Last month marked the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, and the first steps by humans on the lunar surface:  July 20th, 1969.

A lot of monumental change has occurred since this groundbreaking (lunar surface-breaking?) event, but sometimes the differences in times are best brought home by an examination of more mundane matters.  Like an expense report.

On July 30th, 2015, Buzz Aldrin, who walked onto the moon along with Neil Armstrong, tweeted copies of the hand-filled expense form he turned in for reimbursement of moon-travel related expenditures. 
The most callous critic of government cost control would have to be impressed with his sum expenditures:  $33.31.  Even adjusted for inflation and represented in today’s dollars—about $217.00— his total outlay might seem more than reasonable for the time period covered (July 7th-July 27th 1969) and a near-trivial amount for the first manned trip to an actual celestial body.

Buzz Aldrin Expense Report Digital

Of course, there are those who might look at the expense report and have a quibble or two.  After all, most of the trip itself was conducted on “Gov. Air,” and “Gov. Spacecraft,” and “USAF Plan.”   Furthermore, Aldrin himself admits that “Government meals and quarters furnished for all the above dates,” so a big part of what lands on many executives’ expense reports was already covered by Uncle Sam.  But even so, in light of a trip of more than 238,000 miles, including “Cape Kennedy,” “Moon,”, “Pacific Ocean,” and finally, “Hawaii,” the claimed reimbursements apparently passed muster.

Astronaut Aldrin did claim miles driven on his “POV,” or personal vehicle in lieu of rental car, but at a reimbursement rate of only 7 cents per mile, that too seems like quite a bargain today.

Aldrin’s sharing of Apollo 11-related artifacts– including the expense report– captured attention all around the globe.  There’s something about seeing the worn and faded government form, with actual writing on it that underlines how far we have come.  It’s been a continual march of technology past a true turning point in human achievement, and today what would have been amazing is now commonplace.    Thinking of it this way, it’s kind of neat that the 85 year old Buzz Aldrin embraced Twitter as the means to share the document.

It is entirely possible that if Buzz Aldrin needed to fill out an expense report today, he’d do it differently.  Today, a paper document can be scanned, faxed, or emailed, and, without any human intervention, kick off an automated workflow process to handle the expense report from submission to reimbursement.

There are even solutions that allow taking pictures of receipts with a mobile application, from which the relevant  numbers are extracted, and sent to whomever—one person, multiple people, or entire departments—needs them.  Electronic approvals are handled with digital signatures.  In short, an astronaut today could theoretically submit expenses from the moon, or from Mars—or from anywhere, really—and have the reimbursement funds already deposited to his or her account when they arrived back on earth.

At 5iSolutions, Inc. we know how to harness the power of data—your data.  We know how to automate your workflow process.  It’s a mobile world today, and the ability to handle business whenever, from wherever, is crucial to success.   5i Solutions can bring you customized ways to process forms– like expense reports– faster and more accurately, even on-the-go.  And your data will be secured in our Cloud Vault server, allowing records to be called up when you need.

Imagine never having to hand-fill a form again.  You’ll love it.  All the way to the moon.  And back!

5i Solutions, Inc.  One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage.  One singular solution.

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