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White Papers

On the road again: managing the road warriors' expenses
Providing suitable tools to meet the mobile worker's expense management needs
By: Quocirca
Published: October 2010
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The tool of choice to the highly mobile workforce is the mobile phone. From customer contact and records keeping, through calendaring and scheduling to mapping and news feeds, the mobile phone is usurping the laptop as the main point of technology for the road warrior. Aside from the typical conveniences the mobile phone offers travelling employees, the ability to manage expenses closer to the point of spend, bypassing the credit card/receipt/spreadsheet/bank payment process through the use of a suitable mobile phone focused solution can optimise expense management for all concerned.

Mobility within the average organisation has increased rapidly over the past few years. Whereas yesterday's "road warrior" would have carried a range of different devices with them in order to carry out their job, the focus is increasingly on the growing intelligence and ubiquity of the mobile phone. Providing a suitable experience for the road warrior is the key to success in ensuring a cost effective expense management system.

Today's tool of choice for the road warrior is the mobile phone
Increasingly, the PC and the laptop are diminishing in importance and use for the road warrior. The increasing capabilities of the mobile phone should make this the focus for any new expense management system - although the PC and laptop cannot be discounted as access devices for less mobile users.

Managing receipts on the move is error-prone and leads to expenses being misclaimed and/or claimed late
Manual or purely PC-based expense management systems require the mobile employee to store receipts and other records of business-related spend to be input into the system at a later time. Errors are bound to creep in through the loss or illegibility of receipts. Paper-based expense receipts are open to fraud  Blank receipts, changing figures and multi-claiming for a one-off expense can be too easy through manual systems. Integrating the claims solution into the point of expense wherever possible avoids such fraud.

Being able to run reports across a disparate mobile community has to be a higher priority
Through aggregate reporting against all employees, best (and worst) practices can be identified and optimised to minimise expenses wherever possible.

"Point of expense" submission systems need to be a focus
Systems that can capture expense events and bypass the need for employees to make payment themselves are becoming more capable. Minimising the involvement of the employee should be a focus, so streamlining the whole process. "Mash ups" and other loosely integrated systems all point to better expense management  Mobile phones are increasingly making use of functions and services provided through the cloud by a host of different providers. Many of these solutions offer means of e.g. booking and paying for taxis, meals or other expenses, and can be integrated directly into suitable expense management systems.

Automating expense payments to bypass the employee can provide massive overall efficiency improvements
As the mobile phone continues to increase in capability and be more widely used as a business tool, using it as a means of payment where the expense is automatically reconciled against either a personal or corporate credit card account means that the employee is removed from the process to the maximum level - which is good for the employee and employer.

An externally hosted system removes availability issues and minimises management costs
Attempting to create a system that is not only available 24x7, but also understands the way that different tax and expenses rules work on a global basis, is expensive and difficult to maintain. It is far more effective to outsource the provision and management of the platform along with expense management domain expertise to an external service provider.

Conclusions
As mobility increases within an organisation, the needs and habits of employees continue to change. Employee reliance on the use of the PC or laptop for the hyper-mobile is rapidly diminishing, with the increased capabilities of the mobile phone coming to the fore. Looking for expense management systems that not only work on the mobile phone, but optimise its capabilities, will lead to far more effective expense management across the whole business

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