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article imageQ&A: Mobility is key in modern construction expense reporting Special

By Tim Sandle     Mar 14, 2020 in Technology
According to expert Jon Roskill, cloud-based mobile expense reporting software can resolve common pain points and deliver accessible control to construction leaders. This acknowledges that very nature of their roles, construction workers are mobile.
In terms of construction worker mobility, job sites are often scattered across cities, regions and even countries, bringing together remote employees from all locations. This highly mobile workforce, which often incurs significant number of expense items, can often lead to both large reimbursement claims and significant challenges in submitting these reports.
Without ready access to computers or printers, employees can be left holding onto receipts for weeks, potentially causing them financial hardship, as well as leading to billing delays for employers.
To address this, construction companies should provide tools for employees to track their hours and expenses as well as tools for managers to approve reimbursement requests and control labor costs, wherever the job site.
Jon Roskill, CEO at Acumatica, explains to Digital Journal how leveraging cloud-based mobile expense reporting software can transform business operations and alleviate common stresses construction leaders face.
Digital Journal: What challenges do businesses have to deal with when processing expenses?
Jon Roskill: Expense reporting has long been a thorn in the side of business leaders everywhere. It evokes feelings of frustration and monotony because it is time consuming, disruptive to productivity and prone to error—but it’s not easy to modernize a process that relies on paper receipts. Whereas others gave up on the challenge, Acumatica saw opportunity. Acumatica 2020 R1 now includes AI and machine learning elements that are designed to relieve the user experience and streamline expense management.
DJ: How about employees, what issues do they face?
Roskill: Acumatica’s AI-enabled, mobile expense reporting functionality eliminates the need to photograph and email receipts to oneself and also removes the time-consuming hassle of typing the contents of the receipt by hand into a traditional expense report. Now, whether they’re working remotely, travelling, or treating the team to lunch, users can file multiple, error-free business expense reports in seconds, wherever they are.
DJ: To what degree can cloud-based mobile expense reporting software simplify this process?
Roskill: When using Acumatica’s cloud-based mobile app, users can use the camera on their mobile device to scan a receipt, then using Azure Forms Recognizer, the app will scan the fields of the receipt and input them into an expense claim automatically (i.e. date, amount, etc.). The app will even identify the expense item and connect to the proper G/L account with all the requisite fields filled in to create an expense claim. The enhancement to Acumatica’s mobile expense reporting module uses machine learning to recognize the receipts, recognize the fields in the receipt and map it to the appropriate expense code.
DJ: Are there any security issues in relation to cloud solutions?
Roskill:Cloud environments offer greater data security than the vast majority of on-premises installations. While most companies are aware that security breaches are a possibility, many of these same companies don’t realize that on-premises storage of data increases their exposure to a security breach. Major companies such as Target, JP Morgan Chase and Uber have all been victims of on-premises data breaches over the past five years. In 2016 alone, there were more than 1,000 internal data center breaches, which exposed more than 36 million records. The most vulnerable companies are the ones that can’t apply the many needed security fixes due to complex implementations, customized functionality, or a lack of technical expertise in the prevention and backup process. In contrast, AWS and Azure and other cloud service providers maintain the strictest security measures and protocols and deploy updates 24/7.
DJ: How did you develop Acumatica’s mobile, AI-enabled expense reporting app?
Roskill:Customer demand drove it. Like so many of the new Acumatica features and functions that we develop for release bi-annually, the expense receipt solution was suggested in our customer feedback tool, voted up by other users, and then vetted and approved by product management for further development. Clearly, expense reports have been a universal headache.
DJ: How is Acumatica different to other solutions in the market?
Roskill:To bring expense reporting into the modern age, Acumatica incorporated Form Recognizer, part of Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services, into its expense management app, using the prebuilt receipt API and machine learning to automatically extract data from receipts. Acumatica solved a previously intractable problem with a more efficient process that relieves users of a repetitive manual process while also giving them back more time to create business value.
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