When it comes to running a vibrant business, efficiency is absolutely the name of the game. Well, presumably it isn’t actually the name of the organization you run, but it might as well be. One way to make sure your internal operations stay as streamlined as possible is through the implementation of an approval workflow system, a digital tool that helps organizations automate and streamline approval processes. 

These systems help your business set a concrete standard for whatever is being reviewed, helps approvers understand their part in the approval process, and simplifies communication. You may have already implemented some kind of systematic approval workflow to address other areas of your business such as when dealing with contracts or hiring new employees, but one process that will surely benefit from such a system is expense management. Using an approval workflow system to review and approve employee reimbursement claims will dramatically improve your organization’s approval process. 

The Benefits of Implementing an Approval Workflow System for Employee Expense Reimbursement

So what exactly does your business stand to gain from utilizing an approval workflow system for reimbursing your organization’s employees? 

Increased Efficiency

If someone needs to add up a string of numbers very quickly, would you have more faith in the answer they found by using a paper and pen or by using a calculator? The calculator, of course. Likewise, no manager or supervisor will ever be as organized and efficient as a digital solution specifically created to process approvals and move them along in a structured workflow. By automating your reimbursement approval process, approvals will become more systematic, the odds of expense reports getting lost or misplaced will dwindle, and your employees will be reimbursed much faster, with less direct input required from you.

Improved Accuracy

Another thing an automatic approval workflow ensures is that all approvers are on the same page, because they’re all seeing the same documents, in the same place, in the same system. As well as centralizing information, using a digital workflow also reduces the chance for errors, as automated solutions are often programmed to catch data errors and duplicated entries. To further ensure that no step in the process slips through the cracks, you can also set up multi-step approval workflows.

More Accountability

Having an automated, reliable approval workflow in place creates greater accountability within anyone who uses this workflow. Because a digital workflow system nearly eliminates the chance for human error, approvers will be more likely to spot instances where employees submitted duplicate claims or tried to fudge their numbers. If your employees know that someone is likely to notice errors or attempts at fraud, they’ll be much less likely to try and sneak something by.

Builds Trust with Employees

Your employees trust that they will be quickly and efficiently reimbursed for the business miles and other work-related expenses, and a digital reimbursement approval system helps build and reinforce that trust. Employees who have to fill out and submit expense reports that need to get pushed through a manual system dependent on hundreds of individual factors may feel confused about the process and how it works. 

If your approval process is inefficient or slow, or too circuitous, your employees worry about what actually happens with their claim after it’s submitted, and when they’ll actually receive their reimbursement. A well structured approval workflow system gives them reassurance that something well-organized and concrete is happening with their claim, and that they can expect reimbursement at the end of it. 

How Should You Structure Your Expense Reimbursement Approval Workflow? 

Let’s assume that you’ve realized what an asset an approval workflow system could be for how your organization handles employee expense reimbursement. What comes next? Once you set this system in place, how do you figure out a workflow structure that best suits your business? 

Before you address your workflow structure, zoom out and take a look at the company who will be using it. The best rule of thumb is that your reimbursement approval workflow depends on how your organization as a whole is organized.

A popular structure often seen in businesses that utilize an approval workflow system looks something like this: 

  • First, employees submit expense reports to their direct supervisor to review. If the supervisor finds an error or problem with the report, they can return it to the employee for correction or resolution. 
  • Once the employee’s supervisor approves the report, but before it’s sent along to the accounting or finance department, it’s recommended to have another party, such as a manager or a department head, review the report. 
  • Once the report has been received by accounting or finance, have someone in that department approve the reimbursement claim before issuing the payment to the employee who originally submitted the claim. 

CompanyMileage Makes Expense Reimbursement Approval a Breeze

Automating the way your organization handles expense reimbursement by implementing an approval workflow system is a great way to optimize your company’s time management, productivity, and compliance, as well as help reduce fraud. CompanyMileage and its suite of expense reimbursement software makes automation even simpler, especially when it comes to reimbursing employees for their business mileage. 

Our unique system uses point-to-point distance calculation to calculate mileage, ensuring that employees report accurate business mileage without having to record and submit odometer readings. Our platform also lets employees take photos of receipts, add notes to entries, and submit reports with just a few simple clicks on their mobile devices. 

Then those submitted reports move seamlessly through our automated workflow. Our system is also highly customizable, so you have the freedom to structure the approval process in whatever way best suits your organization. CompanyMileage’s products also easily integrate with all major payroll and accounting systems, to further streamline the process of issuing reimbursement payments once they’ve been approved. 

Contact CompanyMileage today for a free demo, and to see what an automated approval workflow system can do for your business.