Most businesses DO NOT have automated processes for their day to day business operations. Think about the easiest and most basic form of automation – your email box. How many of us have the proper filters setup to automate how email is processed as it comes into our email boxes?
Let’s take things a step further. What about automating sales and orders that come in from our web sites?
There are so many things that can be strategically automated instead of us manually “touching” the various segments of a particular business process.
What about travel reimbursement. For those who manually deal with it – those travelling, the finance department and the managers who need to approve the reimbursement it’s a manual waste of time.
There’s many expense management services, Concur’s got one right for smaller businesses, Concur Breeze. It’s also a Google Apps component!
Another neat thing, is that since Concur automatically captures credit card transactions, when you get back from a trip, your expenses are all ready to be added to your company’s expense report!
I asked a Concur spokesperson some questions about Concur and expense management in general.
What’s a typical scenario of a business who needs an expense management solution?
For many small businesses, tracking and managing business expenses is a tedious and time consuming process that can detract from more critical work. Given that many managers and small business owners are forced to wear multiple hats (CEO, CFO, accountant, client director, HR recruiter, office manager etc.) spending time to sift through bills in order to separate business expenses from personal ones and then enter them into manual spreadsheets can take away from activities that drive the business.
The smaller the company, the more pronounced this problem becomes. To address this gap in which small businesses only use spreadsheets for cash flow and expense management, Concur built Concur Breeze, which automates expense and finance tracking (both personal and business) into one web-based tool. Concur Breeze automates the submission, review and approval of all business expenses, including travel and entertainment (T&E), office supplies, advertising, shipping, telecom and more.
Here is a specific scenario:
Let’s say you take a business trip to Boston. When you return and log into Concur Breeze, the expenses you incurred from the trip for which you paid by credit card are ready to be automatically loaded into an expense report. That means your hotel bill, client dinners, rental car tab, and other expenses are pre-populated, saving you the headache of tracking down all the receipts, and the time it takes to manually enter the expenses.
If they are not using an expense management solution what are they using
The most common solution we found small businesses turning to was manually entering data into spreadsheets. Despite what many might think, there is money to be saved by moving away from free spreadsheets to an automated solution like Concur Breeze. For example, by automatically integrating credit card data into an expense report, Concur Breeze enables small businesses to better track spending as well as keep an eye on specific categories (e.g. client entertainment) and monitor their overall cash flow.
What are the benefits to using an expense management solution – other than simply managing expenses.
There are a couple of direct benefits of using an automated system over manually entering business expenses into your general ledger. Automated, web-based expense reporting helps you:
- Reduce errors and fraud associated with manual entry
- Improve employee productivity and promote employee accountability
- Save time
- Connect from anywhere via the web
Read more about the disadvantages of using spread sheets here.