Expense management software solutions have come a long way from being mere reporting tools. They have evolved because of the advances in the spheres of automation and artificial intelligence. Expense management software that employ the latest technology are an absolute must-have for every organization, irrespective of the size or industry.
Companies have been gradually adopting expense management software in a bid to mitigate the losses associated with expense frauds and wasted time. The speed of adoption and change, however, needs to keep pace with emerging trends in the industry.
Technavio analysts believe that the travel and expense management (T&E) software market will grow at a CAGR of 12% in the period 2019 – 2023.
In 2018, companies made advances in expense management practices such as
- digital transformation and moving ERP systems to the cloud
- adopting software with user-centric design and interface
- accepting spending outside of preferred channels.
2019 will see a continuing upswing in the sophistication of software capabilities and maturity in expense management practices.
Here are some of the recent trends that expense tools will adopt in the near future:
Businesses are becoming increasingly global and employees are more mobile than ever. According to the Certify Expense Management Trends Report 2018, 47 percent of organizations felt that mobile applications and accessibility were a critical capability of expense reporting software.
Expense management software will begin to respond to this change in the manner that people work by facilitating mobility. Employees will be able to submit reports and managers can approve the claims from a smartphone. Also, mobile applications will become more intuitive and responsive, encouraging greater adoption.
2. Travel booking
According to a 2018 study by Tripactions, 90 percent of respondents believe that travel is important for growth. However, 50 percent of employees don’t use the corporate travel solution offered by their organization owing to difficulties and the time taken to book a trip. They prefer using consumer channels.
Using multiple external vendors and disjointed channels to book travel can become tedious and lead to a lot of last-minute chaos. Also, the expenses have to be recorded accurately in the expense management system. It’s imperative to integrate the same into expense management software.
3. Integrated system
In 2019, expense management software will begin to consolidate currently disparate actions into a seamless system with credit cards, bank accounts, accounting, payroll, CRM, and more in one place. All these systems share a lot of common information, and it makes perfect sense to connect all these to ensure data integrity.
When integrated with travel applications and travel management company (TMC) solutions, transactions can be entered directly into the system without the need for manual input. Corporate cards can also be linked to the software, which makes it easier to reconcile credit card statements with expense reports.
4. Optical character recognition
According to 66 percent of respondents from the Certify Expense Management Trends Report 2018, ease of use was the top-most feature needed. Traveling employees spend a lot of time filling out expense reports. By using expense management software, businesses brought down the time and cost of expense reporting. This will further go down with advancements in OCR technology.
Optical character recognition (OCR) will be one of the significant ways in which the ease-of-use of expense management tool will be enhanced. It eliminates the need to manually input data from receipts into forms. It will also facilitate mobility.
Employees could just snap a picture of a receipt and have the software extract all the necessary information from it to fill a report. OCR technology is accurate up to 95 percent and doesn’t need too much human intervention to verify the information that’s been uploaded.
5. Artificial intelligence
As machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) evolve, they will add to the sophistication of expense management software. There will be improved ability to assign expense general ledger codes based on submissions and smarter categorization of expense types. Rudimentary versions of this exist in a few tools that use rule-based categorization.
AI-powered automation is also expected to minimize fraudulent expense reports. It can monitor, track, and approve expenses, and compliance-related issues will immediately be flagged and eliminated.
Stepping up your expense management
Although expense management practices and technology are making significant leaps, it is also true that there are many companies that still haven’t automated T&E processes. Ensuring the efficiency of your expense management processes doesn’t have to be extremely difficult, if you use the right tools.
This is a cloud-based solution that gives you total control over your business expenses. You can provide role-based access for additional security.
Kissflow Finance & Ops Cloud integrates easily with the applications you already use. Its powerful reporting capabilities provide valuable insights to improve your expense management processes. Kissflow also helps you boost compliance and minimize errors.