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Industry: Tarp and Cover Manufacturing

Revenue: $5 – $10 M

Employees: 101-500

Location: North America

Challenges: Established in 1981, this company started out producing roll up tarps and first-of-a-kind roll-up covers for trucks. The company has 12 traveling outside sales representatives who are creating expense reports, plus another six employees who travel infrequently. They have established a travel and entertainment policy, however, they have been very lenient in enforcing the policy.

Their T&E process was such that employees were out on the road traveling using cash or their personal credit cards for company travel expenses. They completed their trip and filled out a company Excel expense report spreadsheet template. After entering the details of their spending, they attached receipt documentation and then mailed it through the US postal service to the company’s sales manager’s assistant. This employee reviewed the expense reports and made sure all receipt documentation was included and that the totals matched the expenses on the report. Once approved, the report was handed off to the sales manager who signed off on the expenses without further review.

Managers handled budgetary information and were held accountable. Once the sales manager had reviewed the expense report, they handed it off to the controller who had the last and final review and say over the dollars. The controller audited the receipt details, checked the amounts and handled the coding process. Once the report was approved by the controller, it was handed off for a final accounts payable review and payment. All receipts were put in an envelope, attached to the expense report and filed.

The biggest challenge was that the entire process involved too much paper being passed around. Another main concern was the time it took an employee to be reimbursed. Sometimes, managers would be out traveling, so it took them time before they could approve these reports. There was also usually always information missing (e.g. names of people at a meal, their company name, and the total number of attendees to the meal.) The company’s T&E policy was not consistently being applied across the board. Finally, there was no way for employees to track when their reimbursements might be paid, or where their expense reports are in the approval process.

Technical Needs: The company uses a local firm for travelers’ bookings. When it originally started researching this expense report automation project, it looked at also incorporating a travel booking tool, but soon realized the travel agent was sufficient for their needs. The agent books all of their airfare using the company’s corporate credit card. Car rentals, hotels, and other travel spend are booked on employee personal credit cards.

For expense reporting, the company needed the system to integrate with the Microsoft Dynamics GP accounting system it uses. It wanted to embed company spending policy directly into the system, including expense category attributes, such as attendee/company names and require receipts for all expenses. Other technical requirements included the ability reject or approve line items on a report, print and review the expense report, access archived reports, incorporate budget information and add an approver on the fly.

ExpenseWatch Solution: ExpenseWatch Expense Reports was chosen to automate its expense reporting process. The system is configured to embed this company’s spending policy, so both submitters and approvers can see right away if the expense is within policy. Integrated personal credit cards make it easy for traveling employees to drag and drop charges to create line items on their reports. The credit card charge fills in most of the information needed, and employees fill in company required information and save the line item to complete it. Once reports are completed, employees route them for approval using the automated workflow built into the system. Submitters can see the status of their report at any time, and automated emails let submitters know when actions have been taken on their reports.

Approvers can review expense reports at any time, either using the web-based app or with the mobile app, ensuring reports are reviewed promptly. Because expense policy is embedded into the system, approvers can see right away if an expense item is within policy. They can approve or reject items line-by-line, sending approved items to the accounting team for reimbursement and rejected items back to the submitter to rework. Approvers can be added on the fly should someone else in the organization need to approve an expense item. Incorporated budget data lets approvers see right away if spending is within budget for the given time period, and can hold off to approve a report should it push the business unit over budget for the given time period.

Another key benefit is customer support and training. ExpenseWatch ensures that all employees who will use the system are trained and supported throughout the lifetime of the relationship with its customers.

All expense data easily integrates with the company’s accounting system, eliminating the need to manually rekey information. Paper has been virtually eliminated in this company’s expense reporting process, and employees are reimbursed much quicker.

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