No matter how well you run your startup, manually reimbursing your employees is a juggling act. Keeping track of receipts, checking the status of reimbursement requests, and manually entering numbers into a database is a huge drain on energy and resources and can start to feel like an administrative circus.
That’s why successful startups are trying something new: an AI-driven approach for reimbursable expenses. This approach improves the process of managing employee expenses for employees and employers and does the juggling for you.
Not sure how it works or what it means for your startup? This article will dive into why we think AI tools are the future of employee reimbursement. We’ll also explain the key advantages of this approach.
What Is AI-Driven Employee Reimbursement?
AI-driven tools are efficient, cost-effective ways to manage business-related expenses. Today’s AI technology can save time, guarantee financial accuracy, and eliminate the risk of human error. By automating the reimbursement process, AI also reduces the waiting period in the traditional reimbursement process.
AI-powered algorithms can track employees’ travel, work-related, and other types of expenses in real time. In juggling terms, AI can see every ball at every point in space. The algorithm can then categorize those expenses and automatically record them in a database, making sure not a single ball gets dropped.
Today, many employees still apply for expense reimbursement the old-fashioned way by saving receipts from work-related travel, tax-deductible purchases, or office expenses. Even with a platform or database to keep track of reimbursements, the process isn’t automated and can be cumbersome. But with an AI solution, employees simply upload their receipts and then go about their business.
AI eliminates the time-consuming processes of manual data entry, approval, and review. It can also reimburse employees on the same day with ACH payments.
There are a number of clear advantages to using AI-driven employee reimbursement. Let’s get into the six biggest advantages that this approach has compared to the traditional reimbursement process.
Key Advantages of Implementing AI-Driven Employee Reimbursement
Shifting to an AI-driven employee reimbursement approach can save your startup time and resources. In a recent survey, more than 40% of top executives said that cost-cutting remains a priority, given the state of the economy. AI also helps to streamline the process and speed up the reimbursement rate, making it more efficient and reducing errors.
Here are the six key advantages of AI-driven employee reimbursement.
1. Enhanced Efficiency and Time Savings
Using an AI-driven expense program saves time and boosts efficiency throughout your business.
Think about how traditional employee expenses reimbursement works. Employees pay for business expenses out of their own pocket - for example, they may pay their own per diem and travel expenses while they’re on a business trip. They may also pay for the cost of maintaining a vehicle for business, or they may pay insurance premiums. Then, they file a receipt and an expense report and wait to be reimbursed. Meanwhile, depending on your business, that expense report needs to be approved by a direct supervisor and then processed by the accounting department before your employee is finally reimbursed.
In contrast, an AI-powered reimbursement program can deposit funds back into your employee’s account almost immediately. Of course, there is still an approval process - but the process is much smoother and speedier, thanks to AI tools. That leaves your team more time to focus on real, productive labor.
2. Improved Accuracy and Reduced Errors
AI delivers a level of accuracy that can be transformative for your business.
The old-fashioned reimbursement method was vulnerable to human error at every step of the process. Employees could make mistakes filling out expense reports. Accounting departments could make careless errors entering figures into databases. Employees could wind up with either less or more money than they requested in reimbursement.
When you use AI-driven reimbursement systems, you eliminate most of these issues. The whole process is digital, so storing and accessing records is easier. There’s also no opportunity for actual expenses to be entered incorrectly or to be misread. The result is a smooth, efficient system that boosts employee confidence in their employer.
3. Streamlined Approval Workflows
Getting approvals for your expenses can be a major headache. For the employee getting reimbursed, it means tracking down the approver and waiting for their signature. For the approver, the process can add to their workload, especially when they are facing multiple requests at one time.
With a good AI-driven system, the approval workflow is much easier. In most cases, approvals can be done digitally via a laptop or mobile device. There’s no more need to track people down and interrupt their work; approvers will simply open their dashboard and tap their approval. The approvals will show up on a dashboard with all the other information relating to this particular expense.
4. Real-time Expense Tracking and Transparency
Using AI to manage employee reimbursement makes the whole process transparent and immediate. As soon as an expense is submitted, it’s automatically entered into the dashboard, where business leaders can easily see how money is being spent.
This gives employers visibility into expenses and lets them feel confident that employees are generating true, worthwhile business expenses. At the same time, it frees up employees so that they no longer have the burden of justifying their expenses.
5. Policy Compliance and Fraud Detection
Achieving compliance with expense policies can be difficult. AI makes it easy to check that all business expenses and corporate credit card purchases are aligned with your company’s policies. AI also makes fraud detection easy. It also makes it easier to report taxable income to the IRS.
Employees simply upload the receipt for their expenses, and AI automatically populates the expense information. This eliminates the possibility of confusion, error, and of course, fraud. Relying on the receipt means that employers have full visibility into expenses.
Using AI takes the strain and anxiety out of fraud detection. By making the expense process transparent, AI makes it easy to verify true expenses and justify reimbursement.
6. Data-Driven Insights for Financial Planning
Using AI for reimbursement has one other advantage: it lets you build up a searchable database of employee expenses. Used right, that database can yield valuable insights for your financial planning.
Learn what kinds of expenses are most common in your business so that you can accurately forecast your expenses in the years to come. See whether some expenses can be pruned or even eliminated. It’s like having a financial controller on hand whenever you need one.
Simplify Employee Reimbursements With the Right Tool
Streamlining and simplifying employee expense reimbursement can transform your business and keep the calliope music from playing in the background.
Whether you're running a startup or a larger business, shifting to AI-driven reimbursement will save time and cut costs, all while eliminating fraud and improving your financial planning. You've got enough to juggle as a business owner. No need to exist inside a three-ring circus.
Get started today and consult with experts in the field before diving in.