When a company grows, the number of expense reports multiplies. Although VSEs can manage expense reports manually, once a company reaches the SME stage, it’s a different story! To improve their productivity, as well as their security, SMEs can really benefit from adopting an expense report management application.

The limitations of managing expense reports with Excel

An indispensable tool for SMEs until now, Excel has certain limitations, particularly in terms of managing expense reports.

The waste of time

The traditional method of managing expense reports on an Excel spreadsheet requires multiple manual entries and provides very little flexibility. It is a perpetual waste of time for employees and accountants alike–the processing time for each expense report can be more than 30 minutes! Employees need to collect their receipts, scan them, and have them approved, while the company’s accountants have to check them in turn, enter them several times, and then integrate them into their database.

The reimbursement timescale

As for reimbursement, the timescales have increased to such an extent that there is now an average of 30 days between preparing an expense report and being reimbursed. Your employees are unlikely to be reimbursed in the same month that they incur their expenses. This is clearly a problem, and could even be a cause for dispute if the employee has advanced significant expenses.

Sources of error

The manual entry of numerical data is particularly problematic and errors are widespread. Whether for the data entry itself or the calculation, an average of one in five expense reports need to be rechecked.

A very high cost

According to a study by the Global Business Travel Association, a single expense report costs the company €53 in terms of the time spent by the employee and the accounting department. If there is an entry error, it will cost you an extra €48. In addition, it is not always easy to see whether limits have been exceeded and the recovery of VAT on expense claims is often approximate.

Potential for abuse

The most common abuses by employees include: mileage charges, intentional duplication, or exceeding expense limits. These frauds can occur all too easily under the nose of SMEs if they do not use automated management solutions that detect suspicious expense reports and alert the accounting department.

The benefits of an expense report management application for SMEs

The digital transformation of companies does not only affect large groups. Everyone, from sole traders to SMEs, can benefit from automating time-consuming tasks with low added value. A management application for expense reports offers multiple benefits.

Time savings

An expense report management application can divide expense processing time by four, generating a gain in productivity on high value-added tasks.

  • For employees, a mobile application allows the smart scanning of expense reports, automatically extracting all the data from the photo of the receipt: date, amount, VAT, tourist tax, fuel volume, etc. There is no need to enter it in Excel at the end of the month or to collect and submit the receipts in envelopes. This procedure is even more practical since URSSAF now accepts digital receipts. Mobile employees also benefit from an application that follows them on their travels.
  • For managers, there is no need to wait for receipts. The application also provides real-time warnings: expense limit overruns, duplicate expenditure, etc.
  • For accountants, the application offers automatic VAT control, simplified and fairer VAT recovery, and automated posting into the accounting system without having to re-enter data.

Data centralization and security

If you pick the right expense report management application, it is also the most efficient and reliable way of safely digitizing and centralizing data. You can then generate reports and obtain a clearer picture of your employees’ expenses.

The application also allows you to manage your expense reports as you go along, so you can avoid the end-of-month “rush” or filing delays by your employees. It also facilitates processing and improves the reimbursement timescale.

Application-based management also ensures that processes are harmonized. In addition, if there is an audit by URSSAF, all supporting documents and calculations are clearly and unquestionably accessible.

How can you choose an expense report management application adapted to SMEs?

To choose the best expense report management application, you must first determine the needs of your SME. Do you need the application to:

  • Determine and enforce expense limits?
  • Determine a different validation workflow for different employees?
  • Perform automated bank reconciliations?
  • Provide a data archiving system with probative value?
  • Offer smart scanning?
  • Have expense report software that automatically connects with your accounting software?
  • Provide expense report software that can manage all your analytics?
  • Manage advance payments?
  • Automatically reimburse your employees?
  • Manage mileage allowances and vehicles?
  • Manage daily allowances (Perdiem)?

Answering all of these questions will help you to evaluate the application/software you need to automate your expense report management. There are various solutions on the market offering different functionalities, more or less complete depending on the application: with or without expense limits, with a directly integrated payment card, or with functionalities that allow the solution to be used internationally. The important thing is to choose the application that truly meets your needs, no more and no less, and at an attractive price.

N2F offers you its online expense report management application to put an end to this time-consuming task, while securing your data. Your employees scan each receipt, which is transferred in real time to the accounting department. The receipt is processed quickly, with a vastly reduced risk of error and with increased security. Are you looking for the best solution for your expense reports? Then get in touch with us!


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