Business travelers still shuffle paper when filing expenses

Find and gather receipts. Tape, staple and scan them. Input expense details. Wait for payment. Let’s face it, filing expense 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, expense 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 travelers submit business travel expenses via paper forms. By comparison, 34% file via online expense 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app, though we suspect this will be a short-lived trend thanks to the latest efforts by industry leaders to disrupt the outdated system.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 traveler 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 expense sites and apps, the user experience has not significantly changed. Most expense systems are developed with the intent to optimize 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 travelers to use corporate credit cards will help reduce the time (and headache) of pulling in expenses. Currently, a third (33%) of business travelers use personal cards exclusively. *

Traveler managers looking to simplify the submission process should also consider using an expense provider that allows travelers to sync their online/mobile solution to corporate or personal credit cards. Consolidating credit card transactions directly into an expense system with one-click creates a more seamless experience for travelers, 36% of whom say that finding and gathering receipts is their least favorite 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 Charlotte city employees found that 25% of workers tested had committed errors or violations on their expense reports. As a result, auditors recommended linking a corporate card to an expense reporting program among other technology upgrades.

Recognizing the need to give time back to travel managers and travelers, Egencia launched an expense product suite to revolutionize expense management. By using one log-in for the Egencia platform, users have everything they need for streamlined expense reporting in one place – travel bookings, credit card transactions and expense management.

Another key component of the Egencia expense solution is the Egencia Open Connect Platform. The framework expands the market for expense 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, Mass. with demos of our first fully integrated global travel and expense solution with expense software provider, Chrome River. Come see us at Stand #1951 at GBTA from July 17-18 to learn more about the Egencia Integrated & Expense experience with Chrome River. Can’t make it to Boston? Don’t waste another minute; learn more about our expense management suite or request a demo.

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