Happy employees = higher productivity = more successful company. A successful company is progressive, which can be seen in the way it handles its finances. Companies that let their employees pay for business expenses such as food, travel and hotel bookings in advance out of their own pocket and then only reimburse them at the end of the month are not very timely. In the constant effort to keep employees happy, companies should minimize the burden on them, especially when it comes to handling business expenses, and make use of corporate credit cards. Thanks to OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technologies, the automatic reconciliation of credit card statements with receipts and invoices is now easier and safer than ever before and a no-brainer for modern companies.
There are understandable reasons why companies may shy away from integrating corporate credit cards at the beginning. The fear of fraud and abuse by employees is real. Whether used for private expenses or simply very loosely used for business expenses, both fall into the category of misuse. However, there are various approaches to counteract this and to build in appropriate control mechanisms.
The topic also has another side of the coin. How many meetings are cancelled because employees have to pay for business expenses in advance, which they then not only have to claim with an additional expense, but also have to wait until the end of the month to be reimbursed? How many employees are so frightened off in advance that a meeting that may be essential for the company never takes place, or a trip never takes place? The answer is: too many. Just like the misuse of a company credit card, this also only brings disadvantages for a company. So where is the solution?
The corporate credit card is the answer, of course. So far, so good. But this alone does not solve the problem of administrative effort associated with it. At the end of the month, employees submit their receipts and invoices for all business expenses, which the finance department must then manually compare with the credit card statement received separately. Receipt for receipt. Line by line. This is not only extremely tedious, but also costly and error-prone work.
The complication lies in the manual comparison between the credit card statements and the separate receipts/invoices, although this difficulty can be easily avoided. Today, there are solutions available that replace all manual reconciliations with automation.
Your employees can pay all business expenses with their company credit card, be it for food, meetings, travel tickets, hotel bills, etc. After each payment with the company credit card, the employee takes a photo of the receipt/invoice with his smartphone camera and forwards it to the finance department. Your OCR software then extracts all relevant data from the receipt/invoice and your expense management system automatically compares it with the credit card statement. Output by output, line by line, is compared between the invoice and the credit card statement, for example, as between:
- Purchase description (e.g. train ticket from…to…)
- Which employee
- Date and place of purchase
In the end, the extracted and matched data between the receipt/invoice and the credit card statement will result in either a match or a mismatch. If a match is found, the line is automatically authorized and closed. In the event of a mismatch, for example due to a private, unauthorized or implausible issue, but also in the event of a complete absence of a receipt/invoice because it was not submitted by the employee, a message is automatically created. The process thus remains pending, can be checked by the finance department and the employee can be held accountable if necessary.
Thanks to an OCR solution and automatic line by line reconciliation, the previously manual, tedious and error-prone work can now suddenly be carried out quickly, simply, reliably and securely. Processing times are thus massively reduced.
The advantages of integrating such an extraction solution for credit card statements are therefore obvious for companies. The time-consuming and tedious processes of manual verification and reconciliation are completely eliminated for your finance department. This gives them room for other, more demanding tasks, which generally leads to a higher appreciation and creation of value and happier employees.