Two quick questions for you. Can you name the biggest operational cost to control? Is it employee payroll, expense management, or infrastructure expense? If managing payroll is what that struck your mind, you have hit the mark! Now, what is the second biggest operational cost?
Forrester’s research states that it is travel and expense management!
HR leaders have been grappling with employee expense management for time immemorial and as companies expand globally, it is getting trickier. Fortunately, technology as a transformation catalyst is changing the way an organization’s expenses are managed. Emerging technologies, though at their nascent stage, are showing limitless possibilities for improving the way HR teams can simplify expense management. Of these technologies, machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and robotic process automation (RPA) are seen as the most promising.
So, let’s look at how these technologies are revamping expense management.
Employees can photograph images of their receipts and upload them to the expense management solution which uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to extract information from the images. This is where machine learning comes into play. Expense solutions that use machine learning are able to identify and understand intricate data like currencies, timestamps, dates, expense types printed into the receipts. With RPA, the information retrieved is then automatically converted into comprehensive expense reports.
A full stop to faulty reimbursements
Artificial intelligence and machine learning become saviors in case of expense auditing. These technologies perform instant comparisons of employee expenses against external data sources and ensure accurate reimbursements; thereby, helping organizations mitigate unnecessary costs and fraudulent activities. You might wonder how this is possible. Expense management solutions powered by AI and machine learning identify erroneous expense reports and immediately flag them for review. So, superlative employee experience is guaranteed. Ultimately, the organization is safe from faulty reimbursements – a win all round!
Like any other HR operation, expense management also has its own set of regulations that companies need to comply with. For instance, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that might ask to examine the evidence of how your organization accounted for the employee expenses or benefits at the end of the tax year. Technology-driven expense management solutions, unlike traditional systems, maintain a complete database of every expense that is recorded by the employees so that expense auditing doesn’t become a nightmare to organizations.
A ‘mobile’ solution for ‘mobile’ employees
It is obvious that no finance teams would want to go back to the old days of managing payroll with spreadsheets. Today, RPA-enabled expense management systems use the cloud and empower employees to fill out, submit, review, approve and track expense claims automatically, no matter what gadget they use. These systems have a user-friendly interface that is supported by tablets, laptops, and mobile phones.
These technologies are still in their experimental stage and as they evolve and better every day, they would enable organizations to gain clear visibility into spend and hence aid in strategic decision making. Furthermore, global enterprises can intelligently grow, scale, and enhance employee satisfaction to a significant level.
To know more about how your organization can leverage emerging technologies to the fullest and manage employee expenses efficiently, drop us a line via email. We will be glad to assist you.