Why expense reporting on Slack makes sense

It’s 2018 and expense reporting still sucks. If you don’t believe us, head to expense reporting sucks, which is a collection of tweets that ooze with the pain and suffering of people going through the toil of expense filing. This is not a problem that is specific to a department, region or industry group. It is almost a universal truth. The world seems to be divided with regards to the reasons why expense reporting is so hard, but broken processes and poor software, seem to be the two main culprits.

The solution to an efficient expense reporting could lie in something that has little or nothing to do with the finance domain. We’ve been working on a new kind of expense reporting system that runs over Slack. By reducing the effort to file and approve expenses, we’ve been able to simplify some interesting aspects of the problem. Here’s a bunch of reasons why we think you too should be doing your expense reporting on Slack.

No more forms

Filing expense reporting on Slack means an end to filling out boring Excel sheets and web forms. Just send simple messages like ‘Spent $34.5 on coffee with clients’ to ExpenseTron on Slack. It is very natural and hard to get wrong. Let the advances in AI and machine learning pick out the amount, purpose, date, category etc of the expense. Attach a receipt and you’re done. From then on the bot will send it for approval and keep you posted on it.

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No more printouts

There’s a fair chance you’re still filling out the expense reports on an Excel and printing out your receipts and attaching them together. You really don’t have to feel like such a dinosaur. There is a simpler alternative. Take a picture of the receipt of the expense you just made and send it to ExpenseTron. It will take over, extract necessary details, file the expense and get it approved.

This ‘just in time’ approach, is a massive leap from the current state of affairs. By making it extremely easy to file expenses, we have made people less likely to punt on it till the last minute.

No more do-it-at-the-last-minute

If you took a look at expense reporting sucks, you’ll notice that in a majority of the cases, people seem to be dreading the task that lies ahead of them. Each user has to login to his/her account, find the relevant option in the menu, then start creating a new expense type...you get the drift… Doing expense reporting over Slack allows people to consume and act on small pieces of information over several work days instead of spending an inordinate amount of time every two weeks or so.

No more communication mishaps

One of the key advantages of moving a workflow over a communication platform is that it allows the different parties involved to stay updated. Slack, with its plethora of communication concepts like direct messages, public and private channels, is an ideal candidate for enabling smoother flow of information. In the expense reporting world, this is the manager’s ability to quickly getting all the information they need to approve/reject an expense, finance managers being updated on all approvals/rejections, employees being made aware of when their reimbursements are being processed etc. A web application usually does a poor job of alerts, reminders and updates. I dare say, this would be the key driver of Concur Labs’s collaboration with Slack.

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No more data silos

There is a flip side to using the best tool for each job. It leads to internal software stacks becoming tens of apps large. That at times, puts pressure on your processes You need to ensure data from one tool flows into the other and expenses reconcile. One of the pet peeves of accountants is that they need hate giving normal employees access to accounting software which puts additional pressure on them to ensure the data is reflected accurately in the accounting system, which leads them to design complicated processes/paperwork that in turn leads to mistakes.

A simple solution to this problem is to integrate with the accounting system (like QuickBooks Online or Xero), sync up chart of accounts and then sync approved expenses (or the purchase orders) to the accounting system. All this, while updating the required party at every instance, so errors are caught and resolved in time. With ExpenseTron, you can also set up custom fields and tags so that your accounting team is able to accurately receive their requirements for every expense.

No more expense report rejections

An efficient system is built with the intention to set their users up for success. Expense policies, however, seem to be designed with the intention of failing the users. Slack offers two dimensions to this problem. One, by reducing the threshold to file expenses, it allows people to learn the right things by ‘guiding while doing’ approach. It prevents people from ever filing an expense that would probably get rejected. Two, the efficient communication angle prevents minor errors from becoming catastrophes. It allows you to make cheaper mistakes that don’t reach accounting and prevent you from receiving the dreaded ‘Your expense report is rejected’ email at 9pm one night.

To summarise, with ExpenseTron on Slack, you are able to set your users up for success. Budgets, multi-approval layers, thresholds for receipts, exchange rates, offices and departments etc are only some of the things that help you simplify expense reporting for your people. Do give it a try, thousands of companies around the world have tried it and loved it!

Still not convinced? Schedule a personalized demo.