“Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find a competitive advantage.” - Sam Walton
Most companies today, handle receipts and invoices from different sources manually, with spreadsheets, printed expense reports, and enter the data of thousands of employees into a database. Also, the effort required due to approval, validation, eligibility verification and more, can result in the organization losing out on time and money.
Every organization needs to reimburse the expenses associated with the business to its employees. Travel, accommodation, food, hospitalization, reading allowance are some of the typical examples of such expenses. The employee is expected to keep track of these expenses and submit a report with relevant receipts, invoices, boarding passes and even medical prescriptions to get reimbursed and finish the claim process.
Challenges in existing Expense Management Process
According to a CFO Benchmark report titled ‘State of Indian Enterprise Travel & Expense Management 2018’, one of the biggest challenges faced by CFOs is lack of analytics. The report also highlights that 21% CFOs find manual expense entry and attaching the receipts as the biggest challenge.
An inefficient process
The manual process of filling out the expense reports and verifying bills and receipts filed by employees is slow and can be error-prone.
Low data visibility
Low visibility of expenses causes slower reimbursement, lower compliance to policies and make it challenging for the administrators to see when employees exceed spending limits.
High costs of processing
Manual expense processing comes at a high cost, and most businesses are unaware of it. The reasons include the cost of paper, resources, approval, manual entry, out of policy claims, storage & retrieval.
Long reimbursement period
Expense claims and receipts are manually verified and entered into the financial system by administrators in large volumes. This long waiting period may result in employees’ annoyance leading to low productivity, denial to travel on business trips, and more.
Frauds by employees
Frauds/False expense claims by employees like charging for personal spending, non-materialized expenses, or manipulating receipts are a few common ways to steal from a company. It is not uncommon to hear of high-positioned executives claiming fraudulent expenses which cost them their job after an audit and thorough investigation. The organization ends up absorbing the cost due to the complexity of recovering the money.
Machine Learning (ML) to the Rescue
- Automate filing of expense documents leveraging ML-based techniques like OCR , entity extraction etc
- Intelligent compliance check on expense documents using ML techniques.
- Automatic detection of Duplicate or Fraud submissions with ML-based classification and image analysis techniques.
Automating the expense management not only optimizes the process but also helps prevent fraud, save money and time. One can deploy Datoin's Cognitive Document Understanding solution to add intelligence to the expense management process while reducing manual processes. Ex: The intelligent tools based on ML can add the receipts from an individual to the expense report straight from the inbox. Tasks like extracting and classifying data from images assist employees to work faster with increased accuracy.
Benefits Post Automation using ML
- Improved efficiency and productivity
- Enhanced visibility into spends
- Defined business rules and approval levels
- Reduced processing cost with automated workflow
- Enhanced Employee experience
- Appeal, Analysis, and Approval of the claim through a self-service portal
It is ideal for an organization to have a fully automated, efficient and flexible Expense Management System that provides complete visibility to the management; while making it easy for employees to submit and receive reimbursements. Datoin’s solution can benefit businesses with a flexible and cost-effective system for expense management.
Check out how Datoin's Cognitive Document Understanding Suite can help you incorporate intelligence into your expense management process.