Our research has revealed that some of the biggest challenges SMBs say they face are improving employee productivity, improving cash flow, and increasing visibility. There are two good reasons to tackle these issues when it comes to travel and expense:
- Travelling for business can generate an extraordinary amount of time-consuming paperwork for the employee and the finance team to tackle, hampering productivity.
- Taken together, travel and expense is the second largest controllable area of business spend, so there are big savings to be made.
The good news is that automation can help you cover off both issues. The bad news is that more than 70% of small businesses say lack of IT expertise means they put off implementing IT solutions. If you’re one of them, read on to find out why that may not be a concern after all.
Improving Employee Productivity While They’re on the Move
Traditionally, there are three stages to business travel. The first is the booking process, the second is the trip itself, and the third is the expense claim afterwards. Each stage takes time and generates paperwork. But, the power of the smartphone that everyone carries these days plus tools like Concur TripLink and Concur Expense can put an end to much of the paperwork. Automation will save time and improve productivity for employees and the finance team. Plus, cloud-based, mobile tools improve the employee experience, thus increasing compliance.
Freeing Up Cash Flow and Improving Visibility
That traditional business travel model also means the finance team doesn’t have the budget information it needs until after the fact. To put it another way, when you’re dealing with an overhead as big as travel and expense, lack of near real-time visibility into spend creates a real barrier to being able to free up cash and improve visibility.
When you know where cash is going ahead of time and you can see what’s coming up, you can do three things:
- Reduce the amount of time the finance team spends inputting data, making them more productive
- Track and analyze expense trends and pinpoint opportunities for cost reduction to free up cash
- See what costs are in the future so you can forecast with greater accuracy and offer more insight to the business
Embracing Automation and Tackling Your Fears Head On
As mentioned earlier, lack of IT expertise in-house is a huge factor holding businesses back from moving towards automation. There’s also concern about whether a business is simply too small to benefit from technology.
But you’re never too small for automation – and don’t just take our word for it. One customer of ours is DRC Capital, a business of 16 people. Office Manager Maria Santos Roman reported that in her first conversation with us: “I was quickly reassured that we would not be the smallest company [SAP] Concur worked with.”
The rewards for implementation of automation around travel and expense are tangible:
- Faster processing and reimbursement times
- Time savings
- Greater employee satisfaction
- Cost savings through improved expense tracking
- Better visibility and analytics capabilities
Is it time you gave automation greater consideration? Download the whitepaper to learn more about how IT fits within the expense and travel management picture.