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Travel & Expense

3 Outstanding Functionalities of Our Workbench

on March 30, 2016

The Insights On Demand Travel and Expense (T&E) module leverages a broad spectrum of sophisticated analytics to review 100% of a company’s travel-related expenses, typically identifying 2 – 5% of those transactions as potential fraud, waste, or misuse. These risky transactions – referred to as “exceptions” – are presented to users via our case management tool, the Workbench.

At its core, the Workbench is an intuitive, action-oriented case management system, but it also includes a variety of features designed to save time, reduce effort, and ultimately automate policy compliance within organizations. This blog hones the top three functionalities to highlight their practicality and effectiveness, and why you should consider Oversight Insights On Demand™ for expense operations.

#1 - Seamless Communication

Emailing an employee who has potentially violated company policy can be accomplished in as little as two mouse clicks in the Workbench. Moreover, users will seldom, if ever, need to manually type an email when initiating communication with an employee, since our T&E module includes completely configurable email templates, which can be utilized for a multitude of purposes. Each of these templates is tailored to the client’s needs during implementation (your Oversight Account Manager and Implementation team will help you with it!) so each email will automatically be addressed to the appropriate recipient(s) within your organization. Having this functionality means that the time and energy spent drafting emails for each instance of policy violation can instead be channeled into other priorities!

In addition to the communication flexibility and time optimization inherent in this product feature, Insights On Demand also stores all email communication between users and employees, along with any supporting notes and attachments, in a tamper-proof log linked to each exception. This log is leveraged by built-in reporting functionality that consolidates the evidence therein and outputs it in a format that can be used to support disciplinary or legal action when necessary (like in the instance of any potential FCPA violations or investigations.) These complimentary functionalities collapse the effort required to gather, summarize, and format this crucial information into the click of a button.

It is also worth noting that utilizing the email functionality built into T&E palpably informs employees that their expense transactions are being monitored by an automated system. This knowledge alone is often enough to convince employees to think twice before knowingly attempting to circumvent policy.

#2 – Smarter Exclusions

Suppose an employee has made four purchases at public golf courses over the span of one month, and some of those transactions occurred on a weekend. Out-of-the-box, this behavioral pattern would be flagged by our T&E module as a Policy Misuse exception. But, what if this behavior is actually within a company’s policy? Perhaps, for example, it is part of the employee’s job to build and maintain business relationships by participating in events at golf courses.

Scenarios such as this are addressed systemically using Exclusions, which are rules created in the Workbench that, after going through an approval process, teach Insights On Demand about a company’s policies. For a given family of analytics – that is, for a given “Insight” – Exclusions are created at the cardholder or global level for a merchant or merchant category code. Once an Exclusion is in place, the system will not generate subsequent exceptions that meet the Exclusion criteria, and any such exceptions that already exist will be automatically closed.

In the example scenario above, one might create a cardholder-level exclusion for the merchant category code group “Public Golf Courses”. This would close out the existing exception, and also ensure that no future golf course purchases made by that employee would be flagged and rolled up into a Policy Misuse exception. It is important to note, though, that other Insights would continue to take such transactions into consideration. If, for example, the employee made purchases at golf courses out-of-pocket, rather than on their corporate card, the Excessive Out-of-Pocket Insight would still flag the behavior.

Ultimately, Exclusions implicitly save time and reduce effort, since users will not have to spend time and energy researching transactions that are widely known to be within policy. One subtler benefit of this feature is that it stores company policies in the T&E system, which removes the need for auditors and approvers to remember which specific employees are allowed to make certain purchases and which ones are not. This functionality also means that you have less exceptional spending to manually review and our software gets smarter with every use.

#3 - Exception Confidence

Within the inner-workings of each Insight, particular datum called Indicators determine which transactions or patterns of behavior appear to be risky. Each Indicator has an associated numerical value that is used in the background to calculate a value referred to as the Confidence. The Confidence value is a representation of the certainty that a given transaction or pattern of behavior is in violation of policy. In the Workbench, the Confidence value is used to prioritize exceptions and provide users with a means to determine which exceptions are the most important.

These exception summaries based on the Confidence value are very useful for prioritizing one’s efforts in the Workbench. The idea is to optimize the time users spend reviewing exceptions by pointing out some of the most important ones at the onset.

In Conclusion

There are many other facets of the Workbench that allow users to streamline their periodic travel and expense audit process. The ultimate goal of Oversight Insights On Demand™ is to equip users with the tools and knowledge required to quickly and efficiently take action on potentially risky behavior within an organization. When this is accomplished, there is much greater incentive for employees to honor their company’s travel policy.

Ready to see the Workbench capabilities for yourself? Take a Free test drive of our software with your own data! Click here.