Going beyond automation: How T&E management drives business value

Are you getting all the benefits you could from your travel and expense management (TEM) solution?

A lot of companies “set it and forget it.” They assume that automating rote tasks is the primary benefit of travel expense management software—but they’re wrong. Saving on labor costs is just the first benefit you’re likely to realize. We enlisted research firm IDC to help us prove that point in our white paper, “Driving Business Value through Travel and Expense Management Maturity.”

 

A T&E solution will help you gain more than speed. Learn more in the whitepaper

 

What we found is this: the real benefit of a TEM solution goes far beyond automation. Greater insight gives you greater agility to empower employees to make smart decisions. It can also help you identify new opportunities like better supplier rates, VAT reclamation, etc. Going beyond automation helps you tap into an ecosystem of partners who add extended value to travel and expense management. 

Of course, you’ll benefit from automation, too. Automation helps streamline reporting processes to make it easier for employees to avoid errors and submit receipts quickly—giving them less chance to lose them. It’s a big benefit—you can substantially reduce the amount of staff time you’re using on supporting TEM. Between ease of use, improved processes and mobile capabilities, you’ll improve staff productivity and make it easier for them to follow your organization’s travel and expense policies.

 

What We Found

For the paper, IDC interviewed eight customers from both small businesses and enterprises who are using Concur travel and expense management software. These organizations are located around the world and range from a small business with 118 employees to one with 20,000 employees.

By using Concur as its technology partner for TEM, over three years, IDC calculates that each customer will gain an average of $2.78 million in business benefits, or $54,900 per 100 users. That’s an ROI of 482 percent, which means your new TEM solution just paid for itself four times over. Here’s where those benefits come from:

 

  • Reducing the amount time employees spend planning business travel and completing expense reports
  • Requiring less staff time to support business travel and manage expense reports
  • Enabling cost savings through enhanced visibility and improved compliance with travel and expense policies
  • Making audit operations more robust and efficient while minimizing the risk associated with improper expenses and lost receipts
  • Empowering employees to make smarter decisions and increasing employee satisfaction with options to book travel

 

How’d they do it? In each case, the customer migrated to a robust mobile-based reporting solutions that let them use analytics to drive savings and agility. Most of them moved from a TEM based on Excel spreadsheets and/or hard-copy reporting to a TEM with more maturity.

 

The IDC Maturity Model

Whether you’re a small business drowning in a sea of paperwork or a global enterprise looking to stay out in front of complex compliance requirements, it’s likely that your organization fits into one of the five stages of maturity outlined below:

 

  • Level 1: Excel- or Paper-based Expense Reporting

Most small businesses start by manually entering their expenses into an Excel spreadsheet—which is time-consuming and error-prone. Automating can halve processing time.

 

  • Level 2: Automated TEM Processes

Companies usually then move to basic expense management software. That way, you can reconcile your back-office accounting systems with custom accounting codes—but the user experience leaves something to be desired.

 

  • Level 3: Purpose-built Mobile/Cloud Apps

These solutions immediately increase spending clarity across the organization by making it as easy as possible for users to update their expense reports on the fly and receiving timely and relevant travel alerts.

 

  • Level 4: Platform Ecosystem

Platform ecosystems can hook into corporate booking systems and travel management companies, and the platform can accommodate international travelers who need to account for value-added tax (VAT) as one example.

 

  • Level 5: Intelligent/Predictive Processes

Predictive analytics can look at historical data and highlight trouble areas for you before they happen again—and can help you set up warning flags to head off problems.

 

No matter what level your organization is currently at, look for a TEM solution that is able to grow with your business. A solution that will continually help propel your business to the next level is one that is able to anticipate pain points and take care of them for you, while also streamlining processes and allowing your business to run more efficiently. Only Concur has the track record and the expertise to support the evolution of your business, every step of the way.

 

Next Steps

It’s clear that using a cloud-based TEM can drive business value far beyond merely automating manual processes. Wondering which level of TEM maturity your organization fits into? Take this interactive quiz to find out.

 

 

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