The NRW consumer advice centre optimises processes in travel expense claims and accounting using workflow control
Many companies still have lengthy and complicated travel expense claim procedures, which mean additional unnecessary bureaucracy. Several people are often involved in reviewing and approving applications or travel expense claims until they can finally be processed by the accounting department. It was a similar situation at the NRW consumer advice centre. The application and travel expense claim process has been significantly simplified with a new digital travel expense workflow.
Verbraucherzentrale Nordrhein-Westfalen e.V.
The NRW consumer advice centre was founded in 1958 as a state working group of consumer associations. It now consists of 37 consumer-oriented associations and local working groups. As a service provider, the NRW consumer advice centre advises and informs people seeking advice on the many and varied questions of everyday consumer life, and assists them in asserting their justified interests against providers. The non-profit association is also responsible for economic and health consumer protection with regard to politics and administration. The NRW consumer advice centre creates transparency in markets and is committed to continuously improving the quality of life of all consumers.
Objective: Simplify and optimize
"Travel costs are a very large cost factor in the human resource area (after wages & salaries). Considerable costs are also incurred for the accounting, approval and booking of travel expenses", states Dr. Martin Grünendieck, project manager at the NRW consumer advice centre. "We therefore wanted to carry out this process and cost optimization in the accounting area as a digital workflow. This saves time, effort and money, and provides us with additional transparency".
Focus on practical relevance
The concept was produced after careful analysis and the drawing up of a list of requirements by the project team, consisting of participants from the central and IT departments of the NRW consumer advice centre and from bpi solutions. The process definition and the subsequent implementation were carried out on the basis of MR.KNOW – BPM (formerly BPM inspire), BPM inform and dg hyparchive. The entire workflow was individually adapted to the requirements of the NRW consumer advice centre, and all of the relevant parameters were taken into consideration: Employees, supervisors, inspection bodies and financial accounting are fixed parameters. Document types and accounts are predefined, but can be overwritten when submitting the application and the travel expense claim. The automated billing templates, the storage of lump sum amounts and the evaluation options have noticeably simplified both travel applications and expense claims. In order to provide transparency and ensure that the data is up to date, it is stored in a database. The access rights determine who can view which data.
Simple submission of applications and travel expense claims
Information about incoming tasks, such as the processing of a business trip request, is sent directly by e-mail. A simple overview allows the supervisor to keep track of all existing requests and claims at all times, and approve them quickly. All of the important information is displayed immediately, and details are available with a single mouse click. Approval leads to the employee being notified. The employee confirms that he or she has received the information and, if approval has been granted, invokes the procedure for claiming the travel expenses. The employee can also request an advance on the travel expenses to be reimbursed. The advance is approved or rejected by the supervisor and then forwarded to the back office for entry into the case processing system. Once the business trip has been completed, the employee summarizes his or her trip parameters (e.g. the costs incurred) and sends them back to the superior who previously approved the travel request for checking. After approval by the superior, it is forwarded to the case processing department and reimbursement is triggered. After final approval, the travel expense claim is created as a PDF file and sent to the employee concerned by e-mail. At the same time, posting records are generated for the accounting department and the document is stored in the electronic archive. The travel expense claim contains a reference to the associated workflow (workflow ID), so that the employee can investigate and inspect the electronic transaction.
About Inspire Technologies
With MR.KNOW – BPM (formerly BPM inspire) from Inspire Technologies, the NRW consumer advice centre now has a modern BPM platform for automating business processes and for further digitalization of workflows. There are many possibilities, and applications which were previously isolated can be implemented in a process-encompassing manner with numerous solution templates from the MR.KNOW partners. All applications can be individually adapted and existing system landscapes can be easily integrated when doing this.