Whether it’s using their personal WiFi network when working from home a few days a week, buying more printer paper for the office printer or driving their own car to a client meeting, employees spend their own money and resources for their jobs all the time. To keep everything fair and ensure no employee is being taken advantage of, your business likely reimburses for such activities using a standardized set of procedures otherwise known as the expense reimbursement process. 

Having an expense reimbursement process in place is important in ensuring all employee expenses are handled the same way, undergoing the same level of scrutiny before a reimbursement is issued. The issue with this, of course, is that all employees also get to experience the same frustrations with this process when it doesn’t run smoothly. 

Across companies of different sizes and belonging to different industries, employees at all levels report some common frustrations with the process they’re forced to navigate if they want to be reimbursed. While a company might consider their expense reimbursement process to be “good enough”, employees may not agree, and as you’ll see, if you take steps to improve the process, the benefits go beyond employee satisfaction. 

What “Good Enough” Looks Like

Long Wait Times

It’s understandable that processing an expense report will take at least a little bit of time. Expense fraud and mistakes caused by human error are an all too common occurrence, so it’s wise for companies to spend some time reviewing employee expenses to ensure they meet the guidelines set by your expense policy. That being said, it doesn’t take much for the process to get backed up, causing employees to wait several weeks to finally be reimbursed. When wait times are long, this can cause serious problems for employees who may find themselves pinching pennies until they’re eventually paid back. 

Confusing Policies

There is a fine balance between creating an expense policy that’s too vague and too confusing, and more often than not, companies wind up on the confusing side. When your policy contains multiple per diem rates that seem to conflict with one another, different methods for reporting different types of expenses or unclear guidelines regarding disallowed expenses, employees are bound to make mistakes. These mistakes both delay the expense reimbursement process and frustrate employees who may feel like they aren’t being properly compensated. 

Numerous Errors and Mistakes

Whether it’s the fault of unclear policies or simply that clerical errors are bound to happen when a system involves several instances of information exchanging hands, the mistakes that litter the expense reimbursement process at most companies cause headaches at all stages. It could be a manager losing a receipt an employee submitted, an employee having a report returned because corrections are required or the accounting department issuing a reimbursement for the wrong amount—these kinds of mistakes can make the whole process feel futile when they occur too often. 

What “Amazing” Looks Like

How do you take an arduous expense reimbursement process from “good enough” to “amazing”? Simple: automation. With the help of technology, you’ll be able to move this traditionally paper-based process to a digital environment, allowing you to keep information more organized and ensure accessibility for everyone. When you welcome automation, this is what the process will look like:

Reimbursement Management On-the-Go

Typically, employee expenses occur outside of the office, so it makes the most sense to have a digital system that allows the expense reimbursement process to start from anywhere. Then, employees can simply pull up an app on their smartphones where they can report travel, submit receipts and receive updates about their reimbursement claims. When reimbursement management is able to happen on-the-go, the process can start earlier (before someone has a chance to lose any documentation) and give employees more visibility throughout. 

Streamline Approval Workflows

Part of what makes expense reimbursement workflows so complicated is the mistakes employees are known to make that delay the process. A digital expense reimbursement process both reduces the number of mistakes employees will be able to make and makes it easier to catch mistakes when they do. For example, an employee won’t be able to submit an expense report without including a copy of a receipt, and if you’re using an app to track mileage, they won’t be able to accidentally report commuting mileage in their odometer readings. Moreover, you can flag certain behaviors so you’ll be alerted if an employee, for instance, submits a duplicate expense report or exceeds the daily per diem rate. 

Faster Reimbursement Payments 

One of the most important improvements automation can make to your expense reimbursement process is the amount of time it saves. Submitting an expense report only takes a few minutes, and employees can be confident that it will be received by the right person. Supervisors, managers and anyone else responsible for review and approval will automatically receive reports when it’s their turn in the approval process. Once approved, they’re automatically sent along to the next stage. When it’s time to issue a reimbursement payment, the ability to integrate with your company’s accounting or payroll system ensures no bottleneck will exist in the process. Payments are seamlessly issued. 

Make “Amazing” Happen With CompanyMileage

When you automate the expense reimbursement process, the benefits for your business will be numerous. Employees will spend significantly less time documenting and submitting expense reports, inaccuracies or expense fraud will essentially be eliminated, and the overall process will run much more efficiently. If you want to see these benefits for yourself, our expense reimbursement software, SureMileage (along with its sister products, SureExpense and SureMobile), will help your company automate and streamline the reimbursement process.

On our platform, employees are able to log trips, save receipts and submit reports in just a few minutes right from their mobile devices. Once submitted, expense reports automatically move through your approval workflow. You have the freedom to structure the approval process to best suit your business; our system even integrates with all major accounting and payroll platforms. From start to finish, managing expenses is a simple, automated process. Request a demo today and join hundreds of other organizations who have already automated and simplified their expense reimbursement process with SureMileage.