Aberdeen Group research finds visibility, costs, lack of control and mountains of paper are the four greatest business pressures when it comes to travel and entertainment expense reports. In a recent Aberdeen research study the number one concern was poor visibility into travel and entertainment spending – 57% said they worry about that. They have a point – the paper chase of spreadsheets and receipts means it can take weeks, even months, for an expenditure to show up where you can see it. Even some “automated” systems give imperfect visibility. You can only make good decisions about cash flow if you can see where the money is going in time to do something about it.
Inefficient expense reports equal higher costs
38% of SMBs surveyed told Aberdeen they need to reduce their processing costs, and no wonder: the cost to process a single expense report can run as high as $17.87. (Best-in-class companies, though, who use expense automation, can cut that substantially – to $7.91 – less than half!)
We spent WHAT?
Not far behind was the issue of control. 36% of the SMBs in the survey told Aberdeen that one of their top business pressures is a lack of control of T&E spending. With bad visibility and poor control you simply cannot get the most out of cash flow.Out-of-policy upgrades to hotel rooms and airfare, high-dollar dinners and “incidentals” can literally nickel-and-dime a company to death. T&E spend is important – it makes up ten percent of a typical SMB’s budget. It’s the second largest controllable cost – but only if you control it.
Where IS that?
The fourth business pressure in the Aberdeen study was the need to eliminate manual, paper-based processes. 20% - one out of five of the respondents - said eliminating paper was a high-priority concern. Paper gets lost; it’s inefficient and bulky. And endlessly copying columns of numbers is a recipe for errors.
The key to relief
Because of manual data entry’s vulnerability to errors, Aberdeen says the key to relieving these pressures is the ability to capture information about spend at the source. The study found “…the weakest link in source capture is the paper receipt.” How to solve that? “The emphasis needs to be on getting mobile applications for source capture in place.” So all four of the big business pressures around T&E: visibility, costs, lack of control and mountains of paper, can be relieved by capturing the information that’s now on paper and automatically processing it from there.Done correctly, Aberdeen calls it “the expense report that writes itself.”
To learn more about how other savvy SMBs have relieved their top T&E pressures, download the report here and take the first steps to effortless expense reporting.