The element of surprise is great when it comes to birthday parties and April Fool's Day pranks, but when trying to carefully manage a budget—and travel and entertainment (T&E) expenses in particular—no one likes to be caught off guard. As your finance team may have cautioned, "It's all fun and games until someone comes in over budget."
It's not like anyone intentionally ignores T&E policies and procedures. In fact, if T&E spending is a significant portion of your company's overall budget or if you have very rigid budgetary controls, exceeding T&E numbers can have a significant impact on the bottom line. Yet time and again, projects, departments and divisions exceed targets and leave budget managers scratching their heads wondering "Now how did that happen?"
Limited Visibility = Limited Accuracy
The underlying problem with many systems today is that there's no easy way to know where you stand when it comes to travel & entertainment expenses. T&E budgets are often exceeded simply because managers lack the visibility needed to stick to their established threshold. Typically, it is only after an expense report has been approved and that amount flows through to the general ledger that they can actually see where the numbers ended up.
Another common challenge is that budget information is stored in one system and not readily available as managers approve travel requests and other expenses. So to ensure they stick to the policy, budget managers spend an inordinate amount of time running reports and making ad-hoc requests to their friends in Finance to verify the numbers—which can be a frustrating process for both.
A Guessing Game No More
With Budget Insight, we're helping take the guesswork out of T&E budget management. Every time you make a decision to approve travel or other expenses, you can immediately see the effect that decision will have on your budget. Finally, instant visibility and the resulting control are at your fingertips. Not only can you better manage to your numbers, but with up-to-date dashboards, you can identify spending trends that need to be addressed now—not at the end of the period when it is too late.
Here's how Budget Insight works. First, budget data, ownership and workflows are uploaded or entered directly into Concur making it a part of the approval workflow for Authorization Requests and Expense Reports. From that point on, Concur performs all the necessary calculations to ensure your numbers are up-to-date including budget, planned and actual amounts. This way, when a travel request or expense report is submitted for approval, the budget manager can instantly see the effect that expense will have on their budget and determine whether to approve the request or deny it. Having that information available at critical points when actual or planned spending is being approved ensures managers have the necessary context to make sound decisions.
It's time to remove the guesswork from T&E expense management. With Budget Insight, we give you the context you need to make sound decisions and manage to your budget bottom line. Budget Insight functionality is currently available as an add-on for Concur Travel & Expense Professional edition, Concur Expense Professional edition, and Concur Authorization Request Professional Edition. Try it yourself to see how visibility and control over expenses can help keep your budgets on track.
Interested in Budget Insight? Ask your sales representative or account manager for more information.
Featured image courtesy of: Mr. Addi