Automate Travel Expense Management – And Reap the Benefits in Financial Savings, Productivity, and Compliance

Traveling employees are the face of the company. Chasing after customers and attending business meetings thousands of miles away makes up the bulk of their work – and a significant investment for the company. That makes all the reason to have traveling employees, finance, and management on the same page on matters regarding travel expense management.

However, taking a traditional approach to travel expense management creates more problems than solutions. Manual record-keeping lengthens reimbursement processes, and time-consuming expense reports disrupt employee productivity, while cumbersome booking and expense approval procedures dampen expectations for the outcome of the trip. The solution? Travel and expense management automation.

Why Travel and Expense Management Automation?

Travel and expense (T&E) management automation leverages technology to streamline and simplify the expense tracking process. Corporate travel managers pursue automation tools and software to save time, enforce adherence with company policies, and gain better visibility into employee spending patterns.

Beyond simplifying business travel, automated expense management informs better business decisions aligned with company objectives. Travel, finance, and accounting departments can better control their expenses in a fluid, frictionless manner when they know exactly how the travel budget is used.

>> Related: Automation Is Now the Foundation of Corporate Travel, Payment, and Expense Software <<

Beneficiaries of Automated Expense Management

Automation in travel expense management brings far-reaching benefits across three key areas:

Automation further enforces adherence with pre-determined spending limits. Increased visibility and transparency into expenses allow for more informed decision-making and resource allocation.

In a JP Morgan report, it is clear that companies that switch to automated expense management can slash expense processing time in half. What that means is better financial control alongside employee satisfaction for the organization.

Setting Course for Your Ideal Travel Expense Management Software

Lately, integrated travel and expense management solutions have been popping up left and right. The benefits of switching to a travel management platform sound great. But, with the existence of overwhelming choices, it makes perfect sense to take adequate time to select your ideal travel expense management solutions based on your most urgent business needs.

Start By Identifying and Defining Current Problems that You Wish to Address

The travel management process is often laced with frustration at each level. To an extent, this is a generational issue that can be traced back to manual data entry and paperwork. Here, expense review teams have to sift through mountains of paper-based receipts, reports, and documentation, amounting to further delays in claims processing.

The message is clear: get rid of manual processes and unclog delays in your travel management process.

>> Related: How Much Does Expense Management Software Cost? <<

Mapping Your Business Needs

Justifying an additional expense on travel expense automation software requires adequate support with existing business needs. Undoubtedly, there exists features that your travel management software can have and those it cannot do without. These are your most urgent business needs, and they include:

In short, develop a clear understanding of what you’re looking for in the software and identify the problems in the current process that you wish to address. 

Before heading into the vendor evaluation stage, collect all necessary input from various departments or stakeholders and ensure all requirements are considered.

Automated workflows can be set up for approval processes within the expense management system. For example, claims below a certain amount can be automatically approved, while larger claims may require manager approval or additional documentation. This keeps employees in adherence with your travel policy.

 

Budgeting for T&E Automation Software Investment

While business managers may be quick to select the best software on the market, flashy features alone won’t justify the need for the software or clearly capture its purpose in the company’s travel program. When budgeting for your ideal software investment, think about all the necessary features that go into making your travel program successful.

Next, consider your cost range. How much are you willing to pay for these features? Cost ranges can be determined by consulting other users of the same tech stack, preferably, other professional users in your industry.

Clearly, travel and expense automation software is a big investment for the company. As such, necessary financing and support should be sought from the company and management before making any investment decisions. Beware, however, of the hidden costs – such as additional fees for phoning support – and fine print that can eat its way into your cost-savings.

Technological and Security Concerns

As you’re dealing with personal employee information, a robust set of security measures must be put in place to address the rising security risks.

Some worthwhile security measures include robust encryption for data stored in the cloud. Users trying to access your travel management software must prove their identity with multi-factor authentication and strong passwords.

Weaving risk assessment into your security plan better prepares your business for imminent risks and nudges your automation efforts toward compliance with industry standards and regulations.

 

Getting Your Team Onboard

Lastly, don’t overlook the company-wide adoption of your new solution. When a new system is introduced to the workflow, it has an impact on staff productivity. Employees may experience a drag on productivity as they train to adapt to the new system.

At this point, early communication and support are key to the seamless integration of your travel solution. Effortless onboarding and training can be facilitated through no-cost, weekly training webinars and other valuable resources at your cost or the provider’s cost. This will make the transition smooth and accessible for all team members, regardless of their previous experience with such software.

Integrating Expense Management Software into Your T&E Policy

Not only does automation reduce the administrative burden on employees and finance teams, but it also provides a more transparent and efficient system for managing expenses. Integrating expense management software into your T&E policy comes with real-time visibility into company spending and other benefits as follows: 

This seamless integration provides real-time visibility into company spending, allowing for better decision-making and financial management.

TravelBank’s All-in-One Automated Expense Management

The ability to centralize expenses on a tightly but neatly packed dashboard sets your business on a path to better accountability, easy workflows, and expedited reimbursement procedures. TravelBank offers a combination of advanced reporting tools powered by a forward-thinking approach to simple, more efficient, and cost-effective travel programs. 

Our travel platform offers half a million lodging properties around the globe and pre-negotiated rates that would otherwise remain exclusive to large corporations. Together with our travel support, we’re committed to providing quick and responsive support for users directly through chat, email, phone, or Slack, anywhere, at any time.

And even better, by consolidating travel and expense tools, you can immediately save 40% on software fees.  With a comprehensive tool like TravelBank, Forrester Consulting found our customers actually saved $482k over three years.

 

Conclusion

Connecting the dots between your travel and expense automation needs calls for a sound approach, where integration with travel expense automation software marks the beginning of greater efficiency. While the options can easily overwhelm your business, it is always advisable to automate your travel program with those options that best suit your needs and expectations.

FAQs

How can travel expense management automation improve efficiency and reduce errors in expense reporting?

Automation ensures that expenses are accurately captured in real-time, eliminating the risk of distortion as seen with paper receipts. This leads to faster processing times and provides real-time visibility into travel expenses, allowing organizations to make informed decisions.

Can travel expense management automation integrate with other financial systems?

Integration with other financial systems is a key feature of travel expense management automation. This capability allows seamless synchronization of travel expense data with tools and applications already known to the organization. 

Are there any drawbacks or limitations to using travel expense management automation?

Potential drawbacks of travel expense management automation include the initial upfront costs and the need for comprehensive employee training. Occasionally, downtimes and disruptions may cause unexpected delays and frustration for users. As such, carefully assess your specific needs and weigh the benefits against any potential challenges before investing in automation.

Is travel expense management automation secure and compliant with data privacy regulations?

Travel expense management automation prioritizes security and compliance with data privacy regulations. Businesses should make it their priority to safeguard sensitive financial information with regular updates and encryption. Keep an eye on data privacy regulations, such as GDPR or HIPAA, to stay on the right side of the law.