The Expense Reporting Landscape in 2020

The new year and decade are upon us! 

Organizational expense reporting is a dynamic aspect of finance that is constantly evolving for the better. It is expected to reach $2.5 billion in 2020. But it is still one of the most deferred activities by employees and managers alike, especially in organizations that still run on legacy systems or pen and paper. With groundbreaking additions to the expense reporting landscape, it is now easier than ever to stay on top of your expenses without breaking a sweat.

So, let's take a look at how the expense reporting landscape is shaping up in 2020.

Absolute automation

Take any business sector these days and you'll find that it automates one task or another. Expense reporting is no different. Moving into the new decade, automating just one part of your expense reporting process isn't going to be sufficient. Absolute automation is the way to go in 2020. 

Auto-scanning receipts and adding expenses is now considered an elementary function for an expense solution. Automating the entire expense management process from start to finish is what businesses will look for, going forward.  

And with good reason—absolute automation brings with it a ton of benefits. Apart from the obvious benefit of saving precious time, automation also ensures increased accuracy by reducing human intervention. It also helps bring a sense of order to the expense reporting process, which is generally considered to be chaotic and frustrating. 

Artificial intelligence

Even an automated system still needs human inputs from time to time, and this can lead to errors. To err is only human, after all. In 2019, the average enterprise processed an average of 8,876 expense reports per month. Nearly 9% of these expenses either violated company policy or were flagged for potential errors, misuse, or fraud.  

This is where artificial intelligence comes in. When used in the right places and ways, AI is an incredibly powerful way to streamline operations in any business, and expense reporting is no exception. Such manual errors can be identified at an early stage and rectified accordingly. For example: policy violations and duplicate expense entries can be weeded out instantly.  

With artificial personal assistants becoming mainstream, getting work done is easier than ever. 2020 could be the year when personal assistants can integrate into expense reporting apps to make our work easier. From simple tasks like letting users know if they have unsubmitted expense reports, to performing sophisticated actions on voice command the possibilities are endless with AI-powered personal assistants.

Digital money

More and more countries are moving away from cash transactions and embracing the digital economy. Naturally, businesses need to keep up with the trend. But it's not just about keeping up. Taking a digital approach to the money involved in organizational expense reporting has other advantages.  

Providing advance payments in the form of corporate or petty cash cards for travel and branch spending purposes gives finance teams more control over how the money is spent. It gives them greater visibility into how much a branch is spending and for what purposes. They can even save a lot of time by easily reloading money or restricting cards, thanks to advanced solutions like Zoho Expense. 

Most importantly, once the feeds from these cards are fetched into an expense reporting solution, they can be automatically reconciled with the corresponding expense entries, thereby saving finance employees and auditors time and effort. This also ensures lesser chances of expense duplication.  

Advanced expense analytics

“The goal is to turn data into information, and information into insight,” said former HP CEO Carly Fiorina, and it can't be truer in 2020. Information is key in expense management, as it helps you zero in on the things you want to allow and the ones you need to control.  

Going into the new year, organizations will be as data-hungry as ever. Expense reporting analytics helps businesses define clearer policies, thereby cutting down unwanted spending. Analytic reports also help teams identify policy violations and reconcile their expenses.  

Powerful integrations

When two apps work with each other seamlessly, 1+1=3. The sum is always greater than the individual pieces. When it comes to software, a close-knit family of apps can accomplish much more than fragmented ones.  

It can be hugely time-consuming to switch between several apps to create your travel request, choose your ticket options, request an advance amount, add your expenses, reconcile them with your card feeds, add them to a report, and submit it for approval. Phew! Wouldn't it just be easier if you can do it from a unified interface and all the data is automatically synced between systems? A well-integrated expense reporting system that can do that for you is the way to go in 2020.  

Bottom line

2020 promises to be a breakthrough year for expense reporting. Rise to the top and ride these new and upcoming trends with the help of a completely automated, tightly integrated, and intelligent expense reporting solution that is data-rich as well.

Happy expense reporting in 2020!


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