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It’s the great leveler of business. From CEOs to road warriors to the back office staff, how many times have you heard people complain about what a hassle doing expenses is? Either they can’t see into murky spending records, or they’re wasting time that could be productive on endless data entry, or their entire day is spent chasing down tiny pieces of paper.

All five of the top expense claim challenges add up to one very big pain point for businesses and employees alike:

1. Missing receipts

Lost receipts waste time and lead to inaccurate reporting. This costs your people time and limits your visibility into cash flow.

2. Out-of-policy spend

Maybe your employees mean to spend within policy, but spending policies can be complicated, even obscure. For example, employees may try to save the company money by booking hotels with reduced rates. But if the hotel is not on your preferred provider list, they’ve just stepped over the line. An employee who doesn’t know the latest spending limits might spending out of policy on a regular basis, and if there’s no system for auditing individual small expenditures, it might go unnoticed for a long, long time

3. Late expense claim submissions

That expense claim which just showed up on your desk? Seven months old, and you’ve long since closed the books. If it’s big enough, and you’re tight this month, you might even have to dip into your credit to pay it. And what if you’re in an industry where expenses need to be charged back to clients? Not a recipe for a happy customer.

4. Error-prone spreadsheets

Using paper spreadsheets for expense claims makes needless manual work. And even if your spreadsheet is letter perfect, entering columns of numbers into a computer often produces errors.

5. Poor visibility

Trouble lurks in shadows. You can only optimise your spending if you can see it. What if a huge part of your money goes to, say, last-minute plane tickets that are far more costly than advance bookings? Would you even know?

Travel and entertainment expenses are roughly a tenth of an SMB’s budget, and typically the 2nd largest controllable cost, so it’s no wonder they’re a pain that just can’t be ignored.

The big expense claim challenges pain point is eloquently explained by Joe Ramos, financial analyst at NOW:Pensions

He says, "My main business goal was to obtain visibility and reduce the time required for salespeople to complete expenses, increase accuracy and take VAT out of their hands. And, more importantly, be able to report on it. " 

View the following Concur Expense webinar recording if you need help knowing how to set and manage expenses in your business :

 Watch the Video

* This blog post was originally published on the Concur website in 2015.

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