When technology revolutionizes functions

By Fabien Paupier
Updated: 20 May 2020, first publication: July 2017
software backgroundWhen technology revolutionizes functions

Worthless admin tasks get added in business. Entering expense reports is one of them. If it gradually became a compulsory step, new technologies are currently changing this.

Entering expense reports

What is an expense report?

These are expenses incurred by employees or managers, for the benefit of the company and supported by an invoice or receipt. The following consist of expenses:

  • catering
  • accommodation
  • transport: receipts/ travel tickets, and mileage allowance for a personal vehicle.

How to create an expense report?

The person who incurs the expense must keep the receipt. Then:

  • they either personally enter the information into a document in a dedicated format (Excel table, ERP software...), after which they transmit the reimbursement documents to the referent service for validation,
  • or they transmit the information directly without first entering it. Then it is up to the referent service to verify, enter and validate the data. After validation, the reports are subject to reimbursement via the following pay slip.

A laborious process

Both ways are inconvenient. For a salesperson constantly on the move for example, the receipts stack up and get damaged. Entering the information would take a huge amount of time, and delegating this task to a third party is no less time-consuming. In fact, the person responsible would have even less contextual information to refund the expense. Finding, each time, the date, the name of the brand, the pre-tax value and the all-taxes-included value, would be really demanding - all the more so when the information is based on damaged receipts.

Why do we insist so much on entering this information?

In regards to employees, it's important to maintain this option. The company has fewer credit cards than employees. So there are numerous situations where the expense report would be more practical. Additionally, in specific cases of mileage allowances, the reimbursement calculation ends up being more beneficial for the employee. The amount reimbursed for a journey is higher than that spent on gas and associated fees. And in France, this difference is non-taxable re income tax: a type of bonus which can be of interest.

For the company, the expense reports reimbursements are categorized as expenses, which decreases the company's taxable profit, reducing its corporate tax. Additionally, the reimbursement is not subject to social security contributions. Therefore it represents a type of bonus for the employees, and a type of reimbursement exempt from employer contributions. An advantage on both financial and corporate levels then.

A pinch of technology and all is illuminated

Machine Learning

Technological progress is pushing advances in large areas like operational tasks. Big Data technologies rendered machine learning more powerful. The machine analyzes the information on the basis of algorithms. And the varied application areas concern data entry in particular.

Intelligent algorithms

Machine learning is an autonomous system. The program analyzes the data, either:

  • on the basis of known history: this is called supervized learning,
  • or on the basis of correlations which it identifies: this is called unsupervized learning.
The learning effect supplies the predictive ability of the algorithm. This analysis is a decisive resource for the operational tasks in a company.

Scan rather than enter

In a time when we all have smartphones, holding on to paper receipts is obsolete. Rather than taking the risk of losing or damaging them, just photograph them. That way we have them in digital format - a first step to solving the issues of conservation and storage, but also entry. On a report management tool like Expensya, the visual recognition instantly scans the photographed receipt. The tool detects the main information: amount, supplier, date, and all you have to do is validate the registered expense report.

Digitalize your management

Technology at the service of professionals

The spread of smartphones and the increasing quality of their photos have opened a path to a new use. Add on computational intelligence and your processes become modernized. No more manual entry - in an expense reports solution such as Expensya, the data is transmitted immediately in the tool. This spells the end of paper receipt bundles, with digitalization and artificial intelligence replacing laborious manual entries.

The machine is improving

The program only needs to learn. In 87% of cases, the information detected is perfect with the "ground" conditions - in other words, with the photos taken quickly with a phone. The program achieves 98.5% in "lab" conditions - in other words when invoices are scanned. And these figures keep increasing: the more data the software accumulates, the more accurate it becomes. The aggregated data is kept in cloud computing, such that the software package doesn't slow down the company's computer system. And employees can use it on the go for more ease.

A real gain for the company

Expense reports entry is so time-consuming that some companies outsource it. But with subcontracting, the higher the number of expense reports to enter, the more costly the delivery. With an intelligent software solution, the analysis just gets faster and more reliable: a virtuous cycle in the long-term.

Technological progress doesn't just serve NASA's space exploration. Much more pragmatically, technology saves time and energy for repetitive tasks or tasks with no added value. Computational intelligence, applied by Expensa with the entry of expense reports, consists of a colossal operational progress for the daily running of businesses. To find out more, check out our expense reports management guides.

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