May 15, 2023
5 min read

Travel expense management: Modern solutions for the future of business travel

Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrowTrish Toovey
CFO waiting at the airport for his next business trip
Quick summary

Corporate travel can sometimes be a hassle, and travel expenses can be even more challenging. With the rise of mobile technology and the increasing need for real-time data, conventional travel expense management (think collecting receipts and filling in spreadsheets) is quickly becoming overshadowed by modern, innovative solutions that help both the business and the business travellers keep moving.

Table of Contents

    Why is travel expense management important?

    Business travel expenses are a critical aspect of any company's finances . If your business doesn't have a system to manage travel expenses, you're likely wasting money and time. Travel costs can be unpredictable, especially if you're on the road for business or your employees travel frequently and stay in different locations. You've got to use a system that gives you the data you need to make better decisions around controlling travel costs.

    Here are the top reasons why having an efficient travel expense management system is important:

    • Accurate travel expense management helps cut costs
    • Policy compliance will improve if you adopt a user-friendly solution that makes expensing easy for both travellers and the business
    • Travellers can manage their own expenses with ease and easily track spending and reimbursements online
    • Businesses can get visibility into business travel spending at any time with real-time reports and alerts
    • Innovative technology lets companies automatically corporate cards and expense management software to cover all travel expenses
    • Business can export expenses into other systems, such as accounting software

    Support better business travel with first-class expense management

    Implementing a streamlined process for processing travel expenses

    With the right all-in-one solution(s), you can simplify your travel expense management processes, making submissions and control more efficient for every trip. You can also see exactly where your money goes each trip and introduce new policies and limits to support cost savings if required.

    Use corporate company cards
    With corporate company cards, you can control how much business travelers can spend and when. Corporate credit cards can also help businesses manage cash flow when trip cadence and costs are particularly; unpredictable, plus they avoid lengthy reimbursements at the end of every trip.

    Use a corporate expense management app
    Travellers carry smartphones with them wherever they go. It also makes sense for them to use those devices to capture business expenses. Some apps even allow users to take pictures of receipts and submit them electronically, which can streamline the process significantly compared to traditional expense submission (multiple paper receipts, excel files, etc.).

    Streamline approval processes
    Create a standardised approval process for all employees. If multiple people approve expenses, consider automating the approval process by sending a notification to the approvers when an employee submits an expense report.

    Why managing business travel expenses can become overwhelming

    The problem is that most finance managers still use siloed systems to manage employee expenses rather than a cross-functional corporate expense management solution that can automate everything from expense reporting to reimbursement approvals. As a result, many companies face increased overheads due to lost time and resources. As well as frustrated employees who dislike going through redundant processes or filling out paperwork after long days on the road.

    A recent survey highlighted the need for innovation in travel management processes, as both business travellers and travel expense admins expressed dissatisfaction with current methods.

    60% of business travellers cited completing and turning in expenses as their least favourite part of business travel.

    The survey revealed that managing expenses is a significant source of stress for business travellers for multiple reasons:

    • The majority agreed that streamlining the travel expense process would make travel less burdensome
    • Most business travellers and admins also responded negatively when describing their employer’s current expense management process
    • Gathering and keeping track of receipts was cited as the most common pain point for business travellers
    • At last, travel expense admins struggled with employees missing submission deadlines and ensuring compliance with company travel policy

    These insights highlight the importance of developing new, more efficient solutions for managing travel expenses to improve the overall experience for businesses and their employees.

    Automated software solutions reinventing business travel expense management

    Now that business travel is back and running in full swing; companies are looking at getting more in-person time with customers, leads, vendors, and more. This means that companies will need to invest in new technologies to keep up with the demands of travel and expenses — or risk being left behind by competitors.

    With the right travel expense management systems, organisations can manage their travel spend and optimise their corporate travel programs. This includes tools and solutions for booking flights and hotels, managing itineraries, tracking expenses, and more.

    These solutions have been around for years and have helped many companies significantly reduce their travel expenses. However, they still require users to manually enter information into a system that is time-consuming and susceptible to errors. And many of these options fall short in one way or another; either they lack flexibility or functionality or don't integrate well with other systems in an organisation.

    The solution is to use an all-in-one spend management solution with a business travel integration that handles every aspect of your company’s travel expenses in one place — from booking flights to capturing receipts, and creating expense reports. This means no more hunting down receipts or manually entering them into a spreadsheet; everything is done automatically through the system.

    Some of the benefits of using real-time travel expense management software include:

    • Accurate accounting and reporting system
    • Easy auditing capabilities
    • Automated report generation

    Changing the future of business travel for the better

    The future of travel expense management lies in enterprise-level automation. It's about providing real-time information and making the entire process as simple as possible for both the business and the end user.

    At Payhawk, our intelligent data capture makes getting receipt information a breeze, and our travel and expense features, including mileage and per diems, mean that companies can stay in control of spending no matter where their employees go.

    Plus, with our TravelPerk integration, business travellers can stay in control of their own bookings. While the business stays in control of safety, policies, and costs.

    From mobile apps that allow employees to track mileage and submit expense reimbursement requests from their phones to software programs designed to reduce travel costs by analysing past data, modern technology allows businesses to be more efficient and cost-conscious than ever before.

    Carlos M., a CFO on G2, says, "What do you like best about Payhawk? Easy set-up, easy UI, intuitive, great integrations (to Xero and Travelperk, which we use too). It has removed a lot of workload from our Finance team."

    Streamline your corporate travel expenses with our reliable, all-in-one solution. Book a demo today.

    Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrow
    Trish Toovey
    Senior Content Manager

    Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.

    See all articles by Trish →
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