Travel and expense management: Are you a leader or a follower?
When it comes to travel and expense management, an internal tug of war exists. Business travellers want a seamless experience, and companies want better visibility, increased compliance and reduced spend. Dafydd Llewellyn offers tips and insights on how to make T&E effective across the board.
Satisfying both sides is no easy task and according to a recent survey into T&E best practises by Concur and Aberdeen research, some are better at it than others. In fact, the research found that when it comes to T&E management, there are two types of people – leaders and followers. Leaders have most of their spending under control, have increased compliance to company policies and approve expense reports more quickly. Followers are lagging behind.
Luckily though, if you are a follower, it isn’t impossible to catch up with the rest of the pack. Below are top tips and insights from the leaders on how to make T&E effective across the board.
1. Utilise new tech: Leaders who embrace new T&E technology are 54% more likely to have spend visibility across the organisation compared to followers. Visibility eliminates doubt and unwelcome surprises.
Leaders that adopt technology are also more likely to have their spend under management – approving expense reports quicker and keeping them within budget. In fact, leaders are twice as likely to have expenses within budget and have 20% less travel spend overall. By adopting T&E technology, Leaders achieve annual savings of 14.8% compared to Followers at just 6.8%.
Technology also increases compliance, and leaders are 84% more likely to track and monitor compliance than their counterparts. Empowered by tech, managers can identify non-compliant activity, they can identify real patterns in employee behaviour through end-to-end reporting and they can achieve a real-time view of spend– all the while monitoring and improving their processes.
2. Simplify processes: The key to increased cost savings and compliance is the simplification of processes. Having a connected T&E platform eliminates muddled data and provides one version of the truth for reporting. Leaders are 84% more likely to have an end-to-end solution in place and operate on a connected platform that is easy to use for complete spend visibility
Linking travel booking and expense management tools makes reporting easier and leaders are 37% more likely to have this in place. To increase adoption, give business travellers mobile functionality so they can manage T&E on the move. This will improve employee productivity while giving the business earlier spend visibility.
3. Think about your users: Finally, the easier you make it for business travellers to book compliant options and submit expenses, the sooner you will have access to actionable and reliable T&E data. With data in hand, managers can then start to form a picture of spending before it happens, based on historical behaviour, and can plan and forecast far more efficiently. Just one example of how to achieve this would be giving employees the option to submit expenses via a mobile device.
Concur’s research found that leaders can move expense reports from submission to reimbursement in just 3.2 days. They can do this because they have the ability to approve expenses on on-the-go, from any device. Another huge time saver comes with the ability to book accommodation and transport on mobile devices. This puts a consumer feel back into a corporate process, increasing adoption and compliance.
Ultimately, T&E solutions should be driving measurable improvements to the bottom line. And, if they aren’t, then it’s time to catch up with the leaders and increase your visibility, compliance and cost savings. It’s not as daunting a task as it sounds - all you need are the right tools.
Dafydd Llewellyn is Managing Director UK SMB at Concur