Mobile applications for expense reports, a logical end
In 1997, when the world saw the first computerized solutions to manage expense reports (yes, we were already there at the time), software were stored on floppy disks, before eventually moving to CD-ROMs. Technological innovations then brought forth dematerialized solutions, and “on-premise” installations became widespread. Back then, the architecture of these systems was stored locally on the client workstations or the company’s servers. Over the last ten years, the democratization of the Cloud has also prompted its share of innovations, including SaaS solutions and mobile applications. SaaS solutions have many advantages, including their availability at any time, from any place, as well as their high security level and continuous updates. Combining them with a mobile expense report application was therefore the logical next advancement in computerized expense management.
What is an expense report application?
An expense report application is a mobile application, in other words, a computer program available on a smartphone (or tablet), that a company can acquire to simplify the management of its expense reports. Most of the time these applications will be downloadable on the stores (Android and IOS) for free but as part of a software package.
What are the functionalities of an expense report application?
A mobile application for managing expense reports will act on several levels:
- At the first level, it will serve the end-user, the employee, who will be able to file (usually, thanks to OCR, or Optical Character Recognition technology) and submit his expense report more easily, especially during business trips.
- It will also help approvers, managers, or the accounting team to verify and validate the different expenses of their department’s members.
Clearly, this list is not exhaustive as other functionalities depend on the specific expense report application you use.
What is the best expense report application?
It’s Notilus. Because the application goes far beyond data filing and automated processing, with automatic extraction of key information from your expense receipts, certified paperless archiving, and even integrated booking services for your business trips.
Imagine you could find all your business travel information in one place, including hotel and train reservations, car rentals, and even your appointments. Now push it further and imagine you were able to collate all related receipts in one expense report and submit it at once…Well, what you have depicted in your mind is essentially the Notilus expense report solution and its mobile application.
With our OCR, all fields such as VAT, currency or amount are automatically detected. With the electronic archiving, your expense receipts are stored in a secure cloud, no more paper.
What are the benefits of an expense report application?
The benefits of a mobile expense report application for the employee are fairly straightforward: simpler expenses documentation, transmission, processing, and reimbursement from the smartphone, whether he is at home, at work, or on business trips.
On the corporate side, data will be more reliable, while dematerialization of expense reports will free all the company’s departments from the tedious tasks of expense calculation, reporting, and analysis as well as complicated expense reports audits.
What is the price of an expense report application?
The pricing for an expense report application will depend on the functionalities the client seeks as well as other factors. For example, does his company intend to go paperless with electronic archiving? How many active profiles or licenses does he need? In how many countries or subsidiaries does he plan to implement the tool? What are the necessary interfaces to accommodate his current information systems (such as HRIS, ERP, accounting tools, payment cards, etc.)?
An expense report application is not a simple program that one downloads on their phone. It is a complex project that aims to completely change the internal management of a major expense item: business expenses. The mobile application is therefore always linked to an actual software or a more complete solution that remains accessible on a computer and can be set up according to the company’s needs.
How has my life changed with an expense report application: a testimony
Not long ago I was in the same situation as you:
- I was routinely spending an hour to make my expense report;
- I waited for more than 10 days to get my expense report reimbursement;
- The processing of my report (by administrative and accounting teams) was costing my company more than 100 €.
Let me immerse you in my life when I was in the company ALLMANUAL before I started using a mobile application for managing expense reports. I’ll explain later in more detail how everything changed when I joined the company ALLDIGITAL.
How it used to be:
- I am a salesman in the company ALLMANUAL, it’s the 30th of the month.
- As my wallet is overflowing with receipts, bills, and invoices, it is time to do my monthly expense report!
- I make a quick trip to the car to get the remaining receipts from behind the sun visor, in the glove compartment, under the seats, and mentally prepare myself for the incoming ordeal…
- I first sort all my receipts by date and by type of business expenses, highlight the corresponding expenses on my corporate credit card statement, and at the same time fill in an Excel sheet.
- Then I enter the expense amount, first with taxes included, then excluded; I note the value of the VAT, then indicate in the comments the names of the 3 clients I invited, the place of my expense… and even assign a fancy accounting code number to my expenses, a bit randomly I must admit.
- A gust of wind suddenly sweeps my desk, scattering my precious receipts everywhere, which leads me to throw everything in an envelope (the accountant will sort it out) and leave it on the desk of my manager, who happens to be out of town.
- The following week, my manager, contacted by the accountants, discovers my envelope under a pile of files. He signs without looking and takes the envelope to the accounting department. They sure look busy over there!
- Turns out a receipt is missing, the meal expenses are not within the maximum limits, I have to correct the VAT rates on the hotel and explain why I had 3 lunches on the same day… According to a study conducted by HRS, I lose 18 minutes per corrected expense report.
- Only after I have fixed my expense report, which was then re-approved by my manager and the financial manager, only then does the accountant finally enter the expenses in an Excel matrix, before importing them into his accounting software. He will then transmit the information to the HR department, which will re-enter the amounts to be reimbursed into the payroll software.
Progressive as we are at ALLMANUAL, (we stopped using checks 3 years ago, mind you!), the HR department will also handle the transfer orders. Io and behold, 15 days later, I am finally reimbursed! And the bank charges me an overdraft… but fortunately I’m leaving my company for another firm, ALLDIGITAL.
How it’s going:
- Expense reporting is so easy and intuitive now that I simply do them as I go along, instead of holding on to them till the end of the month.
- I’m sitting at the terrace of a small restaurant, and I’ve just finished lunch before hitting the road. They bring me the coffee and the bill. I pull out my cell phone, open the mobile application Notilus, and let it work its magic: one picture of my receipt and the fields fill themselves thanks to OCR, our 95% reliable optical text recognition technology. I throw away the paper receipt and, with one tap of a button, enter my hotel, restaurant, and cab expenses from yesterday (long live the corporate card), click again, and send it for approval.
- I take this opportunity to verify that my hotel reservation has been approved (it has!), check my train schedule, and confirm the training trip of my new intern.
- A notification informs me that my boss has just validated my expense report, and my cab (also booked on the Notilus mobile application) is arriving!
Our solution is dedicated to the moblity management. In addition to the expense reports management you can plan, book and track your business trips. It is also possible to manage your car fleet.