounting teams.
Companies that want to solve T&E pain points must do so by creatively blending strategy, technology, a culture that embraces change and a desire to optimize. By unifying the different moving pieces of the expense reporting process, companies can derive the benefits of cost savings, enhanced productivity, improved efficiencies and better compliance.
By advocating a culture that fosters forward thinking programs and by investing in the latest technology, companies can reap gains and realize immediate ROIs.
What Steps Can I Take Immediately?
– Invest in the latest technology and automate the T&E process to eliminate manual work
Gorilla Expense provides multiple options for users to submit expenses – mobile, web and corporate credit card import. By utilizing the mobile app, the entire expense report can be submitted from the mobile device by the user without having to get in front of a computer!
The advantage for the user is that the expenses are done immediately after incurred along with all the relevant information including expense categorizations and receipts. Since the managers can approve expense reports on the mobile device, their work becomes quick and simple too.
– Integrate the expense data into Dynamics NAV and stop manual data entry
Once the expense report is approved, the most preferable way is to send the data to NAV without having to manually key in the data.
Gorilla Expense’s ‘1-click’ integration can send the data to NAV with a single click! Gorilla Expense integrates with NAV2009 and NAV2013 using webservices and can also integrate with older versions of NAV using flat-files.
The standard and most common integration is to General Journals within NAV. Gorilla Expense can also integrate the data to Job Journals if the expenses are tied to jobs/projects.
Expenses imported into NAV show up as invoices in a batch called ‘GORILLA’ as shown below. Depending on the payment method defined in the Gorilla Expense application, the invoices are created to pay the employee and/or the corporate credit card. Here is a screenshot of the expense data pushed ‘automagically’ to NAV.
The Gorilla Expense Integration App takes the expense report number and appends the transaction number to generate the line items shown and referenced in the ‘Document Number’ column. The vendor of each transaction is mapped to the Description column in this page. This helps with providing greater visibility to the AP Manager. Once these transactions are posted in NAV, the expense data entry process into NAV is complete.
– Educate employees regularly on expense report related policies and processes and appoint a designee for questions from employees
Companies that are serious about tackling the challenges associated with a manual T&E process must provide clear guidelines to employees and communicate them consistently.
When it comes to policies, companies must inform and educate employees about what are considered soft violations, what are hard violations and what are the ramifications for breaking policies. Companies must appoint a designated expert who can answer questions from employees and clarify doubts.
In conclusion, by following these simple steps, companies can derive benefits immediately and make life easier for the road warriors and accounting personnel. Automating the T&E processes does more than just reduce costs. It makes it harder for employees to inflate expenses — and makes it easier for companies to detect fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, up to 13% of company fraud arises in this area, so that’s a huge advantage.
Besides that, the expense reporting time is reduced and employees are reimbursed sooner which is a major boost to morale. Automation typically results in an average 28% reduction in expense approval times and 27% reduction in employee expense report creation times according to the latest Aberdeen Research reports.
Interested in learning more about the benefits of T&E automation? Curious to review the mobile app and manager approval? Want to see the NAV integration in action?