Organizations that are mindful of their employees’ time and recognize the need for sophisticated automation in their travel and expense processes have already implemented easy-to-use, mobile-centric solutions for expense management.

While millions of business travelers enjoy the benefits of expense automation, an entire set of people has been largely overlooked: non-employees. This group of external or one-off expense submitters includes job candidates, consultants, contractors and volunteers. Without the aid of automation, these travelers have typically been forced into a traditional, paper and spreadsheets-based expense reporting process.

Read more: Why Does Expense Automation Make Life So Easy?

A manual process creates a number of challenges for both the organization and the individual. The traveler has to keep track of receipts and spend time submitting details for each purchase. Policy compliance must be confirmed manually, one transaction at a time. Exception handling and clarification require considerable back-and-forth between an approver and the finance team. A new submitter must be set up as a vendor in the accounting system. And most importantly, these manual steps result in painfully slow reimbursement. It can take as long as four to six weeks after expense submission before a paper check arrives.

This wait can bring about a predicament for contractors or consultants, and potential financial distress for interviewees or unpaid volunteers. Also, during periods of low unemployment like the current one, highly-qualified applicants have more leverage, and could easily be turned off by waiting over a month to be reimbursed for their interview expenses.

Related: Improving Your Travel & Expense Policy Can Help Retain Your Best Staff

Abacus REACH is a simple, user-friendly expense management solution for external business travelers. It provides the same streamlined workflows for the non-employee travel and expense process as Chrome River EXPENSE does for your employees, plus quick and easy provisioning for first-time or temporary users.

The benefits of REACH begin as soon as you need to onboard a non-employee. Recruiters and HR personnel can simply generate an email invitation for external users with app download and account set-up details. After they download the REACH app, travelers can create an account and add bank details in just 60 seconds, removing the admin burden from the finance department and saving time for everyone involved.

REACH guides users through the easy steps to reimbursement. Pre-trip, travelers forward their air travel and hotel confirmation emails to their receipt “wallet” in the app. While traveling, they can snap and upload pictures of receipts as they buy meals and incur other expenses, and REACH’s powerful receipt transcription technology will extract relevant information like merchant, date, amount and VAT. Users can then submit transactions in real time, and the system will enforce travel and spending rules, preventing accidental or intentional policy violations.

REACH allows travelers to start and complete the expense process without any delays. After the app processes expenses according to your unique approval workflow, users can receive direct deposit reimbursement to their chosen bank account as quickly as 24 hours after submission.

If you’d like to eliminate the need for non-employee travelers to front the bill at all, you can issue them physical or virtual Emburse cards right from REACH to streamline the process even further. Your organization can configure Emburse cards with granular rules about where, when and how much travelers can spend. Then you can enable automatic approval based on set thresholds, and schedule cards and REACH accounts for deactivation.

That’s non-employee expenses done the quick, easy and flexible way. REACH moves job candidates and other external groups away from an inefficient, paper-based expense process that gives them and your finance team tedious chores.

Schedule a demonstration with our experts so you can see how REACH lets business flow.


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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. Sally Abella, Director of Corporate Travel Harman International
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. Ben Zastrow Zelle

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