Accelerating the digital transformation of travel and expense (T&E) will be key to improve employee experience and achieving corporate goals next year, according to a new study conducted by Forrester Consulting, commissioned by Amadeus Cytric Solution
The study reveals that global leaders increasingly recognize this and are working towards design processes that support their workforce in a new, hybrid world of work.
The study was based on a survey of 525 decision makers involved in travel and expense management for large corporations. It showed that 80 per cent of survey respondents stating travel and expense management is more digitized compared to other processes, as well as compared to the same study in 2020 when 67 per cent of respondents said it was more digitized. However a number of challenges like manual and fragmented processes, compliance and security still persist.
Rudy Daniello, executive vice president, Amadeus Cytric Solutions, says that the pressure for change is coming from a number of directions.
“Employees have seen many areas of their professional and personal lives quickly digitalize during the pandemic and they now expect travel and expense to follow. Legacy procedures – including paper receipts, labor intensive reconciliation and inefficient payment methods – are no longer considered fit-for-purpose and will increasingly have to be replaced,” he says.
Daniello adds that employers acknowledge the gains to be had in efficiency and productivity from digital solutions.
Over a third of respondents, 34 per cent mentioned managing compliance for travel – like visas and work permits – as a main challenge while 31 per cent said privacy and security concerns. Thirty per cent feel manual processes impair productivity.
The research goes on to reveal that integrating T&A systems with other enterprise systems is a priority for 72 per cent. Most respondents, 70 per cent, also want to improve the end-to-end T&E experience and improve how teams collaborate when they plan travel.
The report also says that T&E solutions can boost travel policy compliance and help with reporting. It also highlights the potential risks of not implementing solutions, with 41 per cent of finance and travel management decision makers saying they audit all expense claims. The growing use of virtual payments and cards is also raised in the study, especially as it relates to complaints from employees around having to have pay for travel out of their own pocket.
Daniello says it will be hard for the corporate travel industry not to embrace change in T&E.
“Employees increasingly demand end-to-end, collaborative experiences, those which are only available with a digital overhaul of travel and expense systems. Those companies which do not offer them will suffer.”