Expense reports: Get rid of your receipts!

Thanks to probative value archiving, now you no longer need to clutter your pockets or wallet with receipts for meals, taxis or fuel, with ink that fades so quickly the receipts are often completely unusable and no longer provide proof of an expense made several months earlier.

In France, since July 1st 2019, a paper receipt which has been scanned and archived according to the conditions laid down by law has the same legal value as its paper form and can therefore be destroyed. This is excellent news and another step towards the digital transformation of businesses.

This decision is not without consequence for businesses in terms of the reporting of expenses with average amounts of 2,000 euros per year per employee, according to our benchmarks. The issue is proportional to the size of the business. For an SME with 250 employees, 1,750 expense reports and nearly 10,000 paper receipts must be retained every year, totalling over 50,000 receipts over a 5-year period. This is the average. Some businesses incur more or fewer costs depending on their activity.

Just because paper receipts are no longer retained, this does not mean that we no longer need to provide proof of the expense. The tax administration still has a supervisory role and the business must be able to justify the validity of any reimbursed costs.

The methods relating to the digitisation and storage of receipts are governed by legal and tax regulations, which differ from country to country.

In order to scan documents to be admissible by tax administration in the event of an audit, documents must be dated and time-stamped, sealed by a certification authority and, above all, stored in a secure location in an Electronic Archiving Service. To do so, the business must ensure that the expense reports management solution is linked to a “trusted third party” with the necessary credentials to ensure that the archived supporting documentation has a probative value.

Changing to a paperless system has historically been central to Traveldoo’s Travel & Expense solution through booking trips online, issuing electronic tickets (air, train, hotel, etc.) and digitising receipts and, more generally, all validation processes, commonly referred to as workflow.
Managing the documents’ probative value archiving is an essential step in the complete digitisation of business travel and expenses from end-to-end . It is the realisation of “paper-free”. The next step is the virtualisation of costs: not their refund, but their payment. The traveller will no longer need to scan their supporting document as it will have disappeared. This is already the case, for example, with private hire vehicles: the passenger can simply get into a vehicle without worrying about payment or obtaining and scanning receipts. Their expense report will already be filled in after being imported directly into the expense report management solution, and all they will then need to do is submit it.

With the Traveldoo Expense Mobile App, employees can create their expense reports easily and submit them for validation before returning to the office. The expense report is created as the expenses accumulate. To do this, simply place the receipt underneath the mobile phone, which will automatically activate, thanks to the optical character recognition feature (technology that translates an image into text). The information on the receipt is then identified and will automatically pre-populate the expense report. In this case, the scanned receipt is certified and stored on a trusted third party’s server, certifying that the document is a true copy of the original and has not been forged for a 10-year period.

Thanks to this completely paperless process, the employee is reimbursed quickly, saving a considerable amount of time and making the business more productive and efficient.

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