The digital transformation of travel and expense management (T&E) needs to be accelerated, according to corporate travel and expense managers surveyed for a report.
The study from Amadeus Cytric Solutions, conducted by Forrester Consulting, reveals an acceptance from business leaders that processes must be designed for today’s hybrid workforce.
Rudy Daniello, executive vice president, Amadeus Cytric Solutions, says that the pressure for change is coming from a number of directions.
“Employees have seen many areas of their professional and personal lives quickly digitalize during the pandemic and they now expect travel and expense to follow. Legacy procedures – including paper receipts, labor intensive reconciliation and inefficient payment methods – are no longer considered fit-for-purpose and will increasingly have to be replaced,” he says.
Daniello adds that employers acknowledge the gains to be had in efficiency and productivity from digital solutions.
There is progress being made, with 80% of survey respondents stating travel and expense management is more digitized compared to other processes, as well as compared to the same study in 2020 when 67% of respondents said it was more digitized.
However, T&E continues to have a number of challenges with manual and fragmented processes still prevalent as well as issues with compliance and security.
More than a third of respondents, 34%, highlighted managing compliance for travel - like visas and work permits - as a main challenge while 31% said privacy and security concerns. Thirty percent feel manual processes impair productivity.
The research goes on to reveal that integrating T&A systems with other enterprise systems is a priority for 72%.
Most respondents, 70%, also want to improve the end-to-end T&E experience and improve how teams collaborate when they plan travel.
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The report also says that T&E solutions can boost travel policy compliance and help with reporting.
It also highlights the potential risks of not implementing solutions, with 41% of finance and travel management decision makers saying they audit all expense claims.
The growing use of virtual payments and cards is also raised in the study, especially as it relates to complaints from employees around having to have pay for travel out of their own pocket.
Daniello says it will be hard for the corporate travel industry not to embrace change in T&E.
“Employees increasingly demand end-to-end, collaborative experiences, those which are only available with a digital overhaul of travel and expense systems. Those companies which do not offer them will suffer.”
The study, which is based on a survey of 525 decision makers involved in travel and expense management for large corporations, across nine markets, can be downloaded here.