With COVID-19 requiring employees to work from home, there's been a paradigm shift in business expenses. Goodbye, sandwich-coffee combos and cab rides! Finance teams are now witnessing an uptick in expenses for office supplies, hardware, and internet access.
However, this is set to change once COVID-19 wanes and the focus shifts to restarting corporate travel. According to a survey by Gartner, CFOs across the globe have indicated that T&E is one of the most important costs to be reintroduced once revenues return. To get a head start, organizations are busy modifying approval thresholds, revisiting policies, and implementing spend control activities to ensure every dollar is spent wisely.
To help firms seamlessly transition from one expense focus to another, our teams have put in an unstinting effort to build the all-new Zoho Expense! A host of highly anticipated features, enhancements, and integrations make the new Zoho Expense a one-stop-shop for business travel and expense management.
Role-based user interface
Zoho Expense’s freshly revamped user interface comes along with role-based access control. The entire application can be customized based on the role of the user: admin, submitter, or approver. This enables a distinct division of roles, where users will only view modules that are relevant to them.
The dashboard gives an overview of all pending tasks upfront. Users will be able to quickly access and complete their essential tasks from a central place, ensuring they stay on top of their expenses without spending too much time on them. You’re guaranteed faster turnaround times and greater data security within your workplace.
Streamlined travel management
With the introduction of the much-awaited Trips module, we’ve streamlined all aspects of business travel—from planning travel itineraries and keeping travel documents accessible to facilitating flight and hotel bookings.
To accelerate the booking process, employees can upload documents like their passport and visa, and set up default meal, seat, and payment preferences that the travel team can easily access at any time. Now all the employee has to do is create a travel request. Once it's approved, the travel desk can provide travel and accommodation options to choose from. Organizations can also set up their own cost approval flows to tighten spend control. When a trip has all its approvals completed, the tickets can be booked and a booking expense is created for them—all within Zoho Expense.
With the newly introduced end-to-end online travel management function and an assortment of integrations including Sabre’s GetThere, Itilite (India only), and Routespring, you can empower your employees to plan their trips and book their flights, accommodations, and car rentals on their own—within the spend limits, options, and rules configured by your travel team.
Expense auditing and fraud control
The brand-new Expense Audit module equips travel and finance teams with the functionalities they need to enforce policies and maintain compliance.
Admins can set up daily, monthly, or yearly spend limits for the expenses in each category based on the organization's policies. They can also set limits for mileage expenses based on the distance traveled. In the event of violations, employees can be warned or blocked from submitting the expense.
To nip expense fraud in the bud, Zoho Expense lets businesses add particular merchants to their blocklist(s), and analyzes expense reports to automatically identify duplicate expenses, per diem fraud, and suspicious modifications. This includes data mismatch between expense claims and receipts, and alterations made to expense claims created through ride-hailing apps, online booking tools, and credit card transactions.
Pre-approve business purchases (In early access)
Implementing a structured purchasing process and vetting requests thoroughly removes the possibility of unwanted spending. With purchase requests, employees can get approval from their line managers before incurring expenses such as equipment or client gifts. Admins can define multi-level, customizable approval flows for purchase requests to ensure transparency and curb duplicate orders.
Firms can now allocate budgets for trips, expense categories, expense types, and employees with a few clicks. Admins can track the actuals versus the budget at every stage, and configure alerts to notify them and block expense report submission and approval when the budget exceeds the defined threshold.
With this feature, finance teams can access timely and accurate data to facilitate decision-making. And CFOs can offer department managers an efficient tool for creating and justifying budgets.
Manage multiple business locations
The multi-branch functionality is designed to accommodate autonomy in business expansion. It helps businesses with multiple outlets or branch offices ensure that these entities adhere to the right expense policies and maintain a standard of compliance and control over expenses. The admins of each branch can add employees and define their roles. The expense claims created by employees are segmented at the branch level, and the administrators are offered complete visibility into their branch’s expenses.
With the introduction of advanced customization functionalities, you can now personalize Zoho Expense by capturing and presenting data in ways that suit your business.
You can customize the layouts of core forms in Zoho Expense. Have a specific field that is required but don't see it on a form? Go ahead and add it.
Similarly, you can set up components like modules, functions, and fields to personalize your expense management.
If your firm or industry has unique needs that aren’t met by the existing pre-defined modules, you can create custom modules within the application. You can also write your own Deluge code to create custom functions for business processes that are not available by default in Zoho Expense. These functions provide the flexibility to achieve complex workflows without waiting for a corresponding feature to be built into the product.
Work smarter with Zia
Business travelers can now stay on top of expense reporting with the assistance of our exclusive AI-powered assistant, Zia. Zia will now remind users about pending tasks like unreported expenses, unsubmitted reports or trip requests,out-of-policy expense claims, and incomplete receipt autoscans.
Collaboration with your team is now a breeze! Say goodbye to lengthy email threads and reduce turnaround time with in-app comments and a built-in common chat bar. Finance and travel teams, line managers, and employees can effectively communicate about anything related to corporate travel and expense management to get things done faster.
To bridge the gap between expense reporting and tax reclaim, Zoho Expense is now integrated with Taxback International. Firms can now seamlessly reclaim the VAT paid by their employees on business travel expenses. We’ve also added a number of substantial integrations (Zoho Analytics, Zoho Directory, Sage One, Amazon Business) to our array, based on requests from our user community and our very own product development roadmap.
We can keep going on about the all-new Zoho Expense, but it’s best you take it for a spin yourself! Feel free to give us your feedback in the comments below.