Modern expense management systems are quite impressive. Most offer a mobile app that allows employees to take pictures of receipts and record trip information on the go.
Plus these apps usually integrate with the travel tools and policies in use by the business. However, these expense tools tend to fall short when it comes to mileage log features. This is because most expense tools still require employees to log mileage manually.
The Problem with Manual Expense Reporting
Reporting expenses manually is time consuming and subject to human error. Unlike taking a picture of a receipt, which takes five seconds and ensures accuracy, logging business mileage requires an employee to take several minutes to calculate mileage and enter the data into the system. There is no way to ensure accuracy; in fact, over-reporting tends to result when employees try to save time by estimating mileage. Even conscientious employees can make calculation errors. Plus, devoting sufficient time to these administrative tasks decreases the time available for revenue-generating activities.
The vast majority of sales reps and account managers travel more frequently by car than by plane or train. They will have more mileage transactions than airline tickets and therefore distinctly need an automated process to quickly and easily manage their business mileage. Expense management mileage logs cannot provide this because they are often glorified Excel spreadsheets that involve a substantial amount of manual data entry. Most employees view mileage logs as a time-consuming chore that adds little to their effectiveness in their jobs. Their objective is simply to input their appointments and mileage in accordance with IRS regulations and company policy for reimbursement purposes.
Manual Expense Tool + Disorganized Employee = A Costly Mess
As if completing manual mileage logs were not already mundane enough, many employees make matters worse by failing to complete this basic administrative duty for months on end. If they are not organized, they may find themselves with months of appointments to track and log and the whole process begins to resemble piecing together a complex jigsaw puzzle.
Consider the ensuing costs in time and money to the company. You might think that this is a behavioral issue, not an expense management issue. In some sense, yes, you could correct it by retraining the employee, installing new accountability structures, or firing the employee and hiring a more organized person. But those are costly solutions, and they don’t fully address the problem. Any form of expense reporting that remains manual will pose challenges even for a highly organized employee.
Manual Expense Tool + Organized Employee = Tedium (and Still Subject to Error)
For an organized employee, the process might look like this:
- Keep a record of appointments throughout the month
- At the end of the month gather the addresses associated with each respective appointment.
- If they are lucky and their mileage log has an address feature, enter the addresses in the system.
- If they are not lucky, enter the addresses into a mapping solution like Google maps or MapQuest to identify the mileage traveled.
- Enter the mileage in the expense management tool.
As you can see, this is a time-consuming, tedious process. Its complexity increases the likelihood that appointments and/or mileage can be inaccurately reported.
There are easier tools that will work with your existing hardware and software to help automate the process. These tools work with your CRM system, mobile phones, and existing expense management tools to make life a lot easier for your employees. Automate the process, maximize efficiencies, and increase productivity and business travel ROI. Contact mBurse for a test-drive today.