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What is expense management automation?

Expense management automation is a way of enabling an organisation’s employees to submit business expenses using software programs that require little or no manual intervention and involve minimal data entry. Workflows are put in place to enable line managers and finance teams to then process and reimburse these claims in a timely manner.

scan an expense

Expense automation should include several or all of the following features:

Automated expense creation

When an employee books business travel including flights, hotels, trains and cars through an integrated travel and expense management system, expenses should be automatically created from the booking with all information pre-populated. The expense claim then simply requires checking and submitting for reimbursement.

E-receipts

Rather than managing piles of paper receipts, expense management automation allows for the uploading of e-receipts (PDFs, photos of paper receipts) and uses OCR (optional character recognition) technology to populate as much information into the expense line item as possible including cost, VAT, vendor and date.

Credit card integration

If employees have the ability to import expenses directly from a company or personal card, this is another example of expense management automation. Employees should be able to seamlessly import transactions into their expenses system through dedicated card feeds, automatically matching receipts and reconciling relevant spend.

Integration with finance systems

Ideally with expense management automation, you’d connect your expense management system to your accounting systems so that expense claims, once approved, can be automatically reimbursed. Workflows can be set up to auto-pay small claims and add further checks for larger amounts.

Accessible wherever you are

Expense management automation works best if it’s mobile-first and has a dedicated application that allows employees to submit expenses on the go. By photographing and uploading a receipt as soon as the expense is incurred – rather than stockpiling expenses until the end of the month and having to attach to a report – employees can be reimbursed more quickly and finance teams don’t get large and often unexpected expense bills to pay at the end of the month or quarter.

Workflows to assign expenses for approval

Expense management automation also ensures that workflows are in place to ensure approvals are swift and easy to manage. This is achieved by approving expenses in bulk and the ability to reject a single expense without it affecting the rest of the employee’s claims.

Why use expense management automation?

Expense management automation brings employees, line managers and leaders great savings on time that would otherwise be spent in expense claim administration. It brings greater control to finance teams, reduces errors in expense handling and enables robust fraud detection.

Expense management automation also helps employees comply with any expense policies, flagging up errors or concerns.

Finally, for business leaders, using expense management automation with built-in real-time analytics enables them to drill down into business expenses and understand their contribution to won opportunities, campaigns, retained customers and more.

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