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Travel and expense management processes: from manual to automated

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When corporate travel plays an important role in your company's success, you want to be able to accurately measure the result of each of your employees' business trips. Travel and expense management is always challenging, but with the help of the right software solution you will generate the results you expected by automating manual processes that otherwise cost you money and time.

There are several signs that prove that the way you are currently managing travel expenses is keeping you from achieving your goals, such as the ones you set in order to improve cost control, policy compliance or employee performance. Some of the signs are:

There is too much paperwork - business travelling means gathering a lot of paper receipts. As their number increases, without an automated solution you will start to see your employees saddled with loose paper. This causes frustration, repetitive work, human errors and is a waste of energy and time spend doing something that can easily be automated.

Employees spend to much time on manual tasks - instead on focusing on a task that requires your employees' soft and hard skills, they are stuck staring at spreadsheets, calculating VAT, looking for errors and so on.

You cannot reimburse employees on time - when your team must manually check the compliance of expense claims, it can lead to serious delays in reimbursement which generates employee frustration and dissatisfaction.

You cannot identify the reasons why travel expenses are increasing - besides the external factors of increasing travel expenses, there are habits or processes in your company that generate unjustified costs, sources that cannot be identified without an automated solution.

The reports are inaccurate insufficient or wrong data keeps you from identifying the right solutions for your company's financial health.

If travel & expense management improvement is one of your top priorities and you are still managing processes manually, you need to start looking for an automated solution that is suited to your needs. It might not be an easy process, but if you focus on the following elements, it will be easier for you to choose a winner:

1. Identifying the company's needs

Along with the managers and stakeholders from other departments, first identify the challenges and problems you are facing to know which are the most important needs when it comes to automating travel and expense management.

2. Choosing the right features

For each one of your expense management needs, there is a dedicated feature. You must prioritize the features you will need based on the problem they solve, how much you save by using that feature and keeping in mind integration with other systems in your company, user experience, mobility, etc.

3. Time, budget and technological constraints

These are the three parameters you should keep in mind when defining the features and characteristics of a travel and expense management solution which are most important to you. Think on long- and short-term cost related benefits, focus on the support required from an IT team and take the time to analyze the alternatives.

4. Making decisions together

The solution that you choose will have an impact on all the departments in your company, meaning you should involve the stakeholders and create a team with members that will provide different perspectives on the alternatives.

5. Comparing alternatives

You might want to request some demos from the selected vendors before you make your final decision. One way to ensure your decision is well documented is to document your specifications (such as for an RFP) to remain focused on the important criteria and provide your potential vendors with clear demands to follow.

Why sabotage your company's success by manually managing expenses when there are so many features and updated expense management solutions that can help you achieve your goals? Solutions such as:

  • Automating time- and money-consuming processes;
  • Taking control over travel expenses;
  • Improving compliance with corporate travel policies;
  • Improving the travel experience for employees;
  • Generating accurate reports to make informed decisions.

So, what are you waiting for? It may not be an easy process, but choosing the right travel and expense management software plays an important role in the way you will be able to achieve your expense related goals. We recommend you download our free guide to help you write an effective RFP!

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