For companies with employees who travel for work using their own vehicle and on their own dime, the reimbursement process is a frustrating but unavoidable part of work. From recording mileage, saving receipts, filling out travel expense reports and submitting them for approval, the process can become very cumbersome, especially in larger organizations. The approval process for expense reports also takes just as long for supervisors and administrators to muddle through. All travel and expenses must be verified before employees can receive their reimbursements, and this process can take days to weeks to complete.

It’s important that employees have confidence in the reimbursement process at their company, but there are a lot of things working against a business’s productivity and efficiency regarding employee reimbursements. Below, we will discuss the most notorious issues slowing down the approval process for travel expense reports and how your company can alleviate them.

What is Slowing Down Your Employee Reimbursement Cycle?

There are three common issues that gum up the reimbursement cycle in most organizations: a paper-based processing system, a confusing multi-step approval process and manual reporting processes.

Paper-based system: When employees must keep tracking of mileage manually, recording trips in logs or timesheets by hand, it takes time to do this correctly. Like any task involving a lot of paperwork, it’s difficult to keep things organized. Paperwork can become misplaced throughout their travel and work, and when that happens, employees need to fill out another log or form. This leads to another issue of having a paper-based reporting system: your employees fill out logs by hand. This increases the potential for them to overestimate or round their mileage and travel expenses, costing you more money in reimbursements.

Manual reporting processes: A typical reimbursement cycle goes like this: employees manually track mileage with logs and fill out a travel expense report that they give to their supervisors along with any supporting materials. Then, their supervisors approve and make a copy of the reports for their records before sending it to the next person. Eventually, it will make its way to accounting which will issue a reimbursement. Each step of the process must be manually moved forward, and one person in the chain of communication can stagnate the entire process and delay reimbursements. There is also plenty of opportunities for reports to get lost in the shuffle, and when reimbursements become lost and need to be re-submitted, it can create even more confusion.

Multi-step approvals: As mentioned above, when travel expense reports need to be transferred through a process of multiple stages for approval, it slows down the cycle and is an inefficient use of your employees’ time. At each stage, the travel needs to be verified and approved, a process that is both redundant and a big time-waster. Carrying out the process this way also denies your employees any transparency; they have no idea when their reimbursements will be issued, and this causes frustration and confusion.

Ok, But Why is This Bad for Your Business?

A paper-based, manual reimbursement cycle with multiple steps in the approval process is a costly and time consuming way to run your business. You have to pay for the time and resources spent completing this process, and all the time employees spend making sure this process is done correctly is time spent away from their actual job responsibilities.

It’s also incredibly frustrating for employees who feel like they aren’t being compensated for the use of their own vehicles for work in a timely manner. For some employees, not receiving their reimbursement on time can even be the deciding factor for what groceries they can buy that month or what bills they can pay on time. It’s very important that your employees feel like they can depend on you to reimburse them as you promised.

Expense Management Software

Expense management software has the tools to handle every part of your reimbursement cycle from recording work-related trips, submitting travel expense reports and approving reimbursements. Using this kind of software has several benefits that lead to shorter, more efficient reimbursement cycles.

Automates processes: By automating processes such as calculating mileage and submitting reports, employees spend much less time dedicated to this cycle and are less frustrated with it. In some cases, automation cuts the time spent by employees managing expenses to just one to two minutes a day.

More accurate reporting: With a system automatically tracking and logging mileage and other expenses, fraud is much less likely. Guesstimating or rounding mileage by your employees is virtually eliminated, and they can no longer count non-work related travel. This can save your business 20-30% on reimbursements

More secure: Expense management software holds all information including trips, addresses and other sensitive information in a secure, organized location – much safer than a paper-based system. Privacy policies and data encryption keep all information protected.

More cost-effective: Software that automates expense tracking and reimbursements eliminates the issues of time and cost that face your company. Employees can finally get back to their job responsibilities, and resources won’t be wasted to maintain a cumbersome process.

Simplify the Reimbursement Cycle with SureMileage and SureExpense

CompanyMileage provides a fast and secure system for tracking mileage and expenses for your employees. SureMileage and SureExpense, when used in combination, have saved our clients at least $1,000 a year per each mobile employee. How? We keep things simple.

SureMileage provides an easy point-to-point calculation for each trip entered, and mileage is determined automatically based on the shortest driving distance from one point to the other. Employees no longer need to manually record odometer readings or estimate trip distance in a travel expense report. Issuing reimbursements with our systems is simple, as well. SureExpense seamlessly integrates with all major accounting and payroll systems, taking the onus off your employees to do the heavy lifting to keep the reimbursement cycle moving forward. Employees can even upload and store receipts while they’re out in the field, making the process faster and more organized.

By introducing automation into the process, CompanyMileage has been able to shorten the reimbursement cycle and give our clients a more cost-effective solution. Learn what our expense tracking system can help your business eliminate paper travel expense reports once and for all. Request a demo today!