July 30, 2013
I’ve never been a fulltime employee for a large enterprise, but if there’s one common message I hear from all my bigco friends, it’s the hell that is monthly expense report reconciliation. Hell, I’ve even talked with people who use expense reporting as one of the factors they look at when weighing up job opportunities – yup, it really is that bad. Even Robert Scoble, normally known as a consumer guy, has opined on expense reporting and, in the process, got himself in hot water with his employer.
It doesn’t make any sense why it is this hard – there’s no reason why enterprise software needs to be inflexible, difficult to use and focused on everything BUT the end user. Yes I know that an enterprise has to deal with very complex workflows and processes but I contend that within that enterprise software can be easy to use.
This is the premise that expense management software vendor Certify holds true. Certify was launched as a company back in 2009 and boasts of customers like Pitney Bowed, Subway Sandwiches and Little Caesars Pizza. Their existing offering includes a mobile application that is able to populate expense reports.
The company is today extending that vision further with the release of its “Report Executive” feature which creates and delivers expense reports automatically to end users at intervals specified by business policies. Like similar solutions for SMB customers (most notable Expensify), with ReportExecutive, Certify users can scan receipts from their mobile device or desktop computer into the application and the software automatically creates policy-compliant report from those expenses on the day specified by accounting. Finance employees can schedule Certify to create reports on a weekly, twice-monthly or monthly basis, and the software notifies employees when reports are ready to review. The magic lies in the automation, with Certify’s credit card integration, employees automatically receive corporate card charges populated in their expense reports.
Expense reporting is one of those necessary evils within a large enterprise – everyone hates it, but everyone has to do it. Anything that can be done to make the process more efficient has to be a good thing – the Certify offering looks solid. I wonder though about the long term viability of a standalone expense reporting application – it seems to me that the opportunities for Certify lie in a trade sale to one of the ERP or HCM vendors.