The Business Benefits of Managed Travel for Manufacturing Finance Departments

By Jessica Larkin

For many manufacturing finance departments, travel and expense management is a spreadsheet-heavy process involving receipts, approvals, and ensuring proper billing codes are used to allocate spend to the right project. It involves hunting down managers to approve expense reports, the pressure to provide employees with timely reimbursements, and the need to manually pour through data to forecast budgets.

Thankfully, technology is changing the travel and expense management game. As project-based travel continues to increase in frequency for the manufacturing industry, leveraging managed travel that provides all-in-one expense management, tracks spending by project, and offers analytics and budget insights is an essential for finance departments.

Taking Expense Management to the Next Level

TravelBank’s goal is to delight our customers, regardless of their department. We understand that it is essential for manufacturing leaders to meet with suppliers, tour production plants or potential retail locations, meet with customers and prospects, and track expenses to specific projects. TravelBank boasts features to support the needs of the manufacturing industry, such as:

Centralized Expense Reports

We enable users to streamline expense management by automating reports, providing one-tap approvals, and visibility into business spend.

Currency Conversion

Our app automatically converts currencies to the USD for international travelers. We have over 150 currencies built-in and ready to go.

General Ledger

TravelBank can be optimized to fit your general ledger. Finance departments can sync data between accounting systems like QuickBooks, NetSuite, Bill.com, and Xero.

User Management

Finance managers can add employees, track team activity, incorporate policies, and approve budgets and reports.

Flexible Budgets

Financiers are able to predict spend and align incentives with budgets for travel and collaborative projects.

The list above reflects just a few of the many features TravelBank offers to streamline processes. Next, we’ll elaborate on some key functions.

Automated Approvals

An influx of project-based travel causes more work not only for employees, but for finance departments as well. By simplifying processes through automation, the burden is significantly lessened. In addition to streamlining the booking process, approvals and authorizations are also automated. Here’s a quick workflow visual that does a great job highlighting our all-in-one travel management solution:

Finance Flow for Travel Management

Need a closer look? Click to enlarge the graphic.

Predictable Processes and Forward-looking Insights

Financial managers need to have real-time insights into project spending and related travel and expense costs. TravelBank incorporates historical data as benchmarks to accurately forecast future spending and improve employee behavior, monitor overall savings against policies, and as a way to review employees that are booking over and under budget.

Our technology provides the ability to map and expense categories and synchronize expense reports, corporate credit card spending, and reimbursements with accounting software. From a visibility perspective, with TravelBank, insights are gained into exactly how much teams are spending with our analytics dashboard. Finance departments also benefit from predictive budgets that are based on destination, travel dates, and real-time market rates. In addition, automated expense tracking simplifies on-the-go receipt capture, improves compliance, and makes submitting reports less of a hassle.

Analytics and Budget Insights

Project-based travel accounts for $10 billion in annual spending, according to the GBTA. That is a ton of money! Finance managers are tasked with keeping tabs on where company money is going and providing forecasts on future spending.

Since the TravelBank booking experience is guided by a recommended budget, employees are guided to spend company money wisely and finance managers have insights into real-time market rates and can peg spend against it. A dashboard will allow your team to see historical data, help you forecast spend, and identify areas where there’s an opportunity to improve employee behavior.

Having the ability to monitor overall savings against your policies, and implement approval flows for employees bookings that are over budget gives your finance team the control they need to keep your program aligned to your company’s financial goals.

Manufacturing Finance Teams Love TravelBank

Implementing managed travel technology that provides all-in-one expense reporting, analytics, and forecasting is a must for manufacturers with a growing book of project-based business. Finance departments will appreciate the time saved, automated processes, and actionable insights gleaned from TravelBank’s easy-to-follow dashboards. By modernizing the way travel is tracked and managed, greater cost savings and improved accuracy are just a few of the immediate benefits your organization will realize.

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