Travel expense management remains one of the biggest challenges that CFOs face on a regular basis. You might find yourself in the situation where corporate travel is vital for your company as both a source of new business and a source of expenses that you struggle to reduce or eliminate.
Travel expenses can become a source of savings because they represent the second most controllable cost in your company. Getting the best price for your business flight ticket is not enough to gain control over travel expenses when there are several internal factors constantly challenging you:
The travel expense management tools / system you have are not integrated with other important software in your company, such as your ERP system;
The other executives do not provide you support in defining the travel policy or improving travel and expense management, and they do not understand the importance of their contribution;
Your employees do not understand the travel policy or know the procedures, and are therefore not compliant with internal and legal regulations.
Think about the savings you could add to your overall budget if you had the right strategies to improve travel expense management.
Integrate your expense solution with your FinTech stack
There are plenty of processes that can be automated using accounting, human resources or marketing software, and each can be integrated with other tools in your company to maximize positive results. When it comes to travel expense management, integration with enterprise resource planning software is one of the most important measures you can take to gain control over your costs and generate improvement in employee productivity.
But integration with your ERP system is just one of the many integrations that can provide you with an improved overview into travel expense management. Ideally, you would also integrate the tools provided by your travel vendors to always choose the best price for your business trips.
Another important part of a travel expense management software is the availability of a mobile app that is designed for your corporate travellers to help them comply with the travel policy while away on a business trip. This type of application offers the required support during business trips, permanent access to company regulations and automated approval processes, improving the overall experience and satisfaction of your travellers.
Develop a travel policy
When employees do not know how much they are allowed to spend, what costs are accepted or what tools they can benefit from while away on a trip, their behaviour impacts their travel costs. This means that your travel policy is ineffective and that, to prepare for the future of expense management, you need to:
Educate all your travellers and help them understand your corporate travel policy and define the desired behaviour;
Find new sources of savings by using the features of a travel management system;
Be flexible and open to suggestions from your employees;
Integrate your travel policy with an automated travel & expense management system.
As you can see, a travel policy for the future of your company goes hand in hand with the benefits of an automated travel management system, so ensure that your company is ready for the next step towards significant decreasing travel expenses.
Collect & analyse expense data
Thanks to the numerous business tools and technologies that exist on the market, you now have access to tons of data regarding your company's activities. This can be very overwhelming without SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)goals, but if you focus on the key data points and read the reports carefully, you can discover sources of excessive and unjustified costs. Always keeping an eye on data and not waiting for the monthly report gives you the opportunity to take immediate action and make a documented decision.
You might want to analyse the total volume and costs of all the Uber trips made in last month and then look for trends or compare the results between different departments. You can look for the average costs per employee and discover mistakes in the behaviour of your travellers. You can also pay attention to the performance of your recommended suppliers compared to the ones chosen by your employees, potentially identifying new opportunities to save more.
Like it or not, travel expense management will continue to evolve around automated software, and while some CFOs look at expense management solutions as an unwanted extra cost in the company’s budget, others see it as an investment and a source of multiple opportunities to help them.
Travel managers and travelling employees can easily collaborate and generate important cost savings with a dedicated expense tool.
If you are still searching for the right solution for you, we suggest that you choose a vendor that can truly help you implement your travel expense strategy. One that will offer you software that will reduce costs while keeping employees satisfied with their travel conditions.