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Study shows importance of strategic travel and expense solutions

Managing expenses and cash flow is most challenging responsibility cited


October 19, 2016
Michael Power

travel

Toronto—A new study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Concur explores how mobile and digital channels have disrupted travel and expense management, creating new challenges for finance managers. Commissioned on behalf of Concur, an SAP company, the study offers insights into the steps finance managers are taking to successfully overcome these challenges and manage spend.

According to the study: “Forrester found that companies are making significant changes to improve the T&E process both from a financial, cost-saving perspective and an employee satisfaction and process efficiency perspective.” The study also stated that “to further explore these changes, Forrester tested the hypothesis that today’s financial leaders need to embrace T&E solutions strategically to help drive growth and innovation in the business.”

Key findings from the study include:

  • Travel and expense tools and capabilities must evolve to match technology and tools that employees already use in their personal lives. Mobile and digital technology have expanded how users make and track purchases in their personal lives and they now expect their employers to support those same capabilities. Companies rate mobile apps as the most effective way to get employees to comply with travel and expense policies. By giving users mobile travel and expense support, finance managers gain real-time insights into expense trends and evolving travel plans.
  • Managing travel and expense is a top challenge for financial leaders, but they have less time to devote to it. Tracking spend is a strategic element for any financial leader, but it’s difficult to balance with all of their demands. Finance leaders need more intuitive tools that simplify the travel and expense process and deliver critical insights into spend trends. To address these challenges, Forrester found 73 percent of companies are actively updating or planning to update their travel and expense systems within the next six months.
  • New travel and expense investments focus on empowering employees through improved process efficiency, data analytics and reporting. Finance leaders agree empowering employees to make smarter decisions and comply with company policies is key to effective travel and expense management. As such, companies need solutions that are user friendly and easy to implement and integrate with existing systems. Capabilities such as integrated travel booking and expense systems and receipt capture which auto-create expense reports and are critical in helping to unify the employees experience and drive spending compliance.

To inform the study, Forrester conducted an online survey of 500 financial decision makers across North America, EMEA, APAC and Australia/New Zealand. Companies surveyed range in size from 100 to 999 employees (representing 50 percent of all survey respondents) to companies with more than 20,000 employees. The survey findings were supplemented with six in-depth interviews with financial leaders from small- and medium-sized businesses and enterprise companies.