Your corporate travelers are the face of your company, representing you far and wide. But when you fail to reimburse them in a timely, fair and efficient manner, you could be paying a high price indeed.
Getting employees their travel expense reimbursements in a timely manner appears to have different meaning for different companies. Research from the benchmarking company of APQC found reimbursements from companies with the fastest turnaround time come in four days or fewer. Companies with the lengthiest turnaround time make employees wait nine days or more for their reimbursements.
Reimbursement Processing Costs
You’ll also find enormous disparity in the amount of money companies spend to process their T&E expenses. Companies paying the most spend at least 0.04 percent of their revenue every year, or $89,000, just for processing costs. Those paying the least spend no more than 0.01 percent of their annual revenue, or $50,000, for processing costs. Processing costs include salaries and benefits, systems and overhead required to get the job done.
The biggest hit companies take is not necessarily the high processing costs. It’s the disgruntled employees. Filing expense reports is often one of the most distressing tasks on any traveling employees’ list – and it becomes even more worrisome if they miss the deadline.
A missed deadline can mean an even longer wait for their reimbursements or, in the worst case scenarios, no reimbursements at all. And employees who feel they’re treated unfairly are not the best representatives for you to send out on the road.
Solution of Automation
An easy fix does exist, and you can find it in the growing array of cloud-based technologies designed to significantly reduce both your turnaround time and processing costs.
Expense management software can streamline the entire process, from expense documentation to submission, from reimbursement processing to actual payouts.
Add clear policies to the mix and the software can additionally reduce the potential for expense fraud, which is all too easy to achieve in a lax T&E system.
Highlights of a streamlined system can include:
Workflow automation: Automating the workflow frees up finance staff to focus on other priorities. Many expense management software platforms let companies customize permissions and allowances for different employee levels and destinations. Many also accept scanned receipts and can be programmed to flag out-of-the-ordinary charges for auditing.
Clear expense policies with written guidelines: This can help create a culture of accountability where workers know what’s expected of them – and are keen on following it. Including parameters for booking and paying for travel, and what vendors to use, can open the door to negotiating discounts and rewards with various travel service providers.
Automated travel booking systems: Here all individual charges can be moved into a centralized system, providing easy opportunity for data analytics. Reports can help you pinpoint hotel and flight choices as well as department or employee trends when it comes cancelling flights, booking at the last minute or other travel-related behaviors.
While T&E automation can save your company time and money, it can also do much more. It can help you create a feasible travel policy that keeps employees honest, satisfied and reimbursed at a faster speed.
Let Chrome River’s expense report software help you achieve all of the above.
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.