Digitalisation and automation of expense management low in APAC

Photo by Kelly Sikkema

Jenji, a fintech scale-up company that has built an AI-based platform that automates expense management, has announced the results of its 2021 Asia Pacific (APAC) Expense Management Practices Survey.

The survey reveals that the adoption level of digitalisation and automation in expense management among companies across APAC remains low.

“We have seen almost a decade’s worth of digital transformation and adoption by businesses squeezed into less than two years as a result of the pandemic,” said Lee Chee Leong, Head of APAC, Jenji.

“However, APAC continues to be slow in adopting digital processes. The result is that it compromises on the speed and accuracy of expense reporting and management.”

More than 21% of companies surveyed shared that they continue to use paper documents and cumbersome manual processes to record corporate expenses.

The survey also found that only 25% are partially digital, using attached expense reports and scanned receipts. This reduces paper use in the company but does not improve the speed or accuracy of expense management.

More than 10% of respondents added that processing one expense report could take over two weeks.

A key challenge faced by companies surveyed is the time it takes to reconcile, review and approve reports. Employees losing receipts or submitting reports without receipts was another common concern. Nearly 20% of respondents shared that an inability to check for fraud and duplicate receipts easily is also a problem.

Expense fraud costs in Singapore are approximately 3.45 times more than the lost transaction value, and the loss of revenue from fraud amounts to about 1.57% of total company revenue,” said Mr. Lee. 

“Most of these problems can be easily addressed by the adoption of fully digital and automated expense management statements that removes human error and speeds up the process of expense management and provides accurate reports.”

Jenji collected nearly 300 survey responses from across APAC, with almost 60% respondents in finance functions such as accountants, financial controllers and HR managers who have direct insights into their company’s expense practices.

Most of the responses came from Singapore, China, Thailand and the Philippines, and the majority of the companies have less than 1,000 employees.