2024 State of Expense Management Report

The top five most common expense management painpoints challenging CFOs.
Shannen Balogh
Product Marketing Manager
September 28, 2023
read time
1 minute
Reviewed by
February 9, 2024

Part of running a profitable business is properly tracking and analyzing your costs so you can keep clean records and budget effectively for the future. But that doesn’t mean you (or your employees) should be wasting countless hours of productivity compiling expense reports.

Rho surveyed ~500 employees at mid-sized companies about their expense management practices.

Let's dive into their responses.

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First, we found that most spend over an hour every month on manual tasks—like filling out paper forms or logging physical receipts—that could be fully automated.

That’s 12+ hours (or at least one and a half full workdays) each year that could be spent on more fulfilling and high-impact projects.

Below, we break down what respondents had to say about their expense management workflows and share some of the modern methods and solutions that could free up their time and resources.

The top expense pain points

Over an hour lost every month

A majority of surveyed employees (about 60%) reported they file expense reports daily or weekly, and about 75% said it takes them over 15 minutes to file each report. That averages out to at least an hour each month that’s spent on clerical work unrelated to their core responsibilities.

Of course, some workers take less time—and some take much more. But when it all balances out, most companies divert more than a full day’s resources each year just to sort out their expenses.

Slow, manual workflows

Digging in further, it’s clear that much of this squandered time comes from cumbersome workflows that employees use to track spending, document receipts, and turn in their expense reports.

Only 29% of surveyed workers reported having access to corporate credit card expense management software to automate these processes. The rest still rely on manual practices like saving or scanning physical receipts, entering static data on spreadsheets, and preparing emails and attachments to submit required materials.

This approach isn’t just ineffective from a business standpoint—rife with inefficiencies and opportunities for human error—it leads to a poor employee experience. When asked what the biggest pain points were when filling out an expense report, the top 3 answers were that it’s time consuming, dealing with lost receipts, and that it was a manual process.

Reimbursements create headaches

Among other advantages—like not having to spend out of pocket and wait to be reimbursed by their employer—access to a corporate card can cut down on a lot of the time employees (and finance teams) spend managing expenses.

Yet despite corporate cards being the preferred payment method for business purchases, only about a third of survey respondents work at a company that offers a card program for employees below managerial level.

Modern corporate cards don’t just streamline transactions and bypass the reimbursement process, they play a major role in tracking and organizing expenses.

Innovative solutions like the Rho Card display and categorize charges in real time, so no expense report is needed to keep everyone in the loop. Preset rules and auto-enforced spending limits can also be built in and tailored to each card, so business leaders can stay in control and feel confident distributing cards to their entire team.

Expense policy non-compliance

Finally, many employees don’t know what they can and can’t expense—leading not only to confusion and hesitation when it comes to making necessary business purchases, but also to unauthorized and unexpected charges when they get it wrong.

About a third of those we surveyed reported having spent out of policy—with almost 40% who responded as to the reason stating they were unaware their actions were against company rules. More than 10% said they eventually had to repay their organization the full amount, putting a hole in their personal pocket.

A fully automated approach to expense management

The best expense management tools on the market today automate these essential financial workflows and provide transparency into company-wide transactions—eliminating the need for traditional expense reports, paper receipts, and heavy workloads.

Rho’s platform, for instance, offers broad visibility into spending as it happens, smart approval routing to avoid logjams, digital capture to instantly log and pair receipts, and customizable controls to keep purchases in-policy—all accessible and configurable via a centralized dashboard.

It’s designed not only to empower business leaders and finance teams to take control of their company spend, but to ensure employees can help them out in a collaborative process that takes minutes—not days.

Ready to say goodbye to expense reports?

Apply for a Rho account to chat with one of our finance specialists, and learn what an integrated, automated expense management solution can do for your business.

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