Travel and expense is the third largest area of corporate spend for today’s companies – some may even argue the second. Representing approximately 10% of a business’ annual budget, that’s a lot of cash being shelled out. But – with the right tools and approach – it also means that this can be an area of significant cost savings for companies looking to optimize spending. However, many companies continue to (or try to) enforce manual, outdated processes that are limited in functionality and inefficient – and have employees turning to other channels to book travel.
Recently, we conducted a survey in the US and UK to gain a better understanding of the attitudes, actions and behaviors of individuals booking and managing business travel and reporting expenses. We were interested in finding out just how much time employees are actually spending on these tasks, how accurate – or not – their expense claims are and what their preferences are when it comes to booking travel and completing expense reports. We received more than 1,200 responses and here are a few of our key findings.
- Expense submission remains a largely manual process for many – 41% of respondents are still using time-intensive spreadsheets to submit their expenses. And of those respondents, 55% report that this manual process can take up to two hours to complete. With 80% of respondents confirming they complete expense reports during working hours, the productivity impact is clear.
- Booking travel is also killing employee productivity – Almost half (44%) of respondents reportedly spend up to 60 minutes or more, during working hours, researching and booking upcoming business travel.
- Convenience trumps compliance when it comes to booking travel – 74% said that they would prefer to book all of their travel components via one platform. However, 37% of respondents book their travel directly with consumer-based travel providers despite whether or not it is in compliance with company policy. When asked to explain their preference for direct booking, 49% pointed to the convenience factor while 32% believed it gave them a broader choice of travel options to choose from.
Driving adoption of systems and processes is one of the challenges we hear all too often. Isn’t it about time we started giving our employees business tools that are at least as convenient with the flexibility and options available in the consumer tools they use in their personal lives?
For more information on this research and key insights into why it is critical to review your corporate travel and expense management process, download The State of Corporate Travel and Expense Management 2016.