Madness can be defined both “a state of frenzied or chaotic activity” and as “extremely foolish behavior.” And madness, the frenzied activity, is what professionals responsible for expense tracking are faced with every month, all on account of some extremely foolish behavior. End-of-month expense submissions are foolish for everyone involved in expense tracking, but still they continue. It takes an automated solution to smooth the process and stop the madness.

There is all manner of advice out there about expense tracking: Keep your receipts in one place; itemize them quickly; total your expenses weekly. So why is it that people wait until the last minute to prepare and make their submissions?

When an expense management leader worked with Forrester Consulting to “explore the disruption occurring in the travel and expenses space and evaluate how financial leaders are responding,” an online survey and interviews with financial leaders led to key findings including:

Expense tools must match the tech that employees’ use in personal lives. “Employees are embracing new digital capabilities in their personal lives to make purchases, and they now expect their employers to support those same capabilities as they relate to employee-generated spending,” according to the study report.

Empowering employees is key to effective travel and expense reimbursement. “Companies are looking,” the report said, “for solutions that simplify the T&E process for employees by reducing the number of manual steps and giving employees new tools (such as mobile connectivity to T&E solutions) to help monitor their spending more efficiently.”

Many organizations continue to rely on time-worn procedures for dealing with end-of-month submissions. They’re still collecting receipts, organizing submissions, enforcing policies, and using spreadsheets to track data. Spreadsheets like Excel fail miserably for expense tracking, and fail even more miserably when time pressures increase. Why?

Expense. Excel is for recording and sharing information, not automating processes.

Errors. It’s been estimated that 90 percent of spreadsheets contain errors. Creators of Excel spreadsheets have very little control over who can edit formula cells.

Fraud. Typical organizations lose 5 percent of revenues each year to fraud. Frauds related to expense reimbursements were reported in 2014 by 13.1 percent of large companies and 16.5 percent of smaller ones.

Security. Sharing spreadsheets by email makes them vulnerable to unauthorized access and alteration.

Visibility. Excel can help a small business track expenses, but it can’t integrate with corporate and accounting systems and it can’t provide complete availability and accessibility of expense data.

Speeding expense tracking through automation

SureMileage by Company Mileage addresses the shortcomings of processes typically associated with expense tracking because it automates travel expense management with an entirely new approach.

Employees report their starting points and destinations and the system calculates the driving distance between them. So, rather than verifying the miles that were driven, it calculates the expenses to be reimbursed. Once travel data goes into SureMileage, it becomes a travel and expense reimbursement solution in which supervisors can review and approve expenses and send them to Accounting for reimbursement.

It’s an end-to-end solution that solves a business problem – and stops the end-of-the-month madness.