Electronic invoicing and mobile payment options are among the hottest trends in business today. Although many travel managers are familiar with these payment technologies, they don't see implementing them as a priority. Their concern lies instead with optimizing their company’s expense management solutions, according to a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA). Results of this survey also showed that expense managers were much more interested in recording or imaging expense receipts and collecting travel data in one single database than adding mobile payment options to their travel management mix.
The survey also found almost all travel managers indicated that their company uses a corporate card and that close to 70% of corporate travelers put their entire travel spend on these cards. Corporate cards are not without their problems and hassles, however. Managers cited spotty merchant acceptance and a lack of global charging options as key corporate card issues.
Although use of corporate cards might lend itself to mobile payment options, survey results indicated travel managers were interested in more seamless expense management processes. Managers identified real-time travel updates and more efficient expense management systems as good options for better overall organizational and departmental expense management.
WHAT BUSINESS TRAVELERS AND EXPENSE MANAGERS PREFER
Both corporate travelers and expense managers are looking for a well-rounded expense report software for their travel requirements that integrates easily with their company’s other systems. In fact, a recent Forrester report indicated that T&E costs are some of the hardest costs to control. A tightly integrated expense management system would provide better insights and transparency into these costs.
The Forrester report also found that 8 out of 10 financial managers surveyed said they are not using an automated tool for their T&E processes but instead have employees manually enter their expenses. Manual entry can be a time consuming and error prone process. Errors and inaccuracies caused by manual entry can lead to a host of issues including a general inability to understand travel spending and missed opportunities to negotiate discounts with vendors or consolidate suppliers.
Given that expense managers understand the importance of expense report data integrations and expense process automation, they should be open to adopting technologies, like mobile payments, that help enhance the overall seamlessness of their company’s expense management software.
Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.