News Article

Finance talks: “Give us integrated, automated T&E tools to optimise travel spend”

February 14, 2019

ISSY-LES-MOULINEAUX, 14 February 2019:  KDS announces today findings on travel and expense (T&E) from its study, Strategic Spend: A New View of T&E for Finance Teams. Finance teams across Europe see T&E spend as strategic, rather than a necessary cost: 44 percent of mid-to-large size companies believe it enables business growth. Most understand the need to optimise T&E management to achieve strategic and cost benefits, but poor access to data and cost concerns are holding them back. These are some of the key findings of independent research among finance and accounting professionals commissioned by KDS.

The results indicate that companies who take a strong, well defined and controlled approach to travel and expense management consider T&E a strategic lever more than those with looser controls.

Companies understand the advantages of automation, with finance teams seeing better visibility on spend as a top benefit. As a result, 68 percent have implemented technology solutions to support at least one of the travel booking or expense management processes. While these generally garner savings, using automated systems for both increases the rate of cost savings specifically on both direct and indirect costs (63 percent, versus 54 percent who used only one automated process).

Many finance teams are aware of the benefits of bringing together travel and expense systems in one platform: 57 percent of all companies believe fully integrating T&E would help them plan and budget more effectively. This trend is stronger among the mid-to-large sized companies: 62 percent of finance and accounting professionals in this segment say a fully-integrated T&E system would help them drive more strategic business decisions.

Mind the gap

While many finance teams are convinced travel spend is strategic, the research finds the majority of companies are not ready to optimise T&E: 90 percent are not currently using an integrated solution which has travel and expenses on the same platform. Furthermore, 48 percent control less than half of their T&E budget adequately.

There is a high degree of awareness among companies that their current programmes are not fit for purpose: 85 percent believe they need to improve their T&E management in order to achieve the growth gains.

However, finance teams face challenges to improving processes. Top of the list is the accuracy of available T&E data (40 percent) followed by concerns over the cost of integrating different systems for managing travel spend (35 percent) and assessing spend to better allocate resources (33 percent). These challenges are compounded by the fact that all companies surveyed use multiple internal and external systems and sources for T&E management, from different providers.

Roxana Bressy, CEO, KDS comments: “The KDS one-platform approach to travel and expense management helps companies optimise their travel spend and achieve strategic value.  We commissioned this research among finance professionals, because we understand they play a critical role in achieving these benefits for the company. The data confirms these teams understand the value of an integrated approach to overcoming the obstacles they face in optimising T&E. This study provides some strong insights that could help them make the case for continued investment in truly unified T&E systems.”

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About the research

Strategic Spend: A New View of T&E for Finance Teams is a study conducted by B3tsi from November 26, 2018 to January 4, 2019. The findings are based on telephone interviews conducted with 616 managers supervising T&E budgets (65 percent finance department, 19 percent purchasing department (general services department / procurement), 10 percent travel department, 6 percent other). Countries covered: France, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Norway.

About KDS

KDS is a leading business travel technology company at the forefront of industry innovation since 1994. The company designed the ground-breaking KDS Neo because they believe the user experience is key to successful managed travel programmes. KDS Neo addresses the end-to-end business travel process and is used by both multi-national, world-class brands and more local organisations across Europe and the United States. Headquartered in Paris, France, KDS employs more than 200 people worldwide, dedicated to its award-winning solutions. KDS is wholly-owned by American Express Global Business Travel. For more information on KDS, go to www.kds.com or follow @KDS_innovates.