3 Insights for Small Businesses from the Concur Expense IQ Report

Did you know that in 2012 small businesses (companies with less than 500 employees) spent more on travel and expenses across all major categories than their enterprise counterparts?

I can tell you this has nothing to do with extravagant travel spending habits of small business employees or generous volume discounts enjoyed by enterprise businesses.

In our experience, small business employees tend to travel more than their larger counterparts, resulting in more travel cost per employee. Plus, they tend to file more expense reports because they charge more items to credit cards, rather than submitting invoices.

Many businesses, including small and medium businesses, lack visibility into T&E spending. This week we announced the release of the 3rd Annual Concur Expense IQ report, which provides insight into T&E spend across a range of company sizes.

The Concur Expense IQ report analyzes data from over $50 billion dollars in T&E spend from over 20 million+ Concur users worldwide. With this amount of data, the insights we gain from visibility into the behaviors and trends in travel and expense spending is significant and beneficial.

So without further delay, I present you with three key takeaways from the Concur Expense IQ report.Read on and then download the full report to find all the details.

1.   Small Businesses Expense Differently – Gain Insight into Spending

Our report indicates that small businesses spent an average of 25% more per filer, per quarter in every major T&E category as compared to larger enterprises. Small business filers also processed a significantly higher number of transactions per quarter.

Once again, I assure you this is not as shocking as it sounds. Small businesses don’t always have the robust purchasing and accounts payable departments and processes of large enterprises — resulting in more charges on credit cards, which then appear on an expense report.

This data indicates an opportunity for business owners to dig deeper into expense reporting analytics and evaluate their expense reporting processes. With deeper insight, small and mid-sized businesses can lower costs by managing expense policies and improving efficiencies.

2.   Leverage Visibility — Negotiate Better Rates and Adjust Policies

Learning that small business employees spent over $1,000 more per quarter than those in larger companies may be unexpected. However, in a small business, employees often cover larger territories and wear multiple hats, requiring more travel. More travel equals more dining, lodging and additional expenses.

I find it very interesting that spend on incidentals nearly doubled from 2011 to 2012 for all businesses. This should come as no surprise since we have all experienced the incremental fees from providers, such as airlines and hotels, who have gotten savvier at collecting more revenue in a down economy. And, businesses are getting better at tracking this type of expense such as baggage fees, car rental insurance or Wi-Fi charges.

An integrated travel and expense management solution can help your business gain visibility into where and how your money is being spent throughout the expense reporting process — including travel booking and out of policy spend. It can also provide your team with the information needed to negotiate prices, such as lower rates at a frequently visited hotel, or to make changes to your travel and expense policy.

3.   Mobile App Tracking Increasing  — Expense As You Go

The report revealed that the use of mobile expense apps is soaring. Concur’s mobile expense app for example, saw usage triple between 2011 and 2012. Mobile apps make it is easy to capture receipts and file expenses on the go, reducing the time it takes to be reimbursed. Investing in a mobile expense solution will help increase the productivity of business travelers while allowing businesses to more accurately track ancillary spending to drive their expense policy.

Businesses are faced with a new opportunity in 2013: optimizing their expense reporting processes. The Concur Expense IQ Report emphasizes the importance of getting deeper insight into T&E spend, using benchmarking data to negotiate rates and utilizing a mobile solution.

Companies cannot set easy-to-follow and effective policies unless they know where their money is going. An integrated travel and expense management solution allows businesses to identify trends and behaviors, make more informed decisions on how to improve process efficiency and establish expense reporting policies.

Download the full Concur Expense IQ Report to learn how your company can prosper from this information.  

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