Our research reveals that two of the biggest challenges SMBs say they face are improving employee productivity and improving cash flow and visibility. There are two good reasons to tackle these issues when it comes to travel and expense:
- Travelling for business can generate an extraordinary amount of time-consuming paperwork for the employee and the finance team to tackle, hampering productivity
- Taken together, travel and expense is the second largest controllable area of business spend, so there are big savings to be made.
The good news is that automation can help you cover off both issues. The bad news is that over 70% of small businesses say lack of IT expertise means they put off implementing IT solutions. If you’re one of them, read on to find out why that may not be a concern after all.
Improving employee productivity while they’re on the move
Traditionally, there are three stages to business travel. The first is the booking process. The second is the trip itself and the third is the expense claim afterwards. Each stage takes time and generates paperwork. The power of the smartphone that everyone carries these days plus tools such as Concur TripLink and Concur Expense can put an end to much of the paperwork, save time and improve productivity for employees and the finance team.
Freeing up cash flow and improving visibility
Think back to the three traditional stages of business travel. Not only do they create an unbelievable amount of paperwork, they also mean the finance team doesn’t have the information it needs until after the fact. To put it another way, when you’re dealing with an overhead as big as travel and expense, you’re creating a real barrier to being able to free up cash and improve visibility.
When you know where cash is going ahead of time and you can see what’s coming up, you can do three things:
- Reduce the amount of time the finance team spends inputting data, making them more productive
- Track and analyse expense trends and pinpoint opportunities for cost reduction to free up cash
- See what costs are coming up so you can forecast with greater accuracy and offer more insight to the business
Embracing automation and tackling your fears head on
As I mentioned earlier, lack of IT expertise in-house is the single biggest factor holding businesses back from implementing it.
There’s also concern about whether a business is simply too small to benefit from technology. But you’re never too small for automation – and don’t just take my word for it. One customer of ours is DRC Capital, a business of 16 people. Office Manager Maria Santos Roman reported that in her first conversation with us: “I was quickly reassured that we would not be the smallest company Concur worked with.”
What’s more, the best technology companies will understand that SMBs may not have IT expertise in-house and respond accordingly.
And the rewards for implementation of automation around travel and expense are tangible. For example:
- 65% report faster processing and reimbursement times
- 62% report time savings
- 62% report greater employee satisfaction
- 39% report cost savings through improved expense tracking
- 28% report better visibility and analytics capabilities
Is it time you gave automating travel and expense greater consideration?
If automating travel and expense is something you’d like to explore further, talk to us on 01628 645 100 or visit concur.co.uk.