I Hate Doing Expense Reports

October 13, 2020

[This article was updated October 12, 2020.]

Where are my hotel folio, dinner and taxi receipts? I have to scan, copy, print, retake a picture, and what else to make this expense report platform work? I hate doing expense reports!

You'd have a hard time finding anyone who's genuinely a fan of expense reports. The process is stressful for employees, time consuming for managers, tedious for finance teams, and even a fraud risk for the company. For anyone who’s had to struggle their way through one, they’re just plain painful to get through.

Fortunately for you, clever people have been hard at work creating new ways for your company to manage expenses without the agony of expense reports.

Travel and expense tools: the old way

Every employee wants to – and should – be reimbursed for expenses coming from trips they take on behalf of their company. But, for employees, dealing with a non-integrated travel and expense system takes time away from completing their primary functions.

Nobody wins with travel and expense tools that are not integrated. It shouldn’t be so difficult or exasperating a process. Let’s look at how your sales team, managers and finance team experience the traditional, manual way of handling travel and expense reports.

As a long-time sales expert, I’m comfortable saying that most salespeople are “coin operated.” That is, they’re motivated by the financial rewards of successful deals both for the business and themselves. Salespeople know the value of their time to the company. And they like to sell. They consider their selling time and how much they can make, and then compare that against what they are getting back in an expense check. The math usually does not work in favor of the expense report.

And, when salespeople have personal time available outside of work, they typically like to spend it with their families and people they love. They’re already trading time away from them for the benefit of the company. This factors into their ROI calculations on those expense reports.

Then there are the managers. They not only have to take care of their own expense reports but review and approve the expense reports of their team. That could be four, five, six or more reports and a lot of time spent on admin tasks. And if someone’s lost receipts or made a calculation error, the manager gets to return it and then both people get to do it all again. It would seem managers have even less reason to want to or enjoy doing expense reports.

And then we have the finance leaders. They’re the ones having to process your employees’ expense reports, including reviewing reports and chasing staff for missing information. This, in a nutshell, is the intense headache faced by financial controllers and their teams every single month. In offices around the world, stressed-out finance teams often work late into the night ploughing through interminable reports, knowing that a single mistake can clam up the entire process and wreak havoc with schedules and budgets.

A frustrated businessman working at his laptop with his reports.
A frustrated businessman working at his laptop with his reports.

Is there a better way to manage travel and expense?

As travel and expense management has become more automated and less paper-driven, we’ve seen an increased interest in travel and expense platforms working together. This makes sense. As we discussed, there is value to having that frictionless connection between the two applications.

Well then, what about the all-in-one products offered by some companies? Frequently, we see one company offering both as a way to streamline and optimize the entire process. But it is difficult for one company to develop great platforms for both travel and expense. They are two different applications with two different missions.

An integrated system does improve data accuracy on both the amount charged and who is charging the company. But a dedicated travel component is better equipped to offer more detailed information on travel. The same is true for most expense-only platforms. With more travel and expense data, a company can more efficiently track travelers for their safety, track policy adherence and gain deeper insights into its travel spend, which is often one of the largest expenses for a business. When one company is trying to do both travel and expense, typically one part of the equation suffers from de-prioritization. And if one or the other part doesn’t work for you, well, you’re just stuck with it.

We believe that pairing, or “bundling,” a best-in-class expense platform with a best-in-class travel platform is the right solution, when each platform is created by a specialist company. This allows businesses to choose the right expense management platform for their needs from any provider and frees them to use the best travel platform for them, as well.

Deem Open Expense was created for exactly this type of complete solution that will optimize both travel and expense spend. Open Expense lets you integrate Deem travel data with nearly any expense platform. Travel booking transactions flow automatically into the linked expense platform, providing a seamless user experience.

About that seamless experience: Working together with a strategic expense partner, Deem transactions flow automatically via API into the linked expense platform. It may even work with the expense partner you’re using already, which means you’ll have no change in your workflow or systems. And you won’t have to move to a less effective expense product with integrated travel.

Open integration enables the application of all policy requirements and system settings. And Deem’s integrated SSO link built into the Deem booking tool, with a link in the expense partners tool, creates an easy back and forth between the two applications. So, there are no disruptions in the process – just the best use of automation between the best solutions for your business.

Deem: for a better travel and expense system

All of your employees have better things to do with their time and can wave goodbye to the torture of the traditional travel and expense process.

Deem offers a mobile, cloud-based travel solution for business travel. It allows employees to quickly shop, book, and manage their travel, and corporations to control cost and ensure duty of care. Deem’s corporate travel booking solution integrated with your expense management platform can free you to focus on the things that really matter, like building your customer base, developing a strategic business plan and building your team’s capability.

For more information on Deem Open Expense Alliance and how to pair your travel and expense management solutions, send us your email in our Get Started page (at the top right corner) and we'll be in touch soon.


Deem Editorial

The Deem editorial team brings important, informative commentary and data to travel managers and everyone interested in technology and the corporate travel industry.

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