Travel and Expense Module
Cedar Hills Group, Inc. recently completed a large bolt-on project to automate a client’s business expense process. The client had a very large volume of expense reports that were processed monthly. They were using a paper process that was cumbersome for everyone involved. Their workforce was spread out over many different states with workers in one location, managers in another, and the Payroll Department at their headquarters. All expense reports needed manager approval which could be time consuming because of the physical separation between managers and employees.
The client knew they needed to automate the process and make it a web application but were not entirely sure what they needed or wanted. We examined the problem and met with the business leaders to determine the current issues and gather the requirements. Cedar Hills Group, Inc. first created a working prototype based on our deep experience with electronic routing, workflow, e-signatures and payroll business processes. Using the prototype as the model, a new bolt-on was created to fully automate the business expense reimbursement process. The User Interface was designed with the lowest level user in mind and required minimal user training.
The final production application drastically simplified the reimbursement process. It allowed for faster reimbursement times and improved auditing of expense reports. Additionally, it helped to cut down on the number of phone calls to the payroll department because every user in the process could see where it was in the process and final payment information was automatically emailed to the employee.
The bolt-on module had the following high level functionality:
A “Travel and Expense Dashboard” was created as a one-stop-shop for creating, approving, and researching expense reports and other travel related forms. The dashboard was the starting place for all users if they were at the lowest level employee to the Payroll Administrator.
- The dashboard automatically displayed forms pending the current user so they did not have to “hunt” (i.e. search) for forms they needed to act on.
- User’s could search for historically forms that view them to see who they were pending and view any historical approvals.
The system was completely driven by setup tables that allowed the payroll department to create different expense types, control page instructions, and change different internal expense rates.
A very flexible electronic approval and routing structure was created so different departments could have a different approval process.
The system allowed for the uploading of documents so the employee could attach their scanned receipts.
A full history of approvals and time stamps were kept to satisfy audit requirements.