We talk a lot about the benefits of your business going paperless, but let's have a look at one particular area where going paper-free can have major benefits: expense management.
No matter where your organisation currently stands in its digital transformation journey, there are unignorable benefits that can be gained from switching to a totally paper-free expensing process. So, let's take a closer look at how you can implement paperless expenses and enjoy a wide range of benefits.
How do paperless expenses work?
Paper-free expense management is exactly what it sounds like on the tin. Using self-service HR software with an easy-to-use mobile app, employees can use their phone as a receipt scanner and instantly photograph and upload their expense receipts or upload relevant documents to the cloud. Once uploaded to the expense tracking and management software, the expenses can be instantaneously approved by line managers. The calculations are automatically processed and assigned to the employee for reimbursement, all within the same software. This means that employees can be quickly and accurately reimbursed every time. It's just as simple as using a company credit card, but far more secure!
The time-saving and efficiency-boosting benefits of paper-free expense management software may already be clear, but let's delve deeper into the key advantages of using cloud-based and app-enabled expenses.
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Reduced risk of lost or damaged receipts
When your business relies on keeping copies of physical receipts there's a high likelihood of loss or damage, introducing uncertainty and time delays into the expenses process.
Receipts may be unintentionally lost or misplaced by employees. For example, if the expenses are incurred on business trips abroad or while the employee is working remotely and will not return immediately to the office, there's a high risk of lost receipts. Records of their business-related expenses may also be damaged and become illegible after being carried around for days or weeks, making it a challenge to accurately reimburse the business expenses.
Once employees have submitted their receipts to managers or HR professionals, the risks of loss or damage continue. No matter how effective your filing system may be, there's always the possibility that receipts will be filed incorrectly or lost throughout the regular processes. Plus, receipts are prone to fading and damage, which means relying on physical copies leaves much room for inaccuracy and mistakes.
For this reason, using a mobile app for instant receipt scanning and uploading to the cloud is the best solution. Employees can use their own phone as a receipt scanner, quickly and securely uploading all relevant information to the HR system as digital copies as soon as possible. This means that physical copies can be discarded because there is a permanent and reliable record of the expenses already logged in the expense management software. There's no more risk of damage or loss of documents in or outside of the office -- the software holds all information about business and travel expenses and categorises them appropriately for easy access.
Time savings for HR professionals
Transitioning to using expense management software brings major time savings for HR teams. In fact, our research has found that using best-in-class expense management and accounting software can cut expense processing time by up to 70%!
The whole process of expense tracking, management, approval, and reimbursement is streamlined and simplified using powerful HR software. Automated workflows instantly notify the relevant individuals for approvals when expenses are logged. Once approved, automated reimbursement is carried out so that employees can receive their money as quickly as possible alongside their next paycheck. This can save hundreds of hours for HR, eliminating the time spent filing expense claims, chasing approvals, and answering questions from impatient team members. With these major time savings, HR pros are free to focus on their more important, strategic tasks that drive value for the business.
And the time savings don't end with managing employees' wages and payslips. HR and expense management software with in-built reporting and analytics features can save dozens of hours with automated custom expense reports. With the software pulling data from expense processing, HR teams can gain greater insights into expense costs, historical trends, and even forecast future expense trends with AI-powered analytics capabilities. Armed with instant and AI-enhanced expense reports at their fingertips, HR managers can take greater control of expense tracking and management.
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Swift and accurate reimbursement means happy employees
So far we've focused on the benefits of paper-free expense management for human resources teams, but employees can also benefit significantly from super-efficient paperless expenses. From the moment they open the intuitive app to upload a receipt image onto the HR system to the rapid approvals and swift reimbursement, employees can feel more empowered and confident throughout the process.
No more waiting around for expenses to be acknowledged, let alone approved, months down the line; employees can track the progress of their expense claims through the easy-to-use self-service portal and feel in control of their expenses process.
Improving the speed, accuracy, and transparency of the expenses and approval process can have a major impact on employee experience and satisfaction. No longer feeling at the mercy of delays from the finance and HR departments, employees can feel confident that their expenses will be redeemed swiftly and accurately.
Simplified compliance with an easy audit trail
Paperless expenses also simplify compliance by providing an easy-to-follow audit trail. Every stage of the expenses and approvals process is accurately recorded, providing an accurate and transparent documentation trail. This aids compliance with all relevant expense policies and regulatory requirements and even simplifies the audit process for faster and more efficient auditing.
Streamlined and accurate expense reporting
Traditional expense management using paper and manual calculations runs a high risk of human errors and oversights. Going paperless with expense management software allows organisations to eliminate manual errors for total accuracy in data entry and calculations. By automating calculations and expense reporting, the HR software ensures accuracy throughout the process and eliminates the time wasted fixing errors and discrepancies.
Finally, using HR software to manage expenses means your organisation can enjoy enhanced security compared to a traditional paper-based system. We've already mentioned the high risk of losing or misfiling documents with paper-based expenses, but physical receipts can also be stolen or tampered with.
Self-service HR software provides a secure digital environment for storing and managing expenses. Encryption, access controls, and user authentication ensure that sensitive expense data is only accessible by the right people. This heightened security provides organisations with peace of mind and protects sensitive financial information from unauthorised access.
Who benefits from paperless expenses?
Now that we've explained some of the key benefits of paperless expenses with expense management software, let's take a look at some use cases.
Large organisations which operate across multiple locations, countries, and currencies need an effective expense management process. With expenses being submitted from various locations and in different currencies, it's essential that expense reports and calculations can be managed accurately in a centralised database. Paperless self-service expense management software allows businesses operating on a global scale to simplify the expenses process, automate calculations across currencies, and facilitate compliance across various regulations and standards.
Non-profits may have large paid or volunteer workforces for whom rapid and accurate expense processing is essential. With powerful HR software expense management is streamlined and accurate, ensuring a better volunteer and employee experience for all. Moreover, the secure and accurate documentation trail supports non-profits' compliance with all relevant regulations for total accountability throughout the process.
Although small and medium-sized enterprises may have smaller workforces, limited resources, and budget constraints mean that cost savings throughout the expenses process are essential. Paperless expenses with HR software provide an efficient and cost-effective solution for medium and small businesses to reduce the administrative burden on overworked HR teams. Furthermore, remote and hybrid-working SMEs can benefit especially from paperless expenses because there may be long periods between expenses being incurred and employees being able to present receipts in the office. With instant upload to the cloud from a mobile device, even fully remote teams can ensure that expenses are managed effectively and quickly every time.
XCD's mobile expenses app
At XCD, we've helped our clients achieve major time savings and improved efficiency using our time tracking and expense management software. Offering intuitive self-service with the handy mobile app, powerful workflow and calculation automation, advanced security and audit trails, and even real-time AI-powered data analytics, the XCD HR and payroll software is the ultimate solution to your time and expenses troubles. Expense reporting, timesheets, payroll and tax calculations, and much more... all in one place!