A report by SAP Concur reveals that a third of business fraud is the result of weaknesses in the internal control of companies' expenses; Furthermore, 75% of financial leaders affirm that their businesses often exceed travel, expense and invoice budgets. And although the measures adopted due to the pandemic have limited or restricted these items by themselves, the return to the new normal requires that effective measures be taken to prevent them from becoming - or continuing to be - a hole in the finances of the companies.

This is particularly true if one takes into account that one of the main reasons why control is not efficient is that some companies have not yet automated their processes and continue to record receipts completely manually. Thus, they run the risk that the margin of error is much higher and There are losses in the invoices and inconsistencies when making the expense report for each employee.

The SAP Concur report confirms this: 81% of finance leaders admit the existence of blind spots when it comes to travel, expenses and company invoices. Additionally, figures from the Association for Financial Professionals reveal that only 9% of companies have access to real-time data for analysis and control of expenses. On the employee side, the matter is no less problematic: 35% of them think it takes too long to send their expense reports. The sum of all these factors affects the capital of companies that, according to the same figures from SAP Concur, allocate around 10% of their annual budgets to expenses and travel.

Control of expenses
Image: sabinevanerp (Pixabay).

Hence the importance of having companies with tools that allow accurate data collection and internal management of all processes, including the approval of invoices and the payment of per diem or travel. One of those tools is precisely SAP Concour, with whose representatives we will have an interesting event called Business and telecommuting: business expenses in the new normal, whose conversation you can follow on social networks with the hashtag #GastosInteligentes. To participate, you can register at this link, where you will find more details about the date, time, agenda and participants.

"Having specialized tools for expense management not only reduces the approval and execution times of tasks, but also provides the possibility for the entire work team to be aligned with company policies and in this way fraud can be avoided and economic losses reduced”Said Lilly Levi, Chief Operating Officer for SAP Concur Latin America.

In addition to what was mentioned by the executive, the solutions allow companies to create more accurate strategies based on the data thrown by the applications or platforms, and also They will allow to have work teams much more agile and dedicated to the execution of important projects for business development and not only to the performance of tasks that can be automated.

Tips to control expenses in companies  

As a hint of what we will see at the event, we share 3 practices recommended by SAP Concur for companies to control their expenses and risks:

  1. Turn to technology to face your biggest risks: Mileage and cash payments often cause more frustration for finance teams. They are difficult to detect and validate without intensive administrative burden, and they open the door for errors, overspending and potential fraud. The right technology can solve this problem, so look for solutions that allow you to preserve the cash receipt requirement that best suits your policies, while getting rid of all that frustrating paper. To achieve this end, procedures are useful such as employees taking photos of their receipts, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to process them and using GPS tracking.
  2. Simplify processes while strengthening control: Find solutions that allow employees to book travel and manage expenses from one simple app. They should be able to use a corporate reservation tool or book directly with favorite brands like Uber or Airbnb (these tools only allow you to see the options that conform to their policies). In this way, the data of all those expenses and charges from the corporate card flow directly into the system, so the expense reports are filled out, broken down and categorized automatically and accurately; business compliance and employee satisfaction increase; administrators can spend less time managing the process and more time controlling costs.
  3. See what you've missed so you can start saving: Look for solutions that provide a clear view of all your travel and expense data across your entire business. Such solutions should allow employees to quickly plan a trip and request approvals, so that costs can be controlled before spending the money; use machine learning and artificial intelligence technology (along with auditing experts) to ensure every receipt is included and all policies are followed; provide finance teams and budget managers with expense dashboards and alerts to stay on top of expenses and stay ahead of regulatory requirements, and have reporting expertise to help isolate all key data, track and trends you need, identifying where your policies work and where they can be improved.

In this link you can register to download the document 7 steps to building a more adaptable and resilient company, in which SAP Concur shares a guide that teaches how to use technology to achieve that goal.