Expense Approval Systems: Benefits of Automating Business Expense Approvals

Venkat

January 11th, 2019 Expense Management  

Expense approvals seem pretty straightforward, except when they aren’t. What could be easier than approving expense reports? Well, maybe you’ve never had to approve a request for renting a llama for a photoshoot. (That one got approved, in case you’re wondering.)

There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to expense management, and even a minor mistake can prove costly. Having a competent expense approval system in place is crucial for prompt reimbursements.

Why use an expense approval system?

An expense approval system helps businesses streamline the repetitive and predictable tasks associated with expense approvals like creating, validating, and approving expense reimbursement claims for employee-incurred expenses. It helps them enforce the organization’s expense policy, thereby making it easier for managers to approve or reject a claim.

5 step guide to implementing an automated expense approval system

A workflow automation tool like Kissflow can help you design, map, and implement the expense approval system with ease. You can use drag-and-drop functionalities to create workflows to streamline your expense approvals. Here’s how you do it in Kissflow:

1. Create your form

The first step to designing a custom approval workflow starts with creating the forms for capturing the expenses. You can create one from scratch, or use the pre-installed expense approval app in Kissflow. Employees can use this form to submit their car, gas, or any 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 for parking, gas, and tolls.

create the expense approval form

2. Design the workflow

Once the form is ready, you need to design the sequential path of tasks that need to be completed. Depending on your requirements, an employee expense approval claim can be approved by the direct manager, the travel desk, or the finance team.

You can also have multiple levels of approvals. If you’re looking to automate approvals based on predefined criteria, this is the stage where you do it.

design the expense approval 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 workflow.

You can even provide role-based access to hide sensitive information.

set permissions for expense approvals

4. Implement the process

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

implement the expense approval process

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 approval processes can be made faster and more efficient.

You can find the time taken to submit reports, the average approval time, and other such information to improve the workflow’s efficiency.

improve the expense approval process

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Benefits of using an automated expense management software

Compliance with Travel Policies

The expense management software identifies policy violations and throws up red flags if a request violates them. This makes it easier for finance teams to approve or reject a claim. Ensuring that corporate travel policies are adhered to takes a huge burden off their shoulders. This will also help reduce expense fraud and enforce compliance.

Visibility Into Financial Health

Finding where your money goes helps you plan an effective budget for business trips. When you track how much money goes out, you get a better picture of the cash flow. You can identify areas where you’re spending unnecessarily, and make insightful decisions that can help you cut down on costs.

Tax Deductions and Audits

Travel expenses must be handled in the right way in order for an organization to mark them as a legitimate expense. Without tight control over the process, you may be missing out on benefits. In addition, records and audit trails need to be present to show that you’ve properly managed travel expenses and haven’t opened yourself up to claims to mishandling funds.

Happier Employees

Submitting expenses and waiting for claims to be approved can easily become a full-time job and can affect productivity. When you have an easy-to-use expense approval system in place for employees to submit expense reports and claim reimbursements, it makes their lives a lot easier.

The best way to handle business expenses

A workflow automation tool like KiSSFLOW can help you build your own expense reimbursement app based on your unique requirements. There’s no coding involved, and you can start building applications with simple drag-and-drop functionalities. You can have multiple levels of approvals, and the system grows with you.

Take KiSSFLOW for a test drive and sit back with a cup of joe while your expense management process becomes faster and more efficient. Start your free trial today.

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