The pandemic has had a dramatic impact on almost every aspect of our personal and professional lives. COVID-19 has introduced a new element of risk and uncertainty. In our personal lives, we respond to these health and economic risks by being more cautious; we limit our activities, and probably spend less, too. Most businesses and organizations are responding to the uncertainty of COVID-19 in a similar way–they want to be more cautious and work even harder to identify, avoid, and mitigate risk. In other words, in times of uncertainty, most organizations become even more focused on compliance. At the same time, business travel is starting to return. A recent survey of U.S. TripIt from Concur users found that nearly half of respondents plan to travel for business this year.
Focusing on compliance during times like these makes sense, but outdated compliance solutions can be expensive, inefficient, and have the unintended consequence of stifling employee autonomy and creativity, which will be key to successfully emerging from the pandemic.
Thankfully, compliance isn’t what it used to be. New tools and advanced technology make it possible to focus on compliance in ways that are cost effective, minimally intrusive, and deliver the control organizations demand.
During the pandemic, SAP innovation has had an even greater focus on helping organizations meet their compliance needs in a way that empowers employees, and today from our virtual SAP Concur Fusion event, we’re happy to announce new admin controls for Concur TripLink.
TripLink is designed to bring bookings made outside of traditional channels back into a managed travel program through the SAP Concur global network of integrated travel partners and through TripIt Pro. It increases visibility into travel plans, allowing organizations to apply policy and negotiated rates to all travel, and fulfill duty of care obligations.
With TripLink admin controls, available in the second quarter of 2021, travel managers have the flexibility to choose how integrated travel partners are presented and communicated to travelers, in order to reflect their organization’s travel policies and provide travelers with clear messaging around whether travel supplier-direct bookings are allowed or discouraged, so they are aware of the guidelines and can more easily stay in policy. With the new customizable controls, TripLink is now a fit for all organizations, regardless of their policies around direct booking.
TripLink admin controls give travel managers the options to:
- Select preferred integrated travel suppliers
- Provide clear messaging to employees if travel supplier-direct bookings are allowed or discouraged
- Inactivate integrated travel suppliers, if needed, by request
This year, we’ve already made strides in helping companies meet their compliance needs. In January, we announced:
- Concur Tax Assurance by VATBox, helping organizations comply with global tax regulations by confirming data integrity and offering collection and enhancement tools to increase reclaim potential.
- Concur Detect by Oversight, simplifying an organization’s expense audit and compliance program with embedded intelligence and automation. Concur Detect by Oversight analyzes expenses both before and after payment to mitigate immediate risks, spot suspicious spend patterns across time, and prioritize risk to drive greater audit efficiency.
A recent survey found that only 23% of European finance leaders say every opportunity is taken to reclaim VAT, and 41% have experienced increased errors in expense and invoice submissions and processing. Smart organizations are evaluating technologies and partners that can help them control these often-overlooked costs.
We’re also hard at work to give travelers the information they need to make the best decisions for their trips and help them remain compliant with local regulations while traveling. Last month, we announced COVID-19 travel guidance in TripIt, which allows users to see the latest destination-specific COVID-19 guidance for items in their itinerary. We also announced the ability to search for guidance by destination within TripIt Pro, prior to a trip being booked, available as part of Concur TripLink. Guidance includes:
- Key information about infection rates, hotspots, and any quarantine or testing requirements for travelers entering the area
- Requirements and restrictions currently in place, including mask requirements, curfew orders, and restrictions on dining and shopping
- Travel guidelines issued for destinations, such as health documentation requirements, entry and exit rules, travel bans, and more
With policies and regulations in a state of near-constant change, the need for technology to help companies and travelers remain compliant is more important than ever. We hope you’ll join us at our first global SAP Concur Fusion event this week and attend breakout sessions to understand ways to rethink and redesign processes and policies to improve compliance within your organization.