Why you should rethink the way you’re tracking expenses

It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business, working a full-time job or navigating freelance life — everyone has to deal with expenses at some point. It’s a fact of life for anyone who wants to make sure their purchases are properly reimbursed by their employer or made tax deductible.

But if there’s anything worse than doing expenses, it’s doing them in an inefficient way. Unfortunately lots of people stick to their old ways because their employer requires them or just because they like doing it that way — even though they could save lots of time if they would adjust their workflows.

In this article we’ll take a look at the various ways people take care of their expenses, their pitfalls and how to set up a better, more efficient system.

Manual reporting

While it might not be the most straightforward way to manage expenses anymore, lots of companies still stick with doing it the old-school way. Manual expense reporting can take on many different forms, but it all comes down to the same thing — loads and loads of paperwork.

It all starts with the physical receipts, which employees often gather at their desk. Once every while it’s time to process them — something that can take a good chunk of time out of their day. The first step is to categorise everything, creating some kind of order in a messy stack of receipts and invoices. Then they’ll print out a couple of expense forms, fill them out with the necessary information and staple the right documents to them. These are then handed in to the financial department, which has to — again — manually go through all of the documents to make sure they’re properly processed.

Of course there’s a lot that could be improved about this process. It’s easy to make mistakes when working manually, for example — accidentally switching up numbers doesn’t happen as quickly when you’re working digitally. Another big issue is that people often end up losing their receipts, making it impossible for them to get reimbursed. This complicates things for everyone involved — employees have to print out their bank statements, while the financial department won’t have all information required by the tax authority.

Simple digital reporting

Somewhat better than full manual reporting, this slightly improved workflow often relies heavily on a system of Excel sheets. These function as digital versions of the physical forms, with employees filling them in whenever they sit down to process their expenses. While some companies will require the forms to be emailed to the right department, more technologically advanced businesses will have set up shared folders per employee that update instantly. While it’s only a small change, this makes it easier to deal with large amounts of incoming expenses in a relatively efficient way.

Advanced digital reporting

There’s no shortage of digital tools that claim to have the solution to fast and efficient expense reporting. These products often wrap a host of features in a software package that is distributed across the company, with employees getting access to an online portal or desktop app that allows them to send their expenses to Finance. But even though it’s a digital product, they’ll still need to manually enter the data, attach the right receipt or invoice and schedule time to process it all.

On the other end of the line, the financial department also still needs to take a look at all incoming expenses, check if they fall within the defined budgets and correct any information that has been incorrectly entered.

Another recurring problem is the design of many of these tools. They’re often made with businesses in mind, which means they don’t pay much attention to creating a good-looking product. What they forget, however, is that their employees are used to using well-designed tools — pretty much every consumer-facing digital product is focused on delivering a great user experience. It’s a striking contrast with most business tools, that tend to focus on functionality over design — even though that means it might be harder to use for most people.

Full-service automated digital reporting

When we realized that there’s a huge opportunity for a product that combines forward-looking features with a groundbreaking design, we set out to create Rydoo. Our full-service expense platform incorporates powerful tools like receipt uploading from your smartphone and real-time approval by managers to make sure you’re always reimbursed as quickly as possible.

But we didn’t just cram in lots of features without thinking about the user experience — instead we’ve built a product that you’ll love to use. Inspired by the ease-of-use of digital tools made for consumers, we’ve made it so taking care of your expenses will feel like using your favorite online platform.

Convinced yet? Try Rydoo for yourself — sign up for our free trial today.

Originally published , modified

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