Paperless Expense Management Allows Maximum Visibility

Businesses thrive on data, and a wide range of organizations are now making greater efforts to maximise the value they can gain from the information they collect. However, for many it remains difficult to gain insight into the expenses behaviour of their employees and this can have serious consequences when it comes to keeping stretched budgets under control.

Just over half the executives polled in a global Aberdeen Group survey in March 2013 said that their top travel and expenses challenge was a lack of visibility when it came to spending, compliance, suppliers and other issues. Perhaps this was in part responsible for a third of respondents also citing a lack of control over spending. Paperless Corporate Card systems can help companies to get a handle on the compliance behaviour of employees, by providing the right amount of rich and informative data for the best possible insight.

Fast, comprehensive data - anywhere
Paper-based systems can often fall down with simple administrative errors - receipts can be lost, or information can be transferred inaccurately from one location to another. Because it takes longer to gain access to that data, mistakes may not be noticed straight away. On the other hand, Corporate Cards have the benefit of automating the whole process. From the moment a transaction is completed to a report being generated, all the necessary data is transferred accurately into the appropriate expense management systems, ensuring businesses have all the right information to understand traveler behaviour.

In addition, data is more quickly and easily accessible than ever before. A paperless system permits the full details of every transaction to be transferred to a central expense management system immediately, meaning that businesses essentially have access to thorough information in real time so they can track employee behaviour and spending.

Because Corporate Cards allow transaction information to be stored securely online so it can be analysed at any time, data is always available to the people who need it regardless of time differences or distance. Businesses are increasingly seeking to improve their own mobility to compete in a globalized world, meaning these functions will become even more important. A survey from International Data Corporation said in 2013 that six out of ten companies across Asia were prioritizing the adaptation of business processes and roles to make the most of mobility.

With an Amex account, individual card users can enjoy 24-hour access to their own personalised accounts from anywhere in the world, while companies can track spending wherever and whenever they need to.

Customised reports
In the knowledge that accurate, up-to-date information is easily accessible, businesses can use that data to inform future travel and expenses policies, shape forthcoming budgets, and encourage better compliance. In 2012, a separate Aberdeen Group study found that connecting expense management analytics with company forecasting and future planning was one of the three main pillars of "Best-in-Class" expense management for this very reason.

To do this, companies need to be able to present and interpret the data they have in a manner which provides real insight into employees’ travel and expenses behaviour. This means being able to generate in-depth yet comprehensible reports which answer all the questions businesses might have.

With a paper-based expenses system, this can take up time and resources that businesses cannot spare, as staff look over previous claims and collate information themselves. In contrast, a paperless Corporate Card system can be set up to compile the relevant data automatically and present it in a useful way, making it easier than ever to see where and how budgets are being spent.

Businesses seeking to gain an insight into spending behavior need constant access to up-to-date, accurate data to generate comprehensive, data-rich and meaningful reports. Paperless systems which process data from Corporate Card transactions offer this full visibility, which allows companies to increase compliance and isolate opportunities for efficiencies.