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The Future of Expense Management: Real-Time Feeds and Text-Based Receipt Submission

Ratnika Sharma
Posted by Ratnika Sharma on Oct 26, 2023 3:41:10 PM

As an accountant, can you imagine a world where not a second is spent on expenses? Can you imagine having so much time on your hands AFTER closing the books that you are able to enjoy that bottle of champagne that you had been saving?  

What if this was actually possible? What if you could save 50% of the time spent on collecting receipts and chasing employees?  

Introducing - Real-time feeds and text-based receipt submission.

What are real-time feeds? 

When a user submits an expense report, the details instantly flow into the accounting software, in real-time, without any dependency on bank feeds. This is because the expense management platform is directly connected to networks like Visa, Mastercard and Amex. So, information is relayed within seconds of any transaction that is made on any credit card. 

Why real-time feeds?  

You may ask, “why should I use real-time feeds when I can already process expenses using direct bank feeds or statement uploads?” 

Here’s why: 

  1. Instant transaction data - As soon as employees swipe their business credit card, the transaction data reflects in the expense management software’s dashboard. This is as real-time as it gets. Unlike bank feeds, you don’t have to wait for 24-72 hours, or even depend on end-of-the-month bank statements. 
  2. Timely receipt submissions - Employees receive text alerts to submit receipts as soon as they make a purchase at the point of sale (POS). Accountants save time because receipts are immediately matched with transactions. Win-win. 
  1. Reconciliation with zero human intervention - As soon as the receipt is uploaded, it gets matched to the card transaction, saving time and eliminating manual work. 
  1. Close books on time - It is possible to close books on time because receipts are tracked instantly, credit card transactions are reconciled automatically, and expense reports are submitted without delay. 
  1. Visibility and accurate predictability - Directly connecting to card networks provides you with a more precise and current spending overview. You can monitor budgets, understand cash flow, recognize spending patterns, and make informed financial choices. 
  1. Compliance and fraud detection - When you have access to real-time card data you can spot potentially suspicious and unauthorized transactions, which in turn enables you to proactively detect fraud and adhere to policies.  

With direct bank feeds however, most SMBs do not get instant access to transaction data, as they don’t qualify the bank's requirements. You are often forced to download the CSV or Excel files from the bank portal and manually upload them. 

And if you do qualify, the setup involves offline authorization. This includes multiple stakeholders like the bank, customer, card network, and expense management vendor - stretching the entire process to 2-3 weeks for every customer.  

With instant receipt tracking and automated reconciliations, all this effort is eliminated. And text-based receipt submission cuts it down even further. 

What is text-based receipt submission? 

Users just click a picture of their receipt, send it as a text message to the expense management platform and voila, the software automatically creates an expense! It extracts the necessary data, codes it according to your GL and saves it. If it is a credit card receipt, then the platform automatically reconciles it with your card transaction data. All of this happens without having to download and learn another app. 

Yeah, as simple as that! 

How does receipt collection with text messages make your life easier? 

  • Super easy to use - No need to download an app, navigate a new interface or wait for updates. Simply click a photo and text it to your expense management platform. The rest is taken care of. 
  • Zero learning curve - Because receipt submission happens via text messages, there’s no training required, it’s very easy to onboard users, and adoption is instant. 
  • Real-time policy checks - Since the receipts are submitted in real-time, the expense management platform checks them for any policy violations, even before they are submitted for approval. 
  • Close books faster with less hassle - Since users submit receipts almost instantly, you don’t have to spend hours chasing after employees, reminding them to submit expenses. Your time to close books drops significantly with direct, 2-way accounting integrations and real-time sync. 

Traditional expense management is largely manual, unreliable, error-prone, time-consuming and not scalable. There is a heightened risk of non-compliance and expense fraud while being devoid of any analytics to gain insights. This is why there is an urgent need for businesses to shift to text message-based receipt submission. 

An automated expense management system can help build a more flexible and robust strategy to control costs. Automation and real-time feeds are not the future anymore but the need of the present hour.  

In the last 30 years, expense management has undergone a paradigm shift. From messy paperwork to spreadsheets to now an app for everything. But applications like Fyle are now challenging that with real-time feeds and text-based receipt submission. 

Topics: Modern Practice


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