Thanks in part to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote work has spent the last few years in the spotlight.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that overall, 33% of American establishments increased telework for some employees during the pandemic. McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey found that 58% of employed respondents had the option to work from home for some or all of the week. And this year, Gallup estimated that more than 70 million U.S. workers could do their jobs remotely.
For many Americans, remote work is here to stay. And while working remotely provides valuable opportunities for teams and businesses, it also poses unique challenges, especially for businesses who may struggle to adapt to new remote structures.
Managing employee spend is one example. Traditionally, tracking spending or paying bills relied on manually entering data, dropping off receipts/bills, or using the company’s physical checkbook to write checks. When you take those processes out of an in-person office, and add in new remote employee expenses (like home office bills), you might be faced with some complicated expense reporting.
But, with the right software and implementation, automating your team’s spend management can cut down on manual data entry—and make your whole spend management process easier, faster, and more secure. Check out these seven reasons to automate remote spending, and see how automated spend management means that no one needs to take the checkbook home.
More than 30% of business owners claim the biggest pain point of managing expenses is the time it takes to reconcile, review, and approve expense reports.* Whether it’s manually entering data into a shared spreadsheet or signing, scanning and emailing receipts as attachments, traditional processes can be a challenge.
With automated spend processes, your team can reduce the number of hours spent on expense reporting. You could easily upload receipts (see below!), assign coding to expenses, automatically send reports for approval and quickly issue reimbursements, all in one platform—saving you valuable time in the long run.
Rummaging through your desk or searching for your email for that one lost receipt is a thing of the past. When you automate your spend, users can easily upload receipts via photo, mobile app, or by dragging and dropping files directly into the platform.
Along with uploading receipts, you can also keep all of your receipts and expenses in one place by attaching receipts to specific transactions. The end result? All of your transactions, bills and receipts are in one convenient location—you can even search your records without combing through dozens of spreadsheets or multiple, disjointed platforms.
Some platforms, like Corpay One, use OCR scanning to convert files to text, which can then automatically sync with your general ledger, further reducing the risk of lost information and making the process more efficient overall.
Invoice and expense report approvals can be major road blocks for remote teams. Getting signatures could involve scanning, printing, signing and then emailing PDFs around from person to person. Automating this process means that when an employee submits an invoice, it automatically goes to the team member who’s authorized to approve it—without having to attach or email anything. The approver can log on to your platform, approve the invoices, and have a record of the process.
Plus, you can set up custom workflows, so certain expenses are automatically approved (or sent for further approval) if they meet your specific parameters. This is particularly helpful for teams or employees who have recurring expenses, like internet bills.
Manual entry leaves room for error, and ensuring each entry in a spreadsheet is correct can be tedious and expensive work. In fact, the GBTA reported that almost 1 in 5 expense reports have errors, that can take about $52/report to correct. Not to mention, remote work means employees aren’t working behind a card-gated or biometric-gated office door. This creates additional potential for bad actors or fraudulent activity.
Automating your spend management can do double duty by both protecting your data and ensuring its accuracy.
Opting for spend management platforms with military-grade encryption, two-factor authentication and increased spend control can help lock your data down. And, many systems have capabilities to ensure the right people approve the right expenses, including functionality like:
These kinds of features help ensure that each step of the spending process is handled appropriately, even in a remote work environment.
Automating processes can help you stay connected to your team’s finances with up-to-date data on when and where expenses are happening. Not only can you make sure that you’re spending securely—you can also see who’s spending what sooner, and act accordingly. Plus, with a unified platform you can see multiple moving pieces (like corporate card spending, expense reports and expense coding) in one place, rather than scattered across multiple tools.
Along with making remote spend easier, automation platforms often carry additional features or perks. These might include setting away mode, so approvals are routed to a second approver when someone is off the clock or on vacation, eligibility for a corporate credit card (maybe one that seamlessly integrates with your spend management software), or implementing automation throughout more of your bill pay processes.
Automating your team’s remote spend can help you make sure that receipts are approved, reimbursements are issued and bills are paid on time—no matter where your team is located. When your team is remote, that extra efficiency can go a long way, translating into less time chasing down expense reports, and more time working on tasks that move your business forward.
Not sure where to start on your search for an automated spend management solution? Corpay One can help! Reach out to our team or schedule a free demo today.
*Source: 2019 Travel and Expense Management Trends Report, Certify, Inc.
**Source: Using OCR: How Accurate is Your Data. TDWI, March 5, 2018