If one thing is certain in travel management, it's that you can’t manage what you can’t see.
For many companies, travel is a significant category of spend – and yet one that most finance leaders struggle to monitor and control. According to a research report by SAP Concur in partnership with Vanson Bourne, 86% of finance leaders agree that their travel, expense, and invoice systems could be better connected for a single view of spend.
As the global economy slows down, this single view will be increasingly important to have. Experts believe that cost reduction will be the top priority for companies in 2019, and this will put pressure on you, as a finance leader, to find ways to improve efficiency across all areas, including T&E. To do this well – without hurting your business or curtailing growth – you will need to make data-driven decisions powered by unified data about spending.
So what’s the best path forward?
Many CFOs are partnering with travel managers to select and deploy state-of-the-art cloud solutions that automate travel and expense processes and bring together all relevant data for near real-time spend visibility and control. The business benefits can be fast and significant.
For example, consider how Discovery a US$6.5 billion mass communications company, recently replaced its two separate solutions for travel and expense with integrated SAP Concur solutions (Concur Travel, Concur Expense, TripIt Pro, and Concur TripLink). Before, employees had to book travel on one system and then reconcile their expenses on another system.
Now, with the Concur Travel and Concur Expense solutions, everything is more transparent and efficient, from the moment Discovery employees book travel to the moment they come back home. Their credit card and paper receipts are already in their expense profile – including receipts for travel bookings and invisible spend which, for a long time, finance didn't even know existed. SAP Concur solutions’ connected ecosystem also makes things easier for finance and travelers, for example, because employees can use preferred third-party apps and Web sites such as Uber, Lyft, Booking.com, or AirBnB and automatically have receipts go to the company’s expense system. When it’s time to generate expense reports, most data is already prepopulated in templates, saving time and reducing errors.
All this data, once centralized and seamlessly captured at the point of purchase, helps finance executives and managers of employees see what’s really happening on the spend front – and proactively make informed decisions that keep budgets directed toward what matters most.
As this example illustrates, as CFOs and travel managers work together to evaluate travel technologies, the focus must shift to how IT innovations can automate and integrate travel and expense management. It also must shift to capture and connect all travel transactions, so stakeholders have the visibility and control they need to keep people safe. This will require solutions that help you:
- Drive innovation into improving compliance, visibility, and cost control: Look for solutions that capture and centralize travel spending and itineraries booked using both corporate booking tools and third-party apps.
- Reinvent employee experiences ahead of their expectations: Look for solutions that deliver intuitive apps that guide users through every trip, providing a consumer-simple way to request travel and manage itineraries and expense reports even while on the go.
- Support travelers wherever they are: Today’s innovative cloud solutions help you meet your organization’s duty of care obligations by triangulating consolidated itinerary and corporate card data with global risk information and specialized assistance resources.
- Integrate travel and expense processes for unified visibility and control: Look for integrated solutions that can bring more efficiency and control to the entire travel process – from travel requests and booking to reimbursement and every step in between.
Want to learn more? Download the new paper from SAP Concur solutions, Realize More Value from Your Travel Program by Extending It, and watch the video testimonial of Disvocery below.