While nearly all finance executives say travel and expense (T&E) claims are essential to their business, a whopping 85 per cent admit their organisation could be doing more to optimise these processes, according to research by T&E management provider KDS.

The study – titled “Strategic Spending: A new T&E approach for finance” – consists of survey results from 616 executives from across Europe who manage T&E budgets. It was launched to find out if organisations’ current processes are fit for purpose.

The majority (82 per cent) of respondents said that by implementing automated T&E reporting processes, they have been better able to comply with local and international requirements, such as duty of care, data protection and tax rules. Although 60 per cent of companies are confident of the security of their travellers’ data, 40 per cent do not have such faith in their solutions.

Furthermore, the survey found that businesses need to account for a variety of expenses – while 44 per cent of employees travel and are likely to submit claims, 26 per cent do not travel but will still have expenses to file. With 70 per cent of staff submitting expenses, KDS says implementing automated processes can have an impact beyond the travel function.

According to KDS, the adoption of integrated platforms for managing both travel and expense has increased from 42 per cent to 70 per cent in the past five years. In addition, more than half (57 per cent) of respondents said such a solution would help them plan and budget more effectively.

The survey revealed that an integrated T&E platform would offer increased visibility on expenses, compliance with tax and financial regulations and reduced processing costs. It also found that large companies are more likely to adopt these solutions over SMEs.

Cost control proved to be a major issue for respondents, 48 per cent of which admitted that they manage less than half of their T&E budget adequately. Responsibility for this spend fell mainly with finance teams, with 65 per cent saying this department is in charge of the budget. Nineteen per cent said the liability is left to their purchasing and procurement managers, while only 10 per cent said travel managers are accountable.

When asked where their priorities lie, controlling expenses ranked top for finance departments, followed by fraud prevention, reconciliation and reimbursements, as well as reducing costs and traveller satisfaction.


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