Many companies use Google Workspace (formally known as G-Suite) to transform the way they work. Leading companies from financial services, healthcare, retail, and more are tapping G Suite to work better and faster across functions and locations.
Most companies automate processes across multiple departments and functions, and sometimes between multiple teams of the same groups. These use cases can span across finance and accounting, HR, and marketing. And this is where the apps in Google Workspace will need to be part of a process orchestration for process automation purposes. Otherwise, the workflows become too many, manual, and mundane tasks to carry out. i.e. there will be too many Google sheets and documents passing around in emails, or moving documents for approval to folders and sending confirmation or rejection emails, etc.

According to Forbes, G Suite can serve as a major boon to business operations, helping teams increase their efficiency and generally work much smarter.

Let’s consider the expense reimbursements process to understand how to implement Google Workspace automation in process automation in depth.

Despite the company size, all the employers must deal with expense reimbursements. There are several types of reimbursements such as travel, medical, and business.

This process contains several steps of filling reimbursement forms, getting approval, attaching receipts, etc. and until the employee gets their money back, the final decision can go back and forth a few times. This can even cost your job according to Spenmo, which reports an incident of “getting fired from the job after charging a $9.95 hotel room movie rental on her business travel expense report”.

Through expense management automation, an average company can reduce processing time and costs by 40 to 60 per cent, with payback in as little as six to 12 months.
The Global Treasurer

In fact, Forbes reports that US employees lend $1.6 billion each month to their employers through their monthly expenses. Yet, they may have to wait 30 days from initial submission, and approximately 50 minutes are spent on each form. This all adds up to the inefficiency of a company which costs 20-30% of their annual revenue. Furthermore, US businesses have to deal with the cost of expense fraud which is over $2.8 billion, each year. It also reports that this fraud expense itself is greater than the GDP of more than 35 countries.

Now let’s see how we can provide a solution to this problem.

Integrating Google Workspace in Expense Reimbursement Process Automation

We have created a simplified version of the reimbursement process using FlexRule's Decision Automation Platform. We use a few components of Google Workspace: Drive, Sheets, and Gmail.

This is a sample in Google Sheets which is stored in Google Drive.

Expense reimbursement- google Workspace sheet

The process consists of these sections:

  1. Validate the reimbursement Google Sheet.
    Once the employee fills and uploads the reimbursement sheet to Google Drive’s specific department folder, it will first be validated against the company and government reimbursement policies.
  2. Approve/ decline by the manager.
    Once the sheet is validated, notify the employee and accountant via Gmail.

The following flow is used to validate the form.Process FlowIn this flow, we have used a Decision Table to define the validation rules.

Decision table - validation rules

A boxed expression was used to define the constant values used in this Decision Table. Therefore, we can easily view and edit the values when the rules and regulations change.

boxed expression

In another decision table, we have defined the managers’ names and email addresses. This is used to pick the email address to send the notification to.

Decision table - notifications

After the validation step, the request is approved/ declined and email to the accountant and other parties upon approval.

Post validation flowNow let’s see whether it is really worth automating the reimbursement process.

The following graph shows how the tech-powered reimbursement process can save 70% of the time compared to a traditionally manual process.

Reimbursement automation time savingFurthermore, as Aberdeen Group reports, expense management automation can:

  • Reduce expense report completion time from 35 to 18 minutes.
  • Reduce accounts payable processing time from 22 to 5 minutes.
  • Reduce days required to process and reimburse expenses from 14 to 3.
  • Reduce overall costs from $48 to $18 per transaction.
  • Reduce overall time to create an expense report by 75%.

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Google Workspace automation as part of end-to-end decision automation for business processes, especially with complicated scenarios, positively impacts businesses of all sizes by reducing cost, improving productivity and flexibility, maximizing efficiency, and ensuring compliance. The clincher is a higher level of sophistication in automating business processes that results in delivering business outcomes and accelerating business growth.

Published March 31st, 2021 at 01:11 pm