Business travellers still shuffle paper when filing expenses

Find and gather receipts. Tape, staple and scan them. Input expenses details. Wait for payment. Let’s face it, filing expenses reports is a mundane and tedious process that most people dread. While technology has improved several administrative tasks, such as enabling us to book hotels and check in for flights via mobile apps, expenses reports have yet to achieve the same ubiquitous digital adoption.

According to the 4th edition, Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey, 41% of global business travellers submit business travel expenses via paper forms. By comparison, 34% file via online expenses sites and 19% use mobile apps. Even more surprising is paper proved to be faster than filing online or via an app, though we suspect this will be a short-lived trend thanks to the latest efforts by industry leaders to disrupt the outdated system.

On average, the global business traveller spends 22 minutes filing expenses for a three-day trip – that’s twice as long as they want to spend. * The fact is, despite the introduction of expenses sites and apps, the user experience has not significantly changed. Most expenses systems are developed with the intent of optimising accounting flows with a secondary focus on solving user needs. While an overhaul won’t happen overnight, the good news is both employers and employees can take actions to improve the user experience and regain valuable time.

For companies, encouraging all travellers to use corporate credit cards will help reduce the time (and headache) of pulling in expenses. Currently, a third (33%) of business travellers use personal cards exclusively. *

Traveller managers looking to simplify the submission process should also consider using an expenses provider that allows travellers to sync their online/mobile solution to corporate or personal credit cards. Consolidating credit card transactions directly into an expenses system with one click creates a more seamless experience for travellers, 36% of whom say that finding and gathering receipts is their least favourite part of submitting expenses. *

This solution is also easier on travel managers when reconciling company travel data. According to the Charlotte Business Journal, an audit of city employees in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA,found that 25% of workers tested had committed errors or violations on their expenses reports. As a result, auditors recommended linking a corporate card to an expenses reporting program among other technology upgrades.

Recognising the need to give time back to travel managers and travellers, Egencia has launched an expenses product suite to revolutionise expenses management. By using one login for the Egencia platform, users have everything they need for streamlined expenses reporting in one place – travel bookings, credit card transactions and expenses management.

Another key component of the Egencia expenses solution is the Egencia Open Connect Platform. The framework expands the market for expenses providers by ensuring data exchanges between partners are successfully completed. Egencia Open Connect Platform is rapidly growing with 29 partners to date, including Coupa, Expensify, Microsoft and Mobile Expense.

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are at the GBTA Convention in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, to perform live demos of our first fully integrated global travel and expenses solution with expense software provider, Chrome River. Come see us at Stand No. 1951 at GBTA from 17-18 July to learn more about the Egencia Integrated and Expenses experience with Chrome River. Can’t make it to Boston? Don’t waste another minute; learn more about our expenses management suite or request a demo.

*4th edition, Egencia Business Travel and Technology survey, July 2017

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