How to Implement an Automated Expense Approval Workflow in 15 Minutes


January 28th, 2019 Expense Management  

Manual process management methods involving paper forms, spreadsheets, and emails can bog you and your employees down. They aren’t equipped to handle the changing needs of modern businesses. It’s important to turn lengthy, tedious, and paper-based approval processes into online and one-click approvals.

Having a systematic workflow to handle expense approvals becomes necessary to ensure that policies aren’t violated and reimbursements are prompt.

The Need for an Expense Approval Workflow

An expense approval workflow helps businesses streamline their expense approval process. It involves creating forms to capture information and defining a sequential path of tasks (data input, approvals) for the information to flow until the instance of the workflow is complete. The workflow also helps identify expenses that don’t comply with the organization’s policies.

How to Implement an Expense Approval Workflow

A workflow automation tool like KiSSFLOW can help you design, map, and implement an expense approval workflow with ease. There’s no coding involved, so anyone can create a smooth process. You can use drag-and-drop functionalities to create workflows to streamline your expense approvals. Here’s how you do travel expense approval in KiSSFLOW:

1. Create Your Forms

The first step to designing an expense approval workflow starts with creating the forms for capturing the expenses. You can create one from scratch, or use the pre-installed expense reimbursement app in KiSSFLOW. Employees can use this form to submit their expenses.

The form should create a unique id and capture basic information about the employee like name and department. Also, the date when the expense occurred, its category, and the amount spent, should also be captured. There should be an option to attach receipts.

define travel reimbursement app

2. Design the Workflow

Once the expense reimbursement form is ready, you need to design the sequential path of tasks that need to be completed. Depending on your requirements, you can have multiple levels of approvals.

You can set up automatic approvals based on predefined conditions during this stage. For example, if the food expense is less than $20, the expense gets automatically approved.

customize the travel reimbursement workflow

3. Set Permissions

Once the workflow is ready, you can assign stakeholders and set permissions. Roles and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based on their tasks in the finance process workflow. You can even hide fields based on the confidentiality of the information and the access granted to employees.

optimize the travel reimbursement app

4. Implement the Process

After everything is set, you can publish the expense approval workflow. Employees can initiate instances of the workflow and submit their expenses for managers approval.

5. Improve the Workflow

Once the expense management system has been implemented and has run for a while, it collects enough data to give you insights into how these processes can be made faster and more efficient. You can find the average approval time, the time taken to complete tasks, and other such information to improve the workflow’s efficiency.

When the expense approval workflow is in place, your approval process and expense reimbursement become more streamlined and manageable.

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Benefits of Automating Your Expense Approval Workflow

Streamlining expense management with automated workflows speeds up approvals, eliminates manual errors, and reduces the emails that exchange back and forth. Workflows save time by handling tasks that are predictable and repetitive without the need for any manual intervention.

Typically, when employees submit expense reports, they email their managers with the expense report as an attached spreadsheet. If an expense approval workflow were in place, they can enter the expenses in a form. Once they hit submit, they reach the manager automatically.

When you use manual systems, there’s every chance that key information is missed or doesn’t reach the relevant person. This, however, is not the case when workflows are employed. Everyone stays informed and you can easily identify where tasks are hung up. Information flows seamlessly to the next person in the flow without any human intervention.

Create Expense Approval App With KiSSFLOW

Streamlining expense approvals with KiSSFLOW improves the overall efficiency, simplifies documentation, reduces errors, and enhances transparency. If you’re looking to streamline your expense approvals, take KiSSFLOW for a whirl. It’s free for 14 days and can make the expense approval process a breeze.

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