In this webinar, we discuss how finance teams can control spend proactively, improve data accuracy, and simplify reconciliation with leaders from TravelBank and Augustus Intelligence Inc.
Learn to build a flexible travel policy that's good for your business and your employees in three simple steps.
Real examples of what your peers are doing for their travel policy and why you should or shouldn’t follow suit.
Angelina: Hi everyone and thanks for joining our webinar, Save Time Managing Expenses with These 6 Must-Have Features. I’m excited to be joined by Brian DiDea, the Financial Controller at Augustus Intelligence.
By way of introduction, I am the Head of Product here at TravelBank with many years of experience working as a product leader. I specialize in travel and expense technology and feel passionately about user experience. I always encourage my product and design teams to prioritize customers’ needs in order to build a great product. Now I’ll let Brian tell you a little about himself.
Brian: Thank you Angelina. Again my name is Brian DiDea and I am the Financial Controller at Augustus Intelligence. I am from Orlando, FL and graduated from the University of Florida in 2012 with a degree in finance. I have 8 years of experience in financial advising working for Northwestern Mutual, Fidelity Investments, and Merrill before joining Augustus. I am currently also our Director of Finance and in charge of our finance department.
Angelina: Thanks Brian. Today we are going to discuss how finance teams can control spend proactively, improve data accuracy and simplify reconciliation with the right expense management solution.
Okay, without further ado, let’s get into the content with a little context. What’s important to you Brian when selecting an expense solution?
Brian: For us, selecting expense solutions comes down to both the end user/employee experience as well as the administrator experience. We need both to be simple and effective with the fewest clicks possible end to end. We are looking for a fantastic and intuitive user interface, flexible sync capabilities and the ability to handle problems that arise efficiently.
Angelina: Got it. So it sounds like what is important to you also aligns with a few common challenges we see from our other customers, including controlling spend before it happens, making sure it gets to the right ERP system, and amount of time it takes to really reconcile the data from different systems at the end of each period.
Angelina: Brian, historically, what was your team’s biggest challenge when it came to expense management?
Brian: Our biggest challenge with expense management has been proper accounting software sync and controlling employee spend – they have a habit of spending first and asking questions later.
Angelina: Your team has since adopted TravelBank expenses to help save time managing expenses. Let’s dive into a few of the features that can help your team save time while tackling these issues. Each expense report starts with a purchase made by an employee. How are your employees tracking and submitting expenses? Is the process painful, or is there room for improvement? Brian what was this process like for you before TravelBank?
Brian: We previously used Expensify for this. The process was ok but as soon as there were any problems, the process would become painful and time consuming to fix. They have almost no customer service and offered zero help in solving our sync problems.
Angelina: Syncing expenses has been a focus for us this year since making it easier for employees will make sure you get the expenses on time and accurately from employees. They can snap photos of their receipts on-the-go, but now they can also sync transactions directly from their personal and corporate credit cards. With teams going remote this year, we’re seeing more need to support corporate card sync for repetitive spending like monthly work from home expenses. We also understand that there are delicate issues we need to address like making sure the right receipt is attached to the transactions, and avoiding duplicates.
Angelina: We also understand that companies don’t use expense systems to do financial reporting or forecasting and it’s very important that we sync to the systems that are constituted as a source of truth for your organization. This is why we have invested heavily in our integrations as well as our data export for those systems we don’t directly integrate with.
Angelina: One example is TravelBank allows admin users to not only customize the expense categories in our system but also pull directly from your GL so that you only have to do this once. Then the employees can simply select from these categories when filing expenses with one click.
Angelina: Brian, how has connecting TravelBank to your existing systems and processes worked so far for your team?
Brian: We have found that TravelBank’s platform reduces the number of clicks required to complete these processes compared to other platforms we have used. This all adds up to an efficient and effective tool for handling our travel and expense management.
Angelina: Are you catching wasteful or out of policy spend early? Brian, I know you said your employees used to spend first and ask questions later, how have you been thinking about tackling that?
Brian: The first step was gaining visibility. Our goal in adopting TravelBank was to consolidate the travel and expense reimbursement system to make everything easy to manage and keep employees compliant within our expense policy. Now we have full insight and analytics over employee cost activities.
Angelina: That’s great. On top of that, TravelBank helps automate the approval flows so managers in your organization can help review expenses or travel bookings in need of approval in addition to your finance teams. We’re also working on a more robust policy that will give you a deeper visibility into inappropriate spending and a simplified expense policy user education so that your expense policy in a pdf can disappear.
Angelina: We understand your data needs may be complex and vary by industry or what your customer needs might be. We also understand the data is as good as it’s being inputted by your employees. So we want to make sure you are able to collect the data that you need with features like custom fields where you are able to attach any fields that you require directly from your employees and start building the reports that you need. And ultimately this is your data so we want it to be easy for your team to use through data export. You can customize the columns included in your export and filter data by department, approval date, or custom codes like project code.
Angelina: We understand as you’re dealing with multiple systems to get your financial data, it can be painful to maintain all your employees across all systems accurately. As your company grows and changes, adding and changing users within your TravelBank account should not add any hassle. So we will sync with your HRIS or you can simply upload a CSV file to manage your employees.
Angelina: Brian, Augustus Intelligence was previously our travel customer. What results or benefits are you seeing since switching to our all-in-one platform vs two separate solutions for travel and expense?
Brian: The amount of time it takes us now to complete end-to-end travel bookings and expense reports is impressive. Travel and expense management is admittedly a small but important part of our back office operations but as such, it’s important that it works perfectly every time. We have only had one small problem since starting TravelBank expense management and that was solved quickly and efficiently with TravelBank’s help.
Brian: TravelBank has a great user interface and makes it so easy to handle travel and employee expenses. The personalization of customer service is unmatched and comes with a team passionate about their work. This tool is the ibuprofen of travel and expense headaches and I highly recommend it to all finance departments!