Automated Expense Control with SpendController

3 min read
Oct 20, 2022

Many expense management tools claim to provide excellent user experience - but only for the end user. And while a smooth end user experience is essential, the controllers’ feel of an expense management tool is also important. After all, controllers are checking and validating hundreds, if not thousands, of expenses every month.

Which is why we created SpendController, an intelligent, automated expense control tool that gives controllers back their time.


An expense feature aimed at controllers

According to the ACFE, organisations will lose on average 5% of their revenue to fraud in 2022, for a median loss per case of $117,000. And that number does not take into account cases of human error on the part of employees or controllers.

Expense report control is a low difficulty, time-consuming task which also requires high accuracy. The tedium of checking lines in expense reports can easily lead to mistakes. Yet, a single error can prove very costly for the organisation.

Therefore, we harnessed the power of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and Artificial Intelligence to automate the process of expense control. This automation allows controllers to verify only flagged discrepancies rather than checking every single line or report. By automating the control flow, we support controllers and help their employers reduce costs.

Automated control

SpendController is Mobilexpense's intuitive tool that automates expense control using OCR. HDE leverages an automated human review process to allow for structured data encoding and high-fidelity control. Our trained reviewers check the data extracted by the OCR and input additional data if needed.

SpendController compares the information entered manually by a user with the data in the same fields, extracted and digitised from a receipt or invoice by the combination of OCR and HDE. This combined solution is more accurate than standard OCR, making for an improved user experience.

By simplifying expense control and validation, SpendController lowers the operational cost of expense control by up to 90%.

How SpendController works

SpendController compares the manual and OCR-extracted data in any combination of these five fields:

  • Date
  • Gross amount
  • VAT amount
  • Merchant
  • City

Customers can choose to activate an optional sixth field based on exclusion keywords (e.g. "minibar", "spa", etc.) to automatically flag line items with these keywords.

If the data for a field matches, SpendController displays a green indicator. If the data is unavailable, it displays a grey indicator. And if the data does not match, it displays a red indicator.

This visual green light/red light solution gives controllers an immediate overview of the accuracy of the expense data. It also makes it easy to identify any possible discrepancies, whether due to human error or attempted expense fraud.

The result of this field comparison is stored to serve as input for the sampling engine. This engine is a collection of rules which analyse expense reports to select them for automated approval based on certain parameters. Some of these parameters include the total amount, duplicate expenses, and duplicate receipts.

Meaning, if a report is under a certain amount, does not present duplicate expenses or include a duplicate receipt, and all SpendController indicators are green, the report will be automatically approved.

Benefits of OCR scanning

Through the combination of SpendController and our sampling engine, only expense reports which present issues are flagged for manual approval. The system also provides controllers with the exact reason why an expense was flagged. This way, they can focus on checking only those expense reports which require their attention.

SpendController and sampling reduce the time controllers spend checking expenses by up to 90%. This results in direct savings for the organisation. Not to mention, controllers are able to automate the routine of expense control, giving them time to focus on more interesting or valuable tasks.

For organisations that control 100% of their invoices especially, implementing SpendController and sampling represents a significant savings potential. One of our customers that controls every single invoice was able to reduce controlling FTEs from eight to just five thanks to this combination.

Another customer calculated that implementing SpendController and sampling could save them 0.5% on their travel and expense budget, or a 250.000 euro cut in costs. These savings go up to 1.5% or 675.000 euros per year when taking into account the expense fraud protection and policy enforcement offered by our solution.

All by activating a single feature.

Expense control has never been this easy. SpendController checks that the data entered corresponds with what is on the receipt. Thanks to this, expenses require up to 90% less manual control. Less manual control means fewer controller FTEs are needed, saving organisations money which they can reinject into their bottom line.