- 85% of finance executives believe their travel and expense process could be improved
- Businesses are turning to digital tools to streamline data and comply with GDPR regulations
London UK, April 2, 2019 – While it may be no surprise that nearly all finance executives say travel and expense claims are essential to their business, a large majority (85%) believe that they could be doing a better job of optimizing these processes, according to a study published today by travel and expense management provider KDS.
The study titled “Strategic Spending: A New T&E Approach for Finance” surveyed 616 executives across Europe who manage travel and expense budgets, on whether their current processes for managing travel and expenses (T&E) are fit for purpose.
According to the study, there are five key areas of focus:
Takeaway 1: digital tools enable automated compliance with tax and financial regulation
Finance teams are looking to improve processes whilst protecting their data through digital tools. The majority (82%) of respondents say that by implementing automated T&E reporting processes, they have been able to comply with local and international requirements (duty to protect, data protection, and local tax rules). Although 60% of companies are confident in the security of employee data in their T&E tools, this leaves 40% of companies who are not confident in data security with their T&E solutions, which is a major concern for reporting standards and maintaining GDPR compliance.
Takeaway 2: travel is a high potential cost control function for finance teams
Cost control is a major issue, 48% of respondents admit that they control less than half of their T&E budget adequately. The responsibility falls mainly with finance teams, who control 65% of the T&E budgets among the companies interviewed, followed by purchasing and procurement managers (19%) and travel managers (10%). Nearly 40% say that travel is a major enabler for growth, adding to the strategic nature of controlling a cost that is commonly viewed as the second largest in a company’s operational spend.
Takeaway 3: controlling expenses is a top priority
When asked what the top priority was, controlling expenses ranks top for finance departments, closely followed by fraud prevention, reconciliation and reimbursements, reducing costs, and finally traveller satisfaction.
Takeaway 4: improving the business travel expense process can improve control in other areas
Expenses cover more than traditional business travel, the study found businesses need to account for a variety of other expense categories. While 44% of employees travel and are likely to submit expenses, 26% of employees do not travel and will do the same. With a total of 70% of employees submitting expenses, the benefit of automated processes for managing them will impact beyond the travel function.
Takeaway 5: mixed and integrated technologies add instant value
The adoption of integrated platforms for managing both travel and expense has increased from 42% to 70% in the past five years. In addition, over half (57%) of all companies cited that a fully integrated T&E platform would help them plan and budget more effectively. The study revealed an integrated platform would offer increased visibility on expenses, compliance with tax and financial regulations and reduced processing costs. Large companies are more likely to adopt this business model over SMEs.
Notes to editors
The “Strategic Spending: A New T&E Approach for Finance” study was conducted by B3tsi of 616 managers supervising T&E budgets (65% finance departments, 19% procurement/purchasing, 10% travel and 6% were “other”) from France, Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Finland and Norway.
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.