Look for Greater Integration and Connection in 2023
Technology continues to change and enhance how we work in incredible ways. Consider its impact on expense management—from early, fundamental accounting software for finance leaders, to more approachable cloud solutions for the average employee, to the introduction of smartphone applications for submitting expenses on the go. We’re now on the cusp of the next evolution in expense management technology.
Today’s workforce has a wide range of tools at their disposal to support every business need. However, more isn’t necessarily better. For instance, according to an SAP Concur pulse survey in early 2022, the majority of U.S. finance managers (57%) were using multiple applications to perform their role—and 17% used multiple applications with no integration between them. Additionally, an integrated system for travel and expense reporting was among the top resources in which U.S. business travelers said they’d like to see their company invest. Technology has helped streamline work—in this moment of change, it’s time to streamline the technology.
Beginning in 2023 and extending into 2024, we’ll see a marked shift in how workplace tools connect and integrate. These changes will create new efficiencies for traditional departments, like finance and HR, which will bring a ripple effect of benefits to employees and customers.
For example, more integrated travel and expense (T&E) solutions will provide better visibility into company spending, create more efficient finance processes, and ultimately lead to faster expense approvals and reimbursements. This is important because, according to the aforementioned pulse survey, all finance managers (100%) said that their role had changed—and become more challenging—since the start of the pandemic. Their top reasons included taking on additional work caused by staffing shortages (59%), additional auditing and paperwork requirements (45%), and new or added involvement in internal communications (45%). On average, they spent six hours each week on these tasks collectively.
It's also important for employees more broadly. In our pulse survey, 86% of business travelers reported that their company had been delayed in reimbursing their business expenses at least once in 2021, and 89% said that a delay in receiving reimbursements impacts their personal finances.
These findings suggest that greater integration and connection could help alleviate some of the pressure and strain being felt by both businesses and individual employees from current macroeconomic factors including inflation. For instance, integrated, connected tools generate comprehensive data, enabling full visibility of business spending and more accurate forecasting through intelligent and automated reporting, dashboards, and analysis. With increasing government regulations for organizations to measure, report on, and take actions to reduce or offset their CO2 footprint, T&E data produced from this deep integration will be the gold standard for how footprints are calculated going forward.
Greater integration and connection can empower employees to spend their days doing their best work—not busywork—while freeing businesses from unnecessary risks and costs. These advancements in T&E technology couldn’t be timed better, helping create a little more certainty in uncertain times.