Most companies are paying $11 or more (much more) to process a single expense report.
Spend management solutions company Emburse surveyed over 500 finance professionals outside its own customer base with a focus on understanding how companies use spend management techniques in light of rumors about an impending recession. What it found was that for about 60% of companies, a single expense report can cost at least $11 to fully process.
According to respondents, 17.06% said they spend about $11 to $20 per expense report, 24.6% said they spend between $21-$30 and 18.25% said they spend $31 or more. Meanwhile, 24.6% of respondents said they spend less than $10 per expense report.
Expenses, according to the study, tend to scale with company size: smaller businesses generally spend less than $10 per expense report, while larger enterprises can spend double or even triple that amount. Given the sheer number of expense reports an average business handles, costs can quickly add up.
“Since most enterprises handle 1,001 to 5,000 expense reports per month, we can estimate that the average enterprise spends between $21,000-$155,000 each month processing expense reports,” said the study.
In a related finding, Emburse found that slightly more than half of companies, 51%, still use spreadsheet programs like Microsoft Excel for this purpose, but 9.72% don’t even do that, relying instead on pen and paper. While this is mostly in small companies, the report noted that 6% of midsized and large companies do as well. For small companies, there probably aren’t enough expense reports to automate.
“One theory as to why manual companies haven’t adopted expense management software? They tend to handle fewer expense reports,” said the study. “The majority of manual companies say they process 10 to 50 expense reports/month, while most automated companies have 101 to 500.”