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How Automating Financial Forms Can Save You Money

Published: March 15, 2017

Finance organizations and teams all have one common goal in mind: saving money. Your priority is the bottom line, and what better way to cut costs than increased productivity and reduced paper waste? There are several financial forms that are required when you’re running operations.

Whether you’re dealing with travel reimbursements, budget approvals, or purchase orders, you need the necessary information and signatures promptly to process these requests. Considering all of the steps involved, it can be challenging to get the necessary approvals in time using manual delivery or email processes. You need specific managers to approve reimbursements or an executive to sign off on a new budget. However, with workflow automation, you could save money by increasing your company’s productivity.

Here are three ways you can save money with automated financial forms.

1. Reimbursement Forms

Expense reimbursement forms are common throughout most businesses. When employees go on business trips, meet with clients for dinner, or use their own transportation during travel, they need to document their out-of-pocket expenses. Getting the company to pay them back is then accompanied by a pile of paperwork and detailed transaction history. This could include digital or printed receipts, pictures of the odometer for mileage, or even a detailed description of meeting topics and resolutions that were discussed over a client dinner.

Once the list is compiled and proof of expense documented, a manager needs to sign off on all of the costs. Once the manager approves, the finance or accounting department must review, present the appropriate executive with all documentation on the reimbursement, and obtain a signature for approval. Only then can they issue a reimbursement check.

The problem? If you’re using manual or paper-based methods, this process is time-consuming. First, you have to document the costs in a spreadsheet, scan the receipts into a digital format, convert the documents into one file, and either manually email it off for a signature or deliver it by hand to the appropriate channels. This is a recipe for disaster. Emails can get lost in recipients’ inbox or they can misplace or overlook paper forms. With workflow automation, you’re saving your employees’ time and money by providing a more productive way to get approvals.

Want to learn more about workflow automation? Download our free eBook for tips.

2. Capitalization Management Forms

Whether it’s a budget approval, asset transfer, retirement adjustment, or an audit sign off, capitalization management forms are a necessity. With a budget approval, an employee may be asking for an increase in their team’s yearly allotment. They have a presentation on how much revenue comes from their collective efforts and which tactics are bringing in the most promising business to the company. They present their projections, expenses, and target profit margin and then it’s up to the board to approve.

Maybe it’s an easy decision. Marketing’s efforts have really paid off this year with qualified lead generation and it would be advantageous to the company to put more efforts into the campaigns that are working. However, everyone must agree. Sending this financial request through the approval chain requires signatures from all executives, especially the financial officer that must reallocate specific funds. This can cause tremendous lag time.

How much revenue could be earned from the marketing campaign if funds were allocated sooner? Whose desk was the approval on throughout that timeframe? Would the campaign have qualified more leads that converted into customers? The steps to approval may be easier to conduct by sending the financial request form digitally for approval. This way, due date reminders can keep the signing executive responsible for sending it through the rest of the process. With digital transaction management, you can route and manage documents through electronic means without the hassle of manual emails or hard copies.

3. Approval Forms

When you have a purchase request form, there are a variety of factors that go into the approval process. Let’s use the example of a new group of customer service agents coming in for their first day on the job. The hiring manager must fill out a form to request new computers and phones from IT for the five new hires. After that, he has to contact facilities since there are five new people, but only three empty desks. He’ll need two more cubicles for the employees to work in, which might mean purchasing new desks and office chairs.

When teams take on this many new employees in one department at a time, a purchase request must be filed with the finance department. How much is this going to affect the team’s budget? What costs are associated with the new employees (computers, desks, chairs, etc.)? Once a spreadsheet is compiled with this information, an approval form must be sent to the department head’s superior. With their sign off, the finance department can process the order and ensure it gets to the appropriate teams in time for implementation.

Electronic forms, automated workflows, and digital signatures are fundamental to strategizing a healthy business process. With so many forms and approvals in the finance industry, it’s time to enhance your productivity.