It’s a safe bet that all or most of your employees have a smartphone on their person at all times. While this has no doubt caused frustration as workers have such an accessible distraction at their fingertips during staff meetings, it can also be a useful tool if you need to track employees. Every smartphone has location tracking, so using an employee GPS tracking app is a relatively simple solution to managing your field employees. At least, it seems like it would be. 

Using GPS-enabled apps to track mileage and activity throughout the day, as well as provide the information for mileage reimbursements, has several inherent problems once you take a closer look at them. In particular they are unable to perform as your business needs them to.

An Employee GPS Tracking App Doesn’t:

Know the Difference Between Business and Personal Travel

Yes, you’ll be able to easily monitor where your employees have gone throughout their workday and which clients and locations they have visited, but it’s very easy for personal travel to sneak past you when you review all travel for all employees. If, during the day employees decide to run a couple of errands such as running by the bank and picking up their kids from school, this travel will get wrapped up in their work-related travel. 

This means you’ll be reimbursing for travel that didn’t benefit your business in any way. When this happens every now and then, it’s not such a big deal, but when business and personal travel is constantly being conflated, these reimbursement expenses will add up across your organization. 

Calculate Mileage for the Most Direct Route

One of the ways that an employee GPS tracking app can disguise non work-related mileage is by not providing guidance to employees for the most direct route to get to their destination. Usually, these apps are more concerned with monitoring activities and managing timesheets and completely neglect a key element of employees working in the field: their travel. 

When employees are not provided with guidance on which route to take – and they know they are reimbursed for every work-related mile – it becomes very advantageous for them to take a little detour to their favorite coffee shop or restaurant. All you’ll see of their travel is their mileage logs, which don’t paint a clear picture of all of the places they’ve traveled throughout the day. 

Integrate With Your Reimbursement Processes

Regardless of how your business is structured, your expense reimbursement process should consist of several key steps. Employees need to keep track of any expenses they make throughout a period, including saving receipts and keeping an updated mileage log with recorded odometer readings. Then, with this information, they can submit an expense report to their manager or supervisor. These expense reports go through an approval process in which at least two people review expenses and check for errors in reporting before giving their approval and sending it to accounting. At this point, an accounting administrator can issue a reimbursement payment to an employee. 

When you’re using an employee GPS tracking app, your organization is still performing all or most of this process manually using paper reports and in-person handoff. This means that human error is still a huge factor in your processes, costing you money in a number of ways such as: approving duplicate reimbursement requests, approving inflated trip mileage or approving out-of-policy expenses. 

Secure Valuable Client Data

If you’re using an app to track employees as they visit clients, then private client information such as names, addresses and contact information will invariably be stored in your database. This can be especially problematic for those working in healthcare since your clients’ private health information (PHI) is protected and regulated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). 

If your organization (and the software you’re using) fail to abide by HIPAA regulations for the security of PHI outlined in the HIPAA Security Rule, you could be subject to lawsuits and even criminal charges. In fact, your “Business Associates” – entities that provide third-party services to Covered Entities – must sign a Business Associates Agreement (BAA). This agreement serves as a written contract that specifies each party’s responsibilities when it comes to PHI.

Even if securing PHI is not a concern for your organization, protecting client information should always be a priority for you. Your clients may not even be aware that their personal information is being stored by your employee GPS tracking app, or even that such an application exists. We’ve seen enough security breaches in the last decade to know how damaging it can be if one of your software tools exposes your clients to undue risk. 

What Can CompanyMileage Do?

SureMileage – along with our SureMobile app and SureExpense – was developed by CompanyMileage to find a new solution to tracking employees and managing the reimbursement process. Rather than verifying the miles driven, SureMileage calculates the expenses to be reimbursed by finding the most direct route from point A to point B of a trip. The entire process is automated. Employees simply check in at the beginning and end of each trip, and at the end of each day, they use this data to submit expense reports. The process is easy, taking just a few minutes.

Our system manages approval workflows, so expense reports never get stuck along the way. Supervisors can also use SureMileage to monitor employee schedules and their time management throughout workdays. You can have the system flag activities such as submission of duplicated reimbursements or when mileage limits are exceeded, taking the onus off of supervisors to catch errors. 

Working closely with your accounting and payroll teams, CompanyMileage builds a custom integration to your accounting and payment solutions. That way, once reimbursement has been authorized, there’s no gap between that decision and payment being issued. The entire process will move along smoothly. You’ll rest assured that your data will be protected every step of the way with data encryption, a BAA agreement and extensive security policies. 

CompanyMileage has taken the original concept of an employee GPS tracking app and addressed the existing flaws. The result is a system that not only allows you to manage your employees in the field with ease, but it also saves you money along the way. Request a demo with us today and learn how SureMileage saves 20-30% on mileage expense reimbursement costs.