One of the main foundations upon which Chrome River was built was ease-of-use. The process of submitting and reimbursing business expenses was too time-consuming and cumbersome, whether that meant attaching hard copy receipts to spreadsheets, or using complex, unfriendly software. We sought to make that experience effortless – and we succeeded.
Related: Top 10 Perils of Using a Manual Expense Process
Expenses can easily be captured on a smartphone, and sophisticated software can transform receipt images into data-rich expense entries in seconds. Reports can be created in just a couple of clicks, and policy compliance can be automatically enforced prior to submission. When expenses are submitted, they can be routed to the appropriate approvers and authorized for reimbursement within minutes of approval.
In order for all of this automation to occur seamlessly, rules need to be set up on the back end to reflect the corporate expense policy. Approval routings must be configured for each scenario, accommodating different paths based on elements such as amount, business unit, and cost objects. Until recently, all of this configuration needed to be keyed into spreadsheets by Chrome River consultants and then uploaded into the system.
Related: Playing by the Rules: Why Configurability Is Key to Expense Management
During each implementation, we work hand-in-hand with our customers to configure all of these settings in order to ensure the smoothest possible experience for travelers, approvers, and the finance team. However, things invariably change. Perhaps the lunch allowance is increasing across the organization, a new approver is needed for a certain category of expense, or a group of employees is being separated into a new business unit. All of these changes need to be incorporated into the expense system to let business flow.
Historically, live customers would submit support cases in order to enact configuration changes. Sometimes, the cases could bounce back and forth as requirements were clarified. A Chrome River configuration engineer would load the changes to ensure that they did not cause performance issues. A QA engineer would test the changes, because the openness of the spreadsheet approach did not guard against manual errors. Then, our customers would test the changes in QA before we would promote them into production. While this process works, we felt that we could do a better job of empowering our customer administrators to make, test, and promote these changes quickly and effortlessly.
Chrome River EXPENSE customers can now make compliance rule changes directly in the system, while maximizing system performance and minimizing the need for more exhaustive testing efforts. Over the past few months, our product and engineering organizations have been working on an initiative that empowers our customers to do just that. We’re happy to announce that the first phase of our configuration self-service initiative is now live. As part of this move, we’re giving our customers the ability to convert their existing rules over to the new rule builder admin screens. From there, administrators can make changes to those rules or add new rules and publish them to the end-user experience in a matter of seconds.
We’ve started with the compliance rule builder because compliance rules represent a large volume of the changes that our customers request – about a quarter of all requests, in fact. Over the coming months, we’ll be rolling out additional self-service screens in areas such as approval routing, credit card mapping, and export configuration.
In addition to Chrome River solutions being highly configurable, one of our competitive advantages is that they are also customizable, making them extremely attractive to large organizations or those with truly unique requirements. When necessary, our team can often scope and build bespoke rules to extend the system’s functionality. And these custom rules will also be visible, and in some cases configurable, within the admin screens.
As Chrome River grows, proficiency in the self-service admin tools will increase personal career value and growth for Chrome River administrators.
We’re confident that these innovative self-service tools will make Chrome River an even more intuitive and user-friendly solution. By speeding up the configuration change process, our clients will be even more agile as they adapt to changes in their organization. We look forward to announcing additional phases of this initiative that will make the Chrome River experience even more beneficial for our customers and their users.
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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.