With our increasingly global business landscape, it’s much more common today for employees to travel for work. Whether it’s for attending a meeting, meeting business associates, pitching for an investor in another part of the world, or visiting a remote branch, travel is part of how a business operates and grows. Read more
A mid-sized organization has its share of challenges especially in this era of technology and globalization. Particularly in business travel and expense management, finance managers in these organizations can find several pain points that eventually trickle its way to company operations, and finally the bottom line. Therefore, it goes without saying that an effective expense management tool is necessary for any organization if they want to succeed in what they do and find this success reflected in their financials.
Enter Gorilla Expense. Read more
Gorilla Expense makes travel and expense reporting a breeze with an easy, seamless, and scalable solution for businesses of all sizes. It provides smooth and automatic integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP. In fact, with Gorilla Expenses proprietary integration software, it all happens in just one click of a button. Read more
How much is it to travel from your main headquarters to your satellite office in another state? When you go around and ask your colleagues, odds are, they would have different answers.
This simple experiment shows just how easy and common it is for employees to make honest mistakes on their expense reports. The question is, however, are these really mistakes or deliberate misrepresentations? Read more
Technology has changed the way we do things–and this includes how we buy. For your organization, you may feel this change as your own employees exhibit a shift in their buying behaviors, which affect spending, expenses, and visibility.
When it comes to employee-initiated spend that occurs as they perform their jobs, things have changed. Like travel and expenses, employee initiated spend also contribute to business operations, and the bottom line. However, due to the changes and technological advances we are experiencing today, visibility becomes a more pressing concern, on top of course of timely recognition and reporting of expenses. Read more
The holiday season can be stressful. When it comes to holiday-season business travel, not many has survived it without a hitch.
The thing is, packing and preparing for a business trip during the holidays is intensely nerve-wracking. You have to make sure you don’t forget anything. Over the many business travels that you’ve done, you may have gathered a few tips and tricks to get you by. However, as experience would tell you, something almost always happens to get you off-track. Read more
If you’re in the market for an expense management solution for your company, then you probably have an idea just how many solutions, technologies, vendors, features, and price points to choose from. All these can be overwhelming, not to add the available deployment options and the total business value each solution can potentially bring.
So, how do you choose the right expense management tool for you? Read more
According to the Aberdeen Group research, surveys based on millions of expense reports submitted by 3,000 companies reveal that U.S. T&E costs are constantly rising. The largest increases were in airfare (up 5.7%), hotels (up 4.5%), and meetings (up 7.7%).
With T&E spend ranging from 7% to 15% percent of the total budget for the average mid-market company ($50 million to $800 million in revenue), the challenge facing CFOs and Controllers in this area is dramatic with millions of dollars at stake! For most companies, travel related expenses remain a significant area of spend – second only to payroll.
Scope of challenge
Fundamentally, most companies struggle to tackle these challenges because of not knowing where to start, when it comes to managing their T&E Expense reporting process, resulting in thousands of dollars of reckless spending and waste. Aberdeen’s report (Expense Management for a New Decade and The Mid-Market Expense Management Program) says that:
* 56% of mid-market companies have limited visibility into T&E spending
* Less than 45% track their expenses via analytics and business intelligence in real time
* Only 33% leverage cloud-based expense reporting solutions and 28% integrate corporate cards
* Just 15% provide T&E data to C-level executives for financial forecasting purposes
Solutions for a new decade
The good news is that cloud-based solutions have significantly brought down the cost of automating T&E expense reporting. These solutions have been shown to deliver huge reductions in expense processing costs. But the big questions is – where do you start?
The Best-In-Class corporations (a term used by the Aberdeen Group to classify the top 20% of companies that manage their expense related processes by creatively blending technology & strategy) combine strategy, core capabilities, technology, a culture that embraces change and a desire to optimize. The objectives of most Best-In-Class programs include cost savings, enhanced productivity, improved efficiencies and better compliance. This is usually achieved by unifying the different processes in the lifecycle.
By advocating a culture that fosters Best-In-Class programs and by investing in a system that ensures achievement of this status, Best-In-Class companies constantly reap gains and realize immediate ROIs.
Here are the 10 Commandments of Expense Reporting that Best-In-Class companies consistently execute on:
1. Centralize the control and operation of T&E expense management programs
2. Automate the process to greatly reduce unproductive manual work and eliminate errors
3. Integrate the front-end expense reporting system to the ERP system to minimize manual data entries and errors (here is a video of automated integration with Dynamics GP)
4. Establish generally accepted corporate-wide policies and processes
5. Educate employees regularly on expense report related policies and processes and appoint a designee for any questions from employees
6. Encourage usage of corporate cards for better accuracy and mobile device applications for convenience to users (read our blog on Credit Card Integration)
7. Leverage and close the loop on expense management data to fine-tune the system and also provide better deals with travel vendors for the company
8. Develop audit mechanisms that capture errant data and provide real-time visibility into spend
9. Invest in the latest technology to maximize efficiency, provide long term ROI and reduce paper usage
10. Provide flexibility and convenience to the end users to improve productivity, reduce inherent delays and to capture expense data immediately after incurred
For some companies, executing on all 10 steps immediately might prove to be a challenge. In those cases, it would be beneficial to select a few and to focus on those, till the desired results are obtained.
Automating T&E processes does more than just reduce costs. It makes it harder for employees to inflate expenses — and far easier for companies to detect fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, up to 13% of company fraud arises in this area, so that’s a huge advantage. Expense reporting time is reduced and employees are reimbursed faster which is a major boost to morale. Automation results in an average 28% reduction in expense approval times and 27% reduction in employee expense report creation times according to the latest Aberdeen reports.
To read the complete white paper on ’10 steps towards best-in-class status for expense management’, click HERE
If you have any specific questions that we can help with or need more information, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
To calculate savings from automating the T&E Expense Reporting Process, click HERE
(Finance Speak is a new series where we will discuss typical questions & concerns expressed by our customers. We will delve into the logic and analysis behind each discussion. If you’d like to contribute or ask a question, send a message to email@example.com with ‘Finance Speak’ in the subject line.)
Gorilla – Would you like for us to host the application & data or do you want to manage it yourselves?
Executive (Anonymous) – I think we will be going with an On-Premise package because it will be cheaper
G – Do you have a server? Do you have internal experts who can tackle this? Do you plan to host other applications?
E – We don’t really have an IT team or other applications but it shouldn’t be too tricky I imagine
G – Well, firstly you will need IT experts to deploy and manage the application. Secondly, you are handling important data, which will be accessed periodically, so you need to be sure about security, encryption, retrieval etc. Plus you don’t want the system to go down when people are traveling around the clock and using the application
E – In that case, we will let you manage it. But won’t that be more expensive for us?
G – Not really, considering all factors. Let me break it down in more detail………
We get this question every time, 99.9% of the time actually. Most of our customers evaluate On-Premise (OP) vs Cloud (CL) based solely on price which can be misleading. When you go with a CL based solution you get several things – flexibility, scalability, transparency, maintenance, On-Demand expertise etc.
And when it comes to price comparisons, CL can be cheaper than OP in some cases. Most companies don’t consider the TCO of an OP solution and therefore assume CL will be more expensive. Of course in some cases CL may be more expensive. But there are more facets to that discussion than a simple OP costs-divide-by-12-months and compare to a CL monthly rate. In some companies, there may be corporate mandates to use OP for all applications and that makes sense because price is not the sole reason.
For a more in depth analysis, see this article from CIO.com that captures the salient points very well –
One area that many companies struggle with is organizing of expense related data. This is especially important because stakeholders in these companies frequently utilize the data to observe trends, study patterns and take proactive steps towards improving the T&E process. We have guided our customers in this area to use best practices. Here are some anecdotal observations –
The lack of success with data organization & management can be broadly attributed to the following reasons –
Case 1) There are no defined structures – Many companies ‘toss’ expense data into one area. While this expedites the submission process initially, it becomes onerous at a later point when specific information is required. What’s more, without any organization, all T&E related data look the same. If there is ever a case for lack of T&E visibility, this one takes the cake!
Case 2) There are defined structures but no retrieval mechanisms – Here, companies define areas but offer no means to retrieve and analyze the data. This makes any front-end organization pointless because the end goal of analysis and fine-tuning of data cannot be achieved. While this is still a problem, it is better than Case 1
Case 3) Too many structures – The other end of the spectrum includes companies that have defined to many areas. While this may give an impression of better organization, it is really an illusion because of too much granularity. To arrive at meaningful conclusions, several areas must be analyzed concurrently. This makes it burdensome and error-prone. Then again, this is definitely better than Case 1 and Case 2
From these notes, it is very obvious that organization of data is very ‘company specific’. Different companies have different processes and procedures, sometimes even disparate, and therefore need unique solutions to manage this.
A big factor in this is human nature. If something is arduous and complicated, we usually put it off. This leads to forgetfulness, which leads to a mad rush during tax time or at the end of the year to get organized. The implications are huge and the penalties for not managing the data better are substantial. Companies frequently throw away millions of $$ due to –
– Failure to take proactive steps from T&E data on time
– Not realizing all the tax deductions before tax season
– Forget to bill clients because post-deal activities were not categorized
– Lack of spend visibility on runaway projects due to untimely data management
At Gorilla Expense, we assist our clients by first helping them define clear, non-redundant areas. Once this is done, specific advice is provided to create future areas carefully. Everything is defined based on how these areas are managed in the back-end ERP/Accounting systems. Since our application is extremely pliable, it can adapt to varying formats. Only after this is technology employed.
Using unique tagging & mapping mechanisms built into the application, come tax time or end of the year, our customers are fully aware areas of spend, steps for improvement, categories to monitor for the next FY etc. which are broken down further by customer accounts, projects, work-orders and more. Now that’s called successful T&E data management!
We are always interested in discussing your pain points and help in any way we can. Contact us at info AT gorillaexpense.com.
Why Customers Love Our Solution
Electronic Receipts - submit receipts from your mobile device or computer
Online Expense Reporting - 100% secure online solution
Mobile Apps - compatibility with Android and iOS
Integration with ERP - innovative integration with various ERP, Accounting and Financial systems
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- 6 Big Reasons Why You Should Ditch Paper-Based Expense Reporting
- 7 Common Pain Points of an Inefficient Expense Management System
- A Traveling Employee’s Guide to Expenses
- New Year, New Trends: How Travel and Expense Management Will Be This 2019 and Beyond
- How to Survive Business Travel During the Holidays