New features include e-mail-based approvals, pre-approval of estimated expenses and improved reporting capabilities
Charlotte, NC — November 6, 2003 — Verian Technologies has rolled out an upgrade of its software for managing expense report submission, routing and reimbursement, adding e-mail-based approvals, pre-approval of estimated expenses and improved reporting, among other enhancements.
Verian's core Travel & Expense system offers Web-based expense report submission, configurable approval routing, and reporting features. This software can operate as a "stand-alone" system or function as part of Verian's ProcureIT suite of spend management software.
Available immediately, new features in this version of Travel & Expense include:
- E-mail-based approvals — Supervisors are now able to review expense reports and approve or deny specific expenses within the body of an e-mail. Particularly if supervisors travel, they can keep up with day-to-day expense reviews while on the road simply by checking e-mail. This e-mail option is in addition to the system's browser-based approval interface.
- Pre-approvals of estimated expenses — Employees can now submit expense requests prior to a trip and receive approvals and cash advances. Verian says that this option is ideal for organizations that bill travel expenses to a third party since this feature supports the approval of a specific expense threshold (i.e. airfare up to $500) without knowing what the specific price will be until the purchase is made. This feature also benefits companies that provide cash advances to employees who don't have the will or capacity to temporarily absorb travel expenses, Verian said.
- Project/customer billing — Designed with professional services and public sector organizations in mind, this feature allows employees to associate expenses with specific projects or to customers that then need to be billed. The software's built-in logic provides a descriptive way for employees to identify projects and customers, rather than using numeric general ledger codes, Verian said. Through integration with a company's accounting software, this features can facilitate automated third-party billing and budget monitoring.
- The ability to attach scanned receipts to expense reports — Companies can now process expense reports and reimburse employees faster by electronically receiving both expense reports and receipts in one file, according to Verian. This capability also accelerates the audit process because all records are stored in one central location, the solution provider said.
- Open File Exchange (OFX) support — OFX is a standard file format for exchanging financial data among disparate systems. Within Travel & Expense, OFX support could benefit companies with corporate card programs, enabling accounting staff to download expense data from various credit card companies to reconcile expenses. This feature also enables employees to download their business expense data from their credit card company into the system to automatically create expense reports, eliminating manual data entry.
- Improved reporting — Visual enhancements to reports simplify communication of critical expense information using charts and graphs, Verian says. In addition, online reports offer a "drill down" capability, which let users start at a summary view of expenses and, using hyperlinks, view additional details about those expenses down to the transaction level.
"Our customers have always told us that Travel & Expense is a powerful tool for controlling employee expenses and reducing administrative effort," said Verian President and CEO Tehseen Ali. "With these new enhancements, we've focused on usability. The less time it takes to process an expense report, the greater our customers' return on investment in the system."
Travel & Expense clients include Regions Financial Corp., one of the 25 largest financial services companies in the nation. After implementing Verian's system in 2001 as a beta user, Regions now has several thousand of its some 16,000 employees using Travel & Expense, said A.J. Smith, Regions senior accountant with responsibility for T&E system administration.
"After the implementation of the T&E system, we provided Verian with feedback on technology that they then translated into some of the system's new features," Smith said. "In particular, the new release of T&E offers improved reporting capability and the improved ability to handle cash advance expense transactions.
"Regions is committed to continuous improvement in all areas," Smith added. "Having increased efficiencies in this area is very important to us as we strive to achieve superior performance."
For more information on solutions for travel and expense management, see the article "Expense Reports Made Inexpensive," the Net Best Thing column in the December 2001 issue of iSource Business.