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Cloud-based expense management is the way to go

Madanjit Singh, Regional Director, SE Asia at Concur Technologies | Dec. 21, 2016
Financial leadership in corporates needs to look at smarter solutions

This vendor-written piece has been edited by Executive Networks Media to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favour the submitter's approach.

Digital technology has enabled consumers to make purchases and engage with businesses in new ways. With new options so prevalent in their daily lives, many consumers now expect the same level of capabilities and convenience from the Travel & Expense (T&E) solutions and policies at their workplaces.

Employees' expectations about processes and systems for spending are constantly changing. Spurred by the advancements in digital technology, changes in employees' spending preferences have put greater scrutiny on existing T&E processes and inefficiencies, including the large time requirements to submit needed documentation and approvals, the high number of inaccuracies due to manual data entry, the lack of mobile connectivity with T&E solutions, and the overall lack of visibility into travel spending.

The advancement of mobile and digital technology has put more purchasing power directly into the hands of employees. For financial leaders, this disruption makes the job of managing employee-generated spend, particularly travel-related expenses, significantly more challenging. The challenge seems to be more pronounced in the APAC region compared to the overall global statistics.

Today, these challenges have created a dilemma for modern financial leaders who find themselves much more strategically involved with other parts of the business and with less time to focus just on managing employee expenses.

Need driven

Today's financial leaders need to embrace T&E solutions strategically to help drive growth and innovation in the business while also managing the typical finance responsibilities related to cost management, controls and compliance.

Keeping track of employee-generated expenses is a big task for any financial leader, yet as these leaders become more embedded strategically in other aspects of their businesses, their availability to devote time directly to expense management has been reduced. This has spurred the desire to find more efficient tools to simplify the T&E process.

A key objective is better enabling employees to make smarter spending decisions and to operate in compliance with T&E policies. According to a recent survey by Forrester that was commissioned by Concur, 73% of companies are actively updating or planning to update their T&E system within the next six months. The survey also came up with some interesting findings in relation to the acceptability of new T&E tools.

Building consensus

Finance leaders today agree that empowering employees to make smarter decisions and comply with company policies is key to effective travel and expense management. Hence, companies need solutions that are user friendly and easy to implement and integrate with the existing systems.

Capabilities such as integrated travel booking and expense systems and receipt capture which auto-create expense reports are critical in helping to unify the employees' experience and drive spending compliance.

 

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