Automating expense filing to create a better future

Mar 3, 2021

Filing expense reports is one of the most loathed tasks in business. We take a look at how automation can help to eliminate it.



In our articles, we often paint pictures of what the future could look like if many boring, repetitive tasks were removed from it. It is a nicer word, where automation makes life easier and people are freed from mind-numbing tasks. Today it will be no different, and we’ll tackle a business function that is notorious for paperwork and boring processes: expense filing.

We’re talking about something that almost anyone that works in a company has experienced. You purchase something for work, it can be anything from a few notebooks to a long business trip, you pay for it and think that it’s all done and dusted. But then, you remember that there’s something more to do, find the receipts, and – if you have not yet lost them or deleted the email – file them with the accounting team.

Both sides feel the pain

It is a problem that is felt especially by sales teams and managers who have to travel a lot for work. They need to file every expense or risk losing money out of their own pocket, turning the process into perhaps one of their most dreaded tasks.

The accounting teams also feel the pain as it is their job to chase down missing receipts and send questions and constant reminders to the people who have made the expenses to make sure the information is correct. The result is that neither side enjoys the process and both would love to see it disappear as fast as possible.

Ideally, it would all be automated, using a simple interface that requires minimum input from all the parties involved. Something that can be used while on the move, that can clarify things and ask for missing information immediately, and can make the information magically appear on the accounting team’s spreadsheets.

Light at the end of the tunnel

This solution exists or at least can be easily created with current technology and a partner like us. It takes advantage of something people use every day and open constantly: messaging apps like WeChat, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, or even Slack. There, a chatbot can serve as the interface between the company’s systems and its users.

Depending on the company’s exact situation it could be programmed in many ways but, as an example, it could be used to send a message to users whenever a payment is made with a company card, asking for a picture of the invoice and any other detail that might be needed to file the expense.

In this kind of system, the interface would be easy to use and conversational, and the high frequency of use of messaging apps would guarantee that users would see it, eliminating delays. If paired with an AI or image processing software the system could also automatically extract all the details from the image of the invoice and use the chat to ask questions about any detail it was not able to extract. The data could then immediately be fed into the accounting team’s systems and spreadsheet, completely eliminating this boring task and making life easier for all parties involved.

The technology is here, and this future could easily become your company’s presence. All you need to do to get started is use the contact link below and let our team help you.