Businesses that fail to automate the travel and expense management process are potentially missing out on significant business benefits including reduced costs and an improved bottom line.
Travel has always been an integral way of doing business, particularly in a country like Australia where the distances between towns and cities can be enormous. Yet the burden of travel on employees can be huge, not least because of the tiresome process of creating and submitting expense reports.
As recently as a decade ago, business travel carried the additional challenge of making employees less contactable. This meant they came back to the office with massive amounts of paperwork to complete and file.
As businesses began to embrace mobile technology such as laptops and then smartphones, the administrative requirements for travelling employees decreased somewhat, since they were able to stay more connected and therefore more productive on the road. Yet when it comes to expense management, many companies still use manual processes that include envelopes full of paper-based receipts and a spreadsheet.
As smartphones get smarter, employees are becoming more used to managing almost every aspect of their lives using their mobile device. The same should be true of their business travel.
Employees should be able to access and manage travel itineraries, capture receipts, and submit expenses using their mobile device. This approach saves significant amounts of time and increases efficiency. It makes it easier for managers to approve expense claims and it also brings to light any discrepancies or unauthorised expenditure much faster than a manual system could ever do.
To take advantage of this capability, organisations must simply ensure their travelling employees have the most up-to-date mobile technology, either company-owned or through a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy.
By continuing to improve and enable employee productivity on the road, organisations can achieve significant benefits in terms of improved efficiency, reduced costs, better-managed expenses and more focused employees. This delivers a flow-own effect, improving the bottom line.