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“Expense Reports: Still necessary, but it doesn’t have to be painful.” by Chris Pang

by Debbie Wilson  |  September 20, 2019  |  Comments Off on “Expense Reports: Still necessary, but it doesn’t have to be painful.” by Chris Pang

With the summer holidays fading into the background, business travel is starting to pick up again. And with business travel comes the souvenir you can’t avoid… Yep the expense report! Some employees take a more extreme view and don’t bother to submit for reimbursement or they leave it till they can no longer ignore it anymore which is bad for them your organization. An article in the Wall Street Journal last week was a good reminder of this.

So while we’ve seen many organizations invest in a new cloud HR, Finance and ERP systems in recent years, a new expense management system hasn’t always been a high priority. Indeed we see many situations where the expense management functionality is either left off the upgrade list or whatever upgrade didn’t do much better except for make the screen look less year 2000 like.

The good news is technology can help and the cloud expense applications market is booming! We’re seeing demand come from frustrated end users and approvers (often CIOs themselves). Demand is also coming from the poor finance leaders who have to ensure policy is followed with no mistakes present. But equally they don’t want the pain of checking every single expense report and line item.

Gartner advises many clients each year on their expense management application strategy and we have a couple of research notes planned for later year. In the meantime here’s three key things to consider if you’re looking for a new expense system…

  • Usability is important, but compliance and analytics are non-negotiable. Many vendors will promote how modern and nice the application is for end users. This is great but don’t sacrifice this for your compliance requirements and usable reporting and analytics.
  • Test for OCR accuracy and performance. Many vendors offer OCR capabilities on receipts as standard to help end users avoid keying in receipts manually, but remember OCR needs additional help such as machine learning to work quickly and accurately. So test the response and accuracy in real life conditions.
  • Use technology to improve your expense reimbursement process, don’t just replicate it. Some organizations don’t take the time to reevaluate their current processes. So they end up configuring a new system with old practice and processes. Old or current practices aren’t always bad, but there’s always room for improvement, so why not use this opportunity?

There’s more to come later in the year, but hopefully this provides some additional considerations as you plan your new expense management system.

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Category: applications  erp  

Deborah R Wilson
Managing Vice President, ERP Strategy Team
12 years at Gartner
20 years IT industry

Deborah Wilson, a recovering Gartner research analyst, leads the Gartner ERP strategy research team. Read Full Bio

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