Audit all spend or go fast?
Audit all expenses and invoices or move quickly? This is one of the hardest spend management tradeoffs finance leaders have to make. Where do you draw the line? If you’re in a regulated or conservative organization, you don’t have a choice, so you move slowly and deliberately – and allocate the proper resources – to make sure you get it right. And if you’re in a less rigid industry, you can move faster but you risk not seeing the errors or policy violations that can really cost you.
The issue with the standard expense reimbursement process
When it comes to reimbursable expenses, your process may be straightforward, but it can still feel taxing to your employees. Every month or so, they diligently enter all of their business purchases into your expense management platform, hit “submit,” and then wait to be reimbursed. For most employees, a longer wait can cause them financial stress, especially if personal budgets are tight. There are a lot of steps in the expense reimbursement process – obtaining manager approval, reviewing receipts, making sure business meal attendees are all accounted for, and checking the boxes on your expense policy. For most large companies, end-to-end expense reimbursement can take a couple of weeks.
Besides being a burden on employees, your expense reimbursement process can also be hard on managers. Managers don’t always have the time, knowledge, or context to review expenses with the diligence that is required to find and rectify spend compliance problems. They either give reports a cursory look with a “rubber stamp” approval or sit on them until they have time to review them diligently. Both approaches are problematic, resulting in either spend leakage or long reimbursement times that frustrate employees and contribute to their poor financial health.
We’ve reduced our global reimbursement time to less than a day.”SENIOR DIRECTOR, GLOBAL ACCOUNTS PAYABLE,HIGH TECHNOLOGY
reduction in reimbursement time
Streamline expense reimbursement
As your business grows and employee spending increases, you need to figure out how to keep your expense management process as lightweight as possible while also making sure people aren’t taking advantage or putting the company in jeopardy, compliance-wise. Some companies turn to sample-based auditing while others take only a cursory look at every employee’s report. Neither strategy will catch all of the errors, waste, and fraud that add up to real money, or the non-compliant spend that could land you in legal trouble (or in headline news).
To streamline your T&E reimbursement process, what’s required is a way to audit 100 percent of your employees’ expense reports automatically. You need the ability to auto-approve low-risk spend for immediate payment, while flagging high-risk transactions for manual review and approval or rejection. And you need to involve managers at the right times – when there’s a problem with a particular employee’s report, or post-approval when they can review spending trends and behaviors across the team.
AI-powered expense auditing from AppZen is your team’s most valuable player. Our platform automates your processes, eliminating the need for line-by-line management approvals; auto-approves low-risk spend for immediate reimbursement; and gives auditors the right playbook to address high-risk spend efficiently.
20 percent of our contracts were incomplete or out of date. AppZen helped us clean up the mess.”DIRECTOR OF FINANCE,
Streamline your invoice approval process
Despite the invoice automation and spend approval best practices you’ve put in place, it’s hard to audit all invoices prior to payment and still maintain an efficient operation. Matching price and units across invoices, POs, and receipts is important, but answering the question of whether invoices are error-free, compliant, and not fraudulent is nearly impossible at enterprise scale when you have to approve tens of thousands of invoices every month.
It's a very real dilemma. Letting spend pass by without a real look can spell trouble. According to the ACFE, every year there are thousands of invoice and billing fraud examples across dozens of industries in hundreds of countries, the median cost of which is more than $100,000. Beyond fraud and other spend controls, invoice compliance is a big issue. According to the IOFM, invoices fail the first “match” in your validation process between 10 and 30 percent of the time, depending on your level of AP automation and centralization.
To streamline your invoice automation process, what’s required is an automated spend approvals process that is thorough, accurate, and efficient. You need to catch the errors, waste, and fraud as well as ensure compliance with company policy and relevant regulations. And you need to do it at enterprise scale.
AI-powered invoice and contract auditing from AppZen is your finance team’s salvation. Our platform gives you the keen eye you need to find the spend leakage and compliance violations in your business spend, coupled with the automation muscle you need to get through all of those invoices efficiently.
This saved us 3,000 hours in one month alone.”DIRECTOR OF FINANCE,
Audit 100% of spend, pre-payment
Audit 100% of spend instantly, before you pay a cent. Don’t waste time clawing back errors and duplicates.
Erase system complexity
Erase back-office system complexity by matching contracts and invoices against data from any system.
Focus auditor time on high-risk spend
Auto-approve low-risk spend and make the most of auditors' time by having them investigate only high-risk transactions.
Reimburse employees quickly
Delight employees by reducing your expense reimbursement time from weeks to hours.
Skip “rubber-stamp” approvals
Remove managers from the approval process, only surfacing spend issues for their review.
Pay vendors on time
Cut unnecessary bottlenecks from your approvals process so you can pay suppliers on time.
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Learn how Electrolux uses AppZen for T&E management
Electrolux now drives best practices in T&E by implementing AI-powered autonomous processing globally to transform and streamline processes.