How I used to detest expense reporting and don’t any longer

I’ve spent a significant part of my life working as an auditor for Big 4 companies, first at Andersen, then at Deloitte, and finally, after a stint at IMS Health, I ended my Big 4 internal auditing career at KPMG. One of the realities of Big 4 work is expense reporting.

And let’s be honest, it is one massive waste of productive time, but it is also a necessity, as at each of these firms, I had to front my expenses. From an internal control point of view I can completely follow this, but from an optimisation point of view … what a waste of my precious time. But of course I wanted those expenses paid back. So each month, I spent an inordinate amount of time finding my proofs of purchase for hotels, lunches, taxi’s and entering them into a spreadsheet like solution. And sometimes – in my case not that often – I lost some proof and could therefore not be repaid. It was a total and complete nightmare … and I believe this is still the case for many organisations – and internal auditors – out there.

Well, I clearly was born two decades to early, it appears. A couple of months ago, we (Sodexo) acquired Xpenditure, a Belgian start-up with a great service proposition when it comes to expense reporting. If you have a current smartphone with a camera and a head of HR willing to take the time to have the solution properly configured, you’re good to go.

For those interested, you can find a short description of the functionality here, and they have a great website here, but what I could have done with that time gained and the money not lost because of misplaced proofs only a couple of years ago.

The solution also makes accountability very easy, because it actually allows limitations on types of spending acceptance to be built right in. Oh, and it integrates with most of the current ERP solutions as well. This is not just a solution for an auditor’s pain, this is actually a solution for a lot of issues auditors face … even as auditors.

Anyway, for auditors or any other professional that needs to front their expenses, this is pretty much a no brainer … and as I mentioned before, it’s a Belgian solution, from a Belgian start-up that has remained in beautiful Mechelen (Malines). Something else to be proud of.

Full disclosure: Xpenditure is owned by Sodexo, where I am a member of the Executive Committee for its Belgian branch. That said, I would talk about this solution even if it had not been owned by the group I work for. It just makes so much sense to deal with something so time consuming this way.