Finance tools & tech 6 min read

How to automate the expense report process

Nobody likes expense reports. Not the average employee, who has to spend hours at the end of the month finding receipts and checking credit card bills. Not the finance team, who has to chase up those same employees for proofs of purchase and manually enter hundreds of lines in a spreadsheet. Not the CFO, who thought the budget was all under control until thousands of pounds suddenly had to be accounted for. And not the accountant, who just needs everything done properly and can’t understand why the codes are a mess.

Expense reports are a hassle, and we want you to get rid of them for good. But sometimes, you just can’t avoid them.

If your employees ever need to pay out of their pocket, you’re legally obliged to pay them back. And to do this, they have to file a boring old report.

We still need expense reports - for now

If you’ve got prepaid and virtual cards, your employees should almost never have to make work payments with their own money. Which is the way it should be.


But of course, there are exceptions. These include:

  • When a particular employee doesn’t have their own Spendesk card
  • If a team member loses or forgets their precious smart card
  • When a merchant doesn’t accept certain forms of payment or only takes cash
  • When the card fails

No matter how hard you try, your team members will be in one of these situations from time to time.

When your team members find themselves in an unavoidable situation, there’s still good news. The expense report process with Spendesk is still vastly better than the way most companies operate.

Automated expense reports with Spendesk

If you’re going to have to deal with expense reports, we want it to be a breeze. Here’s how simple it is to file expenses with Spendesk.

  1. Your team member pays for what they need.
  2. They open the Spendesk app (on mobile or desktop) and select Make a new request.
  3. They hit Submit an expense and upload their receipt. (With the app, they simply take a photo of it).
  4. Spendesk can read the receipt and will pull out the key details.
  5. They add any necessary extra information (a note for the manager, for example).
  6. They submit the expense to the finance controller.

That’s the whole process! And if they do it as soon as they pay, there’s nothing to lose, forget, or get wrong.

Why this is so exciting

So the expense report process just got simpler. But why should you care?


Save huge amounts of time

Instead of waiting until the end of the month, your teams can file expenses as soon as they’re accrued. The walkthrough process is so quick that what used to take hours will only take seconds each time.

Plus, our helpful OCR bot Marvin reads what’s in receipts and can fill in reports automatically. So in most cases, filing expense reports is completely automatic.

Even better, there are no mistakes and no missing receipts. Every report is filled in correctly, because Spendesk helps your employees through the process.

So employees save time when they file, and financial controllers save even more they process expenses.

Store receipts digitally, immediately

One of the biggest issues with traditional expense reports is lost or missing receipts. Even if your team members manage to keep them all somewhere safe, they then have to scan and send them to the finance team, which then has to match them up with payments made.

There’s plenty of room for error, and also a lot of double-handling of receipts.

If your teams use the Spendesk mobile app, they can file expenses the second they occur. They just take a photo of their receipt, and add it to the entry for that payment. It takes seconds, and this expense is now saved for them and the finance team to see.

And since e-receipts are now legal in much of Europe, you won’t even have to digitise your old bits of paper.

Don’t save them until the end of the month

The biggest headache for employees and finance teams is the end-of-the-month rush to file expenses. Sales teams are known to have expense report “parties” - whole afternoons full of nothing productive, just filling in forms.

If they’re out in a restaurant or taxi, they simply open the app and fill in a few lines. They can save the receipt (as above), and this expense is sent directly to their manager and the finance team.

So no surprises, and no risk that they forget to make a claim.

Ready to give it a whirl?

If you already use Spendesk, our Help Centre shows you how to submit an expense claim.

And if you’re new to all this, book a demo with us today. We’d love to fix your company spending for you.

Request a demo with Spendesk 

Finance tools & tech Expense management
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Stephanie Bowker

Stephanie Bowker is Head of Marketing at Spendesk. She loves great product marketing, cute animals, and dancing at 6am.