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Travel & Expense

Artificial Intelligence (AI) Can Eliminate Manager Approval of Expenses

on January 19, 2017

Employees and managers have been given many wonderful tools to streamline the expense reporting process. Because of technology, employees have the means to upload receipts and submit expense reports on the go, while mangers can review and approve expense reports from anywhere with the click of a button. But should they?

I’d like to propose something that may sound outrageous, at first— manager approval should NOT be in the expense report process. If you’re thinking that I’m crazy, please indulge me for a moment.

Managers are not the best gate-keepers. It’s not due to any fault of theirs. It’s just unrealistic to expect managers to find the needles in the haystack that violate corporate spending policy or appear irregular.

It is virtually impossible for managers to find patterns of behavior that indicate fraud or waste. They can’t easily compare and contrast the most recent report with older reports to spot duplication of expenses or irregularities. Managers are, rightfully, too busy focusing on other business priorities and it’s just too easy to click on the “Approve” button, especially because they want to trust their team members.

The fact is that artificial intelligence (AI) can do it better.

The analytics space is evolving to get T&E spending under control. Innovative companies are eliminating the management approval process in T&E by implementing AI technologies like Oversight Insights On Demand to automate the analysis of all T&E expenses. Doing so provides these companies with detailed views of their employees’ T&E spending habits. Companies can analyze 100% of their employees’ transactions, not just individual transactions at specific moments in time or a 20% sample. This means they can identify the small number of employees engaging in non-compliant activities and prevent them from recurring.

AI allows companies to devote more time to addressing risk instead of searching for it. Our research finds that a company that processes 5,000 expense reports a year forces its managers to spend a combined 833 hours to the review process instead of focusing on their higher value activity. Oversight’s clients have seen a reduction of at least 50% in the time and effort it takes them to review, audit and take action to resolve findings. What’s more these companies reduced the number of out-of-compliance activities by as much as 70%.

AI is a force multiplier for the T&E process. Download our latest white paper to learn more about eliminating manager approval in T&E by embracing AI technology to comprehensively analyze all transactions. You’ll find it’s not such a crazy idea after all.

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