How travel and expense management apps can help retain top-performing staff in the age of the millennial

Today's business leaders are finding that managing a multi-generational workforce has never been more challenging. The cost of turnover and lost productivity is now greater than ever in a hyper-competitive business environment. For Chief Financial Officers (CFOs), mandates to control operational costs are becoming more complex as millennial employees (aged 35 and under) bring a different set of expectations into the business than older workers.

 

When millennials are revenue-generating employees, it compounds these challenges. In addition to the company's sales force, sales managers, marketing mavens, and industry thought leaders usually spend more time traveling than they do in the office. Many times, these employees leave a company not necessarily because they receive a better offer, but because of their frustration with daily processes, such as travel booking and expense reporting. It's often the repeated little headaches that drive employee turnover, and that has a big impact on the debit side of the general ledger.

 

Think about how millennials have grown up in a world of smartphones, tablets, and mobile apps. Asking these younger staffers to use a paper-based system for any business process is anathema. Fortunately, CFOs looking for ways to reduce revenue-generating employee turnover can easily add travel and expense management (TEM) software solutions that fit with the mobile workstyles of today's employees:

  • At the very least, today's modern organization should have an automated TEM process in place, using specific TEM desktop applications. The value of basic automation is the ability to insert customized accounting codes into the TEM application template (facilitating accounting accruals) and a basic desktop-based user experience.
  • While basic TEM software provides basic value, it lacks the streamlining efficiency associated with a set of purpose - built cloud and mobile TEM apps. These apps are easy to access from any device, and typically can capture data from paper receipts, automatically populate reports, and provide managers with the ability to approve expenses from mobile dashboards. Furthermore, working with a TEM partner that has developed an ecosystem of third party apps increases an organization's ability to recognize its overall spending patterns in real-time. For instance, automated VAT reclamation accrual allows for the elimination of a separate process running in-parallel to TEM reconciliation.
  • Because of this mobile-first value, utilizing a set of cloud and mobile-based TEM apps is quickly becoming table stakes. According to IDC's most recent survey of fast-moving midmarket firms, those led by millennials are much more likely to have already adopted cloud-based travel management and expense solutions than their peers (60% and 20% more, respectively.) IDC also sees these firms as being first-movers in adopting predictive TEM software that, when part of an ecosystem, can automatically report TEM savings insights that help leaders see clearly what’s happening in the business.

 

In just the past five years, the workplace has changed dramatically, as employees, regardless of industry, can now access company resources anytime, anywhere. This flexibility has become an employee expectation, and CFOs and other executive decision-makers must recognize that their business processes need to meet these expectations in order to maintain a high-performing workforce. Utilizing modern TEM apps allows leaders to not just exceed employee expectations, but also provide a stronger level of expense automation that improves spending visibility and reduces costly employee turnover.

 

The IDC Modern Maturity Model shows clearly that the more automated an organization’s travel and entertainment expense management, the more mature it is as a business and the smarter its decision making in ways that translate to real savings and value. To learn more, download the full reportattend our webinar March 16 at 1:00 pm ET/10:00 am PT, or participate in our Twitter chat on April 14.

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