Simple to describe, yet difficult to achieve, compliance is the driving force behind the current trend towards combined Travel and Expense Management (TEM) solutions. In 2013, 43% of finance professionals rated compliance as their biggest challenge in the expense management process.
Spurred on by rising travel costs and tighter budgets, implementations of end-to-end solutions have seen a 13% increase in the last two years, according to Paystream Advisor’s latest research.
Traditional stand-alone expense management solutions aim to encourage compliant behavior by using alerts to highlight infringements of company policy. Managers are able to easily see when rules have been breached and can choose whether to approve or reject the claim. In this way, employees are educated to make the right choices and overall compliance improves.
Combined Travel and Expense Management solutions go a step further, setting a new gold standard in Travel and Entertainment process management. They provide a mechanism through which companies can manage travel spend through compliance, even before money has been spent.
Starting with pre-trip approvals, employees must gain authorisation to travel before booking flights or accommodation. As part of this process, travellers need to request the actual flights and hotels nights they need. To assure compliance to company policy, TEM solutions can be configured to ensure that only preferred vendors can be selected.
Approvers are able to see the total price of a trip before it is booked and can decide whether to authorise or decline the request. This is an important element of the budget control process because up until this point, no costs have been incurred.
Assuming authorisation is given, travel bookings are confirmed and an expense claim capturing all the details is created. Receipt capture is automatic, simplifying and expediting employee reimbursement.
In addition to the benefit of assured compliance, the administrative process of booking and claiming travel expenses plus the associated costs, are dramatically reduced. Accordingly, combined Travel and Expense Management solutions have been proven to provide extraordinary savings for business travel budgets.