Companies can reduce annual travel and entertainment (T&E) costs by 7 percent to 15 percent by using a comprehensive travel expense management system, according to a recent article on the Spend Matters website.
To achieve these significant savings, a business needs to have three key elements working together: a clear and specific expense policy; a company-wide credit card program and online expense reporting software that aligns with company policy; and credit cards with preferred vendors and suppliers.
Each element can provide savings on its own and help to detect and prevent fraud and inefficiencies. But implementing all three elements yields the greatest return, according to Spend Matters. The ability to track T&E spending in a highly visible environment provides several opportunities for financial and operational improvements. Here are five examples.
- Uncovering opportunities for strategic sourcing. Companies can realize an opportunity for developing a preferred relationship with one or more key suppliers by evaluating total spend by expense category (for example, hotels and car rentals). Knowing the volume and the ability to commit some of that volume also can drive significant savings, often exceeding 20 percent of the total amount spent.
- Providing insight into accruals. This assists with period-end close, reporting on accruals, and pulling together in-process credit card and out-of-pocket spending that has not yet been exported from the expense management tool to your financial system.
- Supporting compliance by tracking sales expenses. By aggregating all expenses associated with sales and business development activities, companies will better understand the costs of individual sales activities and customer types. With certain types of customers, like health care practitioners, tracking these expenses can be critical in managing compliance with such government and legal requirements as the Sunshine Act.
- Spotting and fixing bottlenecks. Using key performance indicators (KPIs) like Open Approvals Aging can reduce delays and improve processes, including reimbursement cycle times.
- Identifying policy violation risks. Through compliance reporting, companies can spot individuals and groups with higher risk for policy violations and identify policies that require further education and training.
These five benefits are just some of the advantages of a comprehensive travel expense management system. Have any of these travel expense managementtips helped your company save money? Share your comments below!
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