Today’s expense reimbursement process takes far too long — the average enterprise takes at least two weeks to pay back their employees. This is because financial teams are overburdened with manually auditing hundreds of expense reports — averaging 11 line items — and tasked with catching wasteful, non-compliant spend. Parsing through these expense reports can often feel like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Due to the manual nature of this process, financial teams often use a random sampling methodology, which yields limited visibility, reviewing less than 10% of the submitted expense reports. Below are our recommendations to gain more visibility into expenses and pay your employees back faster with AI.
Auditors shouldn’t be wasting their time and effort on compliant reports; even more so, employees should be rewarded for compliant expense spending, not penalized with long-awaited reimbursement. AppZen uses AI to quickly audit and auto-approve compliant expense reports to ensure employees are reimbursed promptly, freeing up the auditors to focus on reviewing the reports with potential waste, compliance issues, and possible fraud.
As we covered in our whitepaper about improving expense report culture, we recommend auto-approving minor infractions. Let’s be honest, a few dollars over on dinner, a checked-bag fee — aren’t usually malicious and in most cases are approved anyway. Policing these types of infractions isn’t worth the auditors time and effort, and doing so will slow down the reimbursement process.
Another variable that slows reimbursement is the involvement of team managers in the expense approval process. Team managers have better things to do than reviewing expense reports. The reality is that manager just rubber stamp these reports anyways. Removing managers from the process frees up time for them to focus the work they were hired to do. It also cuts out an unnecessary bottleneck that can significantly slow down the reimbursement process.
Now you may be thinking, “hold on, there are certain instances where only the manager would have the necessary context to know whether or not the expense should be approved.” Absolutely! This can certainly be the case. Perhaps there was a farewell party for an employee or a team-building activity. That is why AppZen’s AI platform enables auditors to easily reach out to managers to ask for additional business context. However, these types of circumstances are infrequent, and therefore the removal of management means faster audit times and result in a much quicker reimbursement process.
At the end of the day, AI introduces a more streamlined expense audit process which many enterprises have used to improve their approval process, reimbursing their employees as quickly as the same day. With AppZen, companies use AI to audit 100 percent of spend, focus auditors attention on the high-risk items, free up management to focus on the jobs you hired them for, and auto-approve expense reports with high confidence. In doing so, enterprises that implement AI in their processes can delight their employees faster while catching non-compliant and wasteful spend prior to reimbursement.
For more insights, download our latest report, “The State of AI in Business Spend,” where we’ve aggregated fascinating data about how AI has helped change the way business approach their spend process.