ProOnGo Blog

Posts are primarily about QuickBooks, Xero, expense reports, and other topics useful to small business owners, CPAs, and ProAdvisors.


Expense Reports – Smaller & Faster for Your Small Business

January 23rd, 2013

If you are the unlucky recipient of expense reports from dozens or hundreds of people, you’ve probably come to have a healthy respect for the concept of workflow. For example, having an employee draft their expenses, submit them to you, and then you approve or deny based on some established rules.

However, perhaps your organization isn’t yet that big — maybe you are a 1-5 person company with a need for expense reports (a pretty typical size for a company using QuickBooks). If that description fits your company well, you probably don’t need all of the traditional ‘workflow’ that a bigger company would require. This post will give you some advice about how to use workflow accelerators in ProOnGo, to reduce or in some cases eliminate the need for the button-pressing that provides “checks and balances” for larger organizations.

Expense Reports Workflow Accelerator 1: Auto-Submit

If your employees primarily use our receipt reader to submit their out-of-pocket expenses, it’s likely that they send in their receipt image, categorize, and then come back later and submit it to you. Why would they come back later to do the ‘Submit’ step? Because as fast as our receipt reader is, it’s still not instantaneous, so employees sometimes use receipt reader and then just ‘check in later’ to Submit all of the completed expenses that result from the receipt reads.

So, although their expense reports are free of having to do manual data entry, they still end up taking two separate ‘actions’ on the way to getting the expense report submitted to you.

However (you guessed it) there is a shortcut way that employees can use, to cause their expense reports to be submitted automatically upon completion of a receipt reader run:

Workflow Accelerator: Auto-Approve Expense Reports
Workflow Accelerator 1: Auto-Submit After Receipt Reader

So, employees could (for example) use their receipt reader email address to email us a receipt, knowing that we’ll run it through receipt reader and then automatically submit it to their manager upon completion. It’s a handy time-saver for employees that use receipt reader a lot.

Expense Reports Workflow Accelerator 2: Auto-Approve

Going along with the storyline that these workflow accelerators are for relatively small businesses… If you are in such a small company that there is no real concept of ‘approving’ or ‘denying’ an expense — i.e. there is a level of trust that dictates that all expenses will be presumed to be ‘approved’ unless/until that trust is broken… Well, then you should try our “Auto-Approve” setting, to cause all expenses to transition from the Submitted => Approved state automatically, without any effort on your part.

Workflow Accelerator: Auto-Approve Expense Reports
Workflow Accelerator 2: Auto-Approve Expenses

If you stitch together the use of this setting with the use of the first workflow accelerator, suddenly you’ve got receipt images flowing through Receipt Reader => Submitted to Manager => Auto-Approved by Manager, all without anyone so much as clicking a button or typing a keystroke.

Expense Reports Workflow Accelerator 3: Auto-Send to QuickBooks

Want to really take it to the next level? This one is for the most advanced of users, so if you are new to ProOnGo Expense you should get used to the normal workflow before you turn this one on. However, when you are ready, know that you can turn on auto-send-to-QuickBooks, causing expenses to send to QuickBooks automatically after they are approved. This auto-send is only supported for the Write Check reimbursement method, and is normally used with the “Append to Existing Unprinted Checks” feature (so that you don’t end up accidentally creating 15 expense reimbursement checks in QuickBooks, all destined to the same employee).

Workflow Accelerator: Auto-Send to QuickBooks
Workflow Accelerator 3: Auto-Send to QuickBooks

Turn on these settings in combination with the first two workflow accelerators, and suddenly your expenses are taking a terrific ride with very little effort. Your employees expenses go from Receipt Reader => Submitted to Manager => Auto-Approved by Manager => Sent to QuickBooks => Ready to Print as a Reimbursement Check. Expense reports don’t get much easier than that: for those keeping score, with all of these settings on, all that employees have to do is take a picture and send it to receipt reader — and everything thereafter happens automatically, all the way to the point of having the expense in QuickBooks Pro or QuickBooks Online Edition (or Enterprise or Premier for that matter).

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