Tuesday 14 January 2020

*GUEST BLOG* Expenses: A New Year’s Resolution

It’s not just shopping that’s left until the last-minute at Christmas. Finance departments around the globe battle with a huge influx of last-minute expenses submitted in the run up to the holiday season. Now in January, most of us are over that hurdle but this is the time to put some better practice in place to avoid a repeat in 2020.

December has traditionally always been a busy month for expense management and while it’s not necessarily difficult to understand why, especially for frequent business travellers, this bad practice leads to an increased workload for finance departments and approvers and puts an unnecessary strain on end of year accounting. 

Many organisations’ expense policies determine that all expenses must be submitted, approved and reimbursed by 31st December to sit comfortably within the year they were spent and allow for better budget management going into the new year. 

So why do so many of us leave it to the last-minute? For road-warriors particularly, those who spend a lot of time travelling and thus build up a huge amount of expenses, dedicating time to filing expense reports can be a chore. It takes time away from the day job or eats into personal time; it’s often a laborious task so for many, gets pushed back time and again. Before you know it, the end of the year is upon us, and the pressure of expense submission deadlines looming. Quite like the last-minute panic buying before the festivities, everybody rushes at the same time to ensure compliance. 

Don’t let it happen again this year! It doesn’t have to be this way. Managing your expenses on-the-go is a much more time and cost-effective way for everybody; traveller, approver, finance department and the organisation as a whole. Traveldoo Expense is an app that offers simple, fast management of expense reports, wherever you are. It’s flexible and intuitive – and can save the dreaded hassle of the last-minute race for expense submission. 

With the Traveldoo Expense app, you can automate expense claim management; geolocate and record expenses quickly and easily in real time; scan receipts and attach them to expenses or save them for later in your e-wallet. It also allows you to check, validate and track expense reports from anywhere in the world at any given time and integrates into accounting and HR systems - it even has voice comment for considerable time saving. 

One of the main benefits of Travel Expense is Optical Character Recognition (OCR), which allows digital devices to turn photos of handwritten or printed paper documents into machine-readable text.

The advantages to OCR technology for business travellers is obvious – for example, when you’re travelling and receives a receipt for a meal, you simply create a new expense line in the app and use your smartphone to take a picture of the paper receipt; the expenses software will then read the text on the receipt with all the details of the restaurant or other vendor and the bill amount.

All you have to do is check that the OCR software has read all the details correctly, make any necessary edits and then approve it. The expense can then be submitted to your employer then and there. If there are any subsequent queries or checks needed, all the receipt images are stored within the expenses app. No more 
December expense rush. 

Breaking the cycle of last-minute expense submission allows for better forward planning in finance departments for the year ahead. It would free up a significant amount of time through December to focus on January and Q1 as opposed to wrapping up expense claims that could have been handled more efficiently. At Traveldoo we always recommend managing expenses on-the-go, in real-time - it’s less hassle for everybody.  

Our data over the last four years shows significant peaks in December as travellers rush to submit expense reports before the Christmas period hits. It puts unnecessary pressure on the organisation and becomes a stress factor for the traveller. Traveldoo Expense app solution can negate all of that.

You may well be reading this knowing you are guilty of fuelling the pre-Christmas expense rush, as you think back a few weeks to your stack of unclaimed travel expense receipts - perhaps a new resolution for this year’s expense management is in order to get you off Santa’s naughty list in 2020?

This blog post was written for Business Travel Show by Stéphane Donders, CEO at Traveldoo. Traveldoo will be exhibiting at this year's Business Travel Show, register for a free visitor pass at www.businesstravelshow.com and visit them on stand B940 this February.

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