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Managing expenses traditionally was a painful, time-consuming chore involving paper receipts and manager approvals. The majority of companies still do it that way, says Mike Hilton, executive vice president of Redmond, Wash.-based Concur, a vendor in the automated expense management space. Fewer than 10% of global companies have automated the process, he adds. But new technologies are driving adoption now. Concur steadily adds more credit card companies, travel companies and hotel chains to its system, allowing paper receipts to be eliminated right at the source. Once expense information is centrally managed, companies can mine it for insights about spending patterns.

Concur has released apps for iPhones, iPads, BlackBerries and Android phones that let employees snap pictures of receipts, upload them and toss the paper away. “It’s a very popular feature for things like a Starbucks receipt, or if you pay cash for a taxi,” Hilton says.

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