Reducing the Expense of Expenses

Travel & expenses reporting application allows online reporting

Pittsburgh  October 12, 2001  Expenses can be expensive. In fact, American Express has estimated that travel and entertainment costs were the second-largest controllable expense at U.S. companies. At the same time, few companies have been taking advantage of e-procurement tools to control their T&E expenses.

And that's not for a lack of tools. A variety of software companies have come forward recently to offer T&E management tools, including start-ups such as Captura, Concur and Extensity, as well as software stalwarts such as Oracle and PeopleSoft, which offer T&E applications as part of their e-business suites.

Now another provider has stepped up to the plate with the announcement this week from Virtual Communications (VCOM) that it was releasing ExpenseAnywhere, an Internet-based application that lets corporate travelers at midsize to large businesses enter and submit expense reports for online approval and payment processing at any time and from any computer with access to the Internet.

VCOM says ExpenseAnywhere allows corporations to manage their workflow, exercise management control and uniformly administer company-specific expense reimbursement policies, as well as expenditure and approval limits.

The software allows companies to import of corporate credit data using a point-and-click allocation feature and to split credit card expenses to the appropriate expense categories.

The software supports multi-currency transactions, provides automatic mileage and per diem calculations, and the system provides extensive online ad hoc reporting for pre-payment audit and expense management. VCOM says that companies can integrate ExpenseAnywhere with various enterprise-wide accounting software packages.

"Today, most corporations still use paper-based expense reports or, at best, spread-sheet based systems requiring manual, error-prone and costly re-keying of enormous amounts of data, with little or no possibility to evaluate the data for budgeting, forecasting, or vendor negotiations," said Dr. Ashok Dhar, VCOM's president and CEO.

Dhar said that research indicates corporations can reduce the cost of expense processing by as much as 89 percent by implementing an automated expense reporting system.

For an in depth look at T&E expenses reporting software, see the Net Best column in the December 2001 issue of iSource Business.