Article by: Bertrand Blais, Product VP, KDS
If you’re a Finance professional and you’re looking to work smarter, a new study1 suggests there’s one simple way to make progress fast: focus on your Travel and Expense (T&E) process.
The report makes for interesting reading.
Did you know that T&E is the second biggest operational cost for a lot of global organisations? Or that business travel spend is expected to reach 1.7 trillion USD by 20222?
This is why a lot of companies are being prompted to revisit their T&E process.
They’re giving Finance teams the job to do (65% of T&E budgets are managed by Finance teams), asking them to manage T&E as a strategic edge rather than a tactical cost reconciliation task.
Like a lot of things on the operational “to do” list, digital technologies are the tools of choice for making this an efficient and effective way forward. Dual systems dominated the first wave of change. That meant separate set ups for travel booking and expense management. What we’re seeing now is that integrating BOTH functions on ONE platform can deliver truly disruptive results.
In fact, companies are now more likely to use systems for both of these management tasks than they were five years ago (a 29 point increase). And for integrated systems that unify them into a single platform, the point spread is even sharper (37 point increase).
And there are good reasons why the functionality offered by a unified system makes more sense:
- BETTER VISIBILITY: The study showed that improved visibility over expected vs. actual spend and better financial planning and budgeting were the top 2 value-adds of an integrated T&E solution. When a Finance team can see the whole of the T&E story on a single screen, using it strategically becomes so much easier. An integrated system can combine estimated costs for non-bookable items such as meals and some ground transport with the costs that are booked in the travel booking. Decision makers can see what a trip will cost and then use that same amount to compare it to the actual spend once the expenses are processed. That’s what next generation, fully-integrated T&E solutions can offer. Unprecedented financial transparency, measurable corporate control and savings.
- FRICTION-FREE COMPLIANCE: automated, policy-driven compliance is a major step forward for Finance teams – and for employees too. It cuts out some of the big risks – such as fines and reputational damage – that can result from failing to keep track of receipts and comply with a growing body of laws and regulations. By setting up business rules across both travel and expense platforms, travellers can be confident that the technology is keeping them within policy and sticking to regulations at the time of booking and at the time of filling in their expense report.
- MAKING IT EASIER TO NAVIGATE FRAGMENTED TAX REGULATIONS FOR RECOUPING VAT – Managing travel and expense in one system makes it easy to calculate VAT amounts, simplifying the process for both travellers and accountants and safeguarding against fraud and errors. With a steady feed of updated tax regulations, an integrated system that recognises where expenses occurred can automatically calculate VAT to support the reclaim process across multiple countries and their individual tax complexities.
- A BETTER USER EXPERIENCE. Nobody wants to go through a cumbersome, spreadsheet-based process for submitting their expenses. Or be unsure if what they are spending is within policy and will get reimbursed. Especially in an era when digital technology is generally making transactions friction-free in so many other areas of life. An integrated T&E platform with automated report creation and cross-device functionality makes travel planning and expense management quick and simple on desktop or mobile. It positions a company as progressive and considerate – keeping end users happy and motivated.
This mix of total visibility, easy compliance and a great user experience is the vision for KDS Neo Travel and Expense. Designed and built by a single development team, KDS Neo is an award-winning solution that delivers an excellent user experience, and by that I mean all users, not just travellers. Innovating for the finance/accounting team is high on our list of priorities too.
But the case for the KDS Neo integrated approach is also backed up by the picture that emerges from the study that I mentioned at the start.
The great majority of respondents (87%) consider that their current T&E solution brings tangible values to their financial and accounting systems. But they’re also aware that they could gain even more benefits from technology in the future. Where I believe the functionality of KDS Neo fits in so well is that it answers the wish list for companies that are looking to improve expense and process flow.
For more of these insights, ask for your copy of the study now and get a fuller picture of the one platform that can deliver full T&E visibility, easier compliance, more cost savings and a better user experience.
1Strategic Spend: A New View of T&E for Finance Teams
2GBTA BTI™ Outlook – Annual Global Report & Forecast