In today’s constantly changing corporate landscape, you may be required to travel by your company, whether locally or abroad. This could be due to a variety of reasons, such as meetings, courtesy calls, business development, or project execution, to name a few. Read more
Project-driven businesses face many unique challenges. From different rates to multiple contractors, from client-specific considerations to simply meeting deadlines, it’s important for these organizations to get all the help they can get.
This is especially true in one area of finance that even product-based businesses have a difficult time–and that is expense reporting.
While many businesses use Microsoft Dynamics SL to bridge the gap between project management and accounting, there are still more lines to connect that any expense reporting software won’t just cut it. Read more
Today’s dynamic corporate environment is becoming more and more global. Organizations all over the world must keep up with the latest technologies and the demands that go with these. Business performance and productivity goes hand in hand with insights and initiatives that help move the business closer to its goals.
And all these become better when they happen in real time.
And this is where Gorilla Expense comes in. Read more
With our increasingly global business landscape, it’s much more common today for employees to travel for work. Whether it’s for attending a meeting, meeting business associates, pitching for an investor in another part of the world, or visiting a remote branch, travel is part of how a business operates and grows. Read more
Over the years, we have observed business and travel trends shift alongside technological advancements. And the past year has shown shifts continue to accelerate as we turn towards an ever-increasing global economy. And every business is not spared, from the biggest multinational corporation down to the smallest individual online shop. Read more
A mid-sized organization has its share of challenges especially in this era of technology and globalization. Particularly in business travel and expense management, finance managers in these organizations can find several pain points that eventually trickle its way to company operations, and finally the bottom line. Therefore, it goes without saying that an effective expense management tool is necessary for any organization if they want to succeed in what they do and find this success reflected in their financials.
Enter Gorilla Expense. Read more
Gorilla Expense makes travel and expense reporting a breeze with an easy, seamless, and scalable solution for businesses of all sizes. It provides smooth and automatic integration with Microsoft Dynamics GP. In fact, with Gorilla Expenses proprietary integration software, it all happens in just one click of a button. Read more
How much is it to travel from your main headquarters to your satellite office in another state? When you go around and ask your colleagues, odds are, they would have different answers.
This simple experiment shows just how easy and common it is for employees to make honest mistakes on their expense reports. The question is, however, are these really mistakes or deliberate misrepresentations? Read more
According to the Aberdeen Group research, surveys based on millions of expense reports submitted by 3,000 companies reveal that U.S. T&E costs are constantly rising. The largest increases were in airfare (up 5.7%), hotels (up 4.5%), and meetings (up 7.7%).
With T&E spend ranging from 7% to 15% percent of the total budget for the average mid-market company ($50 million to $800 million in revenue), the challenge facing CFOs and Controllers in this area is dramatic with millions of dollars at stake! For most companies, travel related expenses remain a significant area of spend – second only to payroll.
Scope of challenge
Fundamentally, most companies struggle to tackle these challenges because of not knowing where to start, when it comes to managing their T&E Expense reporting process, resulting in thousands of dollars of reckless spending and waste. Aberdeen’s report (Expense Management for a New Decade and The Mid-Market Expense Management Program) says that:
* 56% of mid-market companies have limited visibility into T&E spending
* Less than 45% track their expenses via analytics and business intelligence in real time
* Only 33% leverage cloud-based expense reporting solutions and 28% integrate corporate cards
* Just 15% provide T&E data to C-level executives for financial forecasting purposes
Solutions for a new decade
The good news is that cloud-based solutions have significantly brought down the cost of automating T&E expense reporting. These solutions have been shown to deliver huge reductions in expense processing costs. But the big questions is – where do you start?
The Best-In-Class corporations (a term used by the Aberdeen Group to classify the top 20% of companies that manage their expense related processes by creatively blending technology & strategy) combine strategy, core capabilities, technology, a culture that embraces change and a desire to optimize. The objectives of most Best-In-Class programs include cost savings, enhanced productivity, improved efficiencies and better compliance. This is usually achieved by unifying the different processes in the lifecycle.
By advocating a culture that fosters Best-In-Class programs and by investing in a system that ensures achievement of this status, Best-In-Class companies constantly reap gains and realize immediate ROIs.
Here are the 10 Commandments of Expense Reporting that Best-In-Class companies consistently execute on:
1. Centralize the control and operation of T&E expense management programs
2. Automate the process to greatly reduce unproductive manual work and eliminate errors
3. Integrate the front-end expense reporting system to the ERP system to minimize manual data entries and errors (here is a video of automated integration with Dynamics GP)
4. Establish generally accepted corporate-wide policies and processes
5. Educate employees regularly on expense report related policies and processes and appoint a designee for any questions from employees
6. Encourage usage of corporate cards for better accuracy and mobile device applications for convenience to users (read our blog on Credit Card Integration)
7. Leverage and close the loop on expense management data to fine-tune the system and also provide better deals with travel vendors for the company
8. Develop audit mechanisms that capture errant data and provide real-time visibility into spend
9. Invest in the latest technology to maximize efficiency, provide long term ROI and reduce paper usage
10. Provide flexibility and convenience to the end users to improve productivity, reduce inherent delays and to capture expense data immediately after incurred
For some companies, executing on all 10 steps immediately might prove to be a challenge. In those cases, it would be beneficial to select a few and to focus on those, till the desired results are obtained.
Automating T&E processes does more than just reduce costs. It makes it harder for employees to inflate expenses — and far easier for companies to detect fraud. According to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, up to 13% of company fraud arises in this area, so that’s a huge advantage. Expense reporting time is reduced and employees are reimbursed faster which is a major boost to morale. Automation results in an average 28% reduction in expense approval times and 27% reduction in employee expense report creation times according to the latest Aberdeen reports.
To read the complete white paper on ’10 steps towards best-in-class status for expense management’, click HERE
If you have any specific questions that we can help with or need more information, contact us at email@example.com
To calculate savings from automating the T&E Expense Reporting Process, click HERE
As part of a recent research, most managers and travel budget owners for small and medium businesses cited managing costs as the primary goal for 2014. The methods companies use to achieve this goal, vary widely within the SMB segment. The travel spend for companies in this group range from less than $2MM in annual US booked travel to $12MM on the high end.
Most SMBs struggle with the same challenges – lack of internal resources to manage T&E, no dedicated travel manager, missed supplier relationships and a general cookie-cutter travel management program setup by the travel agency, if one exists at all. The best of breed companies may have better control on travel spend with elaborate procurement strategies and internal resources that manage the company’s travel program and spend carefully. These resources typically report to the CFO, thus offering the finance office full visibility into spend.
The reason that travel management as a concept is a challenge for SMBs is because there are many factors that drive a company’s travel strategy: travel patterns, international vs domestic, company culture, senior management’s support, business focus and others. Regardless of the status quo, it is never too late for a company to manage its travel and T&E processes more efficiently.
“I don’t believe there’s a company out there that can’t benefit from some level of a managed program,” said Directravel president Sam DeFranco. “When a company feels like there’s a lack of control of their spending and they only have basic expense processes in place, their antenna should be up.”
Several SMBs were focused on getting the right tools and processes in place in 2014. One was in the midst of “designing and implementing a full-scale travel management program,” while others were planning to implement a robust automated expense-reporting system as soon as possible in 2014.
In the various SMBs, even with senior management support, a planned travel policy, TMC relationship and T&E expense reporting solutions in place, companies reported ongoing challenges with compliance. Several of the companies reported their greatest travel management challenge today was to get travelers to comply.
“At larger companies, you’re dealing with a multitude of people that touch T&E,” said DeFranco. “At one company alone, you could have a travel manager, a director of procurement, a director of purchasing, expense management, HR and a risk manager. Inherently, the SMBs simply do not have the same infrastructure, so to compensate for that, the travel management company account manager essentially becomes an extension of the customer.” One company highlighted the biggest travel management challenge as “achieving objectives with limited resources.” It’s a position in which many managers in the small and midsize segments find themselves.
What are your challenges when it comes to managing travel and travel related expenses? What are your goals for 2014? Let us know in the comments below.
Reference: BTN, "BTN's 2014 Small & Medium Enterprise Report, Apr 15, 2014"
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