Paper based employee expense systems should be a thing of the past

HMRC do not require organisations to keep hard copies of receipts for the purposes of bookkeeping and audit, providing the information is captured and stored electronically. This has created another ideal opportunity for companies of all sizes to reduce paper and make efficiency gains.

Expense management is no exception. It is estimated that despite the surge in the use of online accounting systems, there are still hundreds of thousands of businesses still using paper and spreadsheets to manage their expenses.

We can all imagine the common scenario: A huge stack of receipts at the end of the month with no memory of what they were for!

Technology can now be used to make the expenses process both automated and seamless, something that has been made more than possible as a result of the ongoing advances in digital imaging, smart phone applications and the adoption of cloud computing. We can now scan our receipts when we get them and save them to the cloud for access anywhere, anytime.

But expense management applications take that process a number of steps further by associating an image of a receipt with an individual expense item (e.g. a business lunch with a customer). Once the receipt has been stored electronically, it can be thrown away. 

Approval is online. A person’s manager can see a person’s receipts and approve or reject accordingly. The expenses information can then be exported into an accounting package where people can be paid, money reconciled and invoices sent out. A company’s accountant can also have access to the expenses system for auditing purposes.

Expense management applications remove the need to fill out spreadsheets and send paper copies through the mail system. These systems are ideal for companies who have a central office with a number of satellite offices because the expense creation, submission and approval process can all be done electronically and online, saving so much time and effort.

Ultimately, online and mobile expense management solutions help companies save time on mundane administrative tasks so employees can focus on their core jobs. When it comes to automating business admin tasks, this is precisely what using today’s technology is all about.