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6 Strategies for Maximizing Travel Spend Visibility in Corporate Expense Management

Travel Spend Visibility

Corporate travel is no piece of cake! Employees must attend conferences and business fairs, meet potential or existing clients, explore new business opportunities, etc. And for all of this, travel is a crucial aspect. And with the increasing number of employees traveling, organizations often lose track of their corporate travel expenditures. 

Organizations must gain visibility into travel spend, which can severely impact your bottom line. You need to have a clear picture of how your travel budget is utilized so that you can make informed decisions and optimize your company’s travel expenditure. This will enable you to manage and control your corporate travel expenses effectively. 

Let us look into the 6 practical strategies for maximizing your travel spend visibility in corporate expense management:

1. Utilize Advanced Expense Management Systems

The first and foremost effective strategy in maximizing travel spend visibility is to leverage advanced expense management systems. These systems are software applications designed to automate and streamline your expense management process, making it more efficient and reliable. 

Expense management systems can integrate with other applications, such as travel booking platforms, ERP and finance systems, etc., enabling you to easily capture and categorize expenses on a centralized platform. This automated system makes your life easier and faster for employees to get approval and submit their expense receipts. 

Some of the benefits of advanced expense management systems are:

Streamlined Expense Reporting: By leveraging an advanced expense management system, you can automate the expense reporting process. This makes it easy for your employees to file and submit their expenses and allows managers to review and approve them on time. Employees can quickly take a picture of their receipts with their smartphones, and the software will automatically extract the data using OCR technology. 

Automated Expense Tracking: With the help of these systems, you can track expenses in real-time, giving you up-to-date travel spend visibility. So, managers can continuously 

monitor expenses, set spending limits, and take corrective action if necessary. 

Accurate Compliance and Policy Enforcement: With an expense management system, you can enforce travel and expense policy compliance. This ensures that employees follow the company rules and regulations. The system automatically flags non-compliant expenses and immediately alerts the employee and manager, prohibiting out-of-policy expenditures. 

Comprehensive reporting: With advanced expense management systems, you can produce detailed expense reports that give you a 360-degree view of your travel expenses. You can customize these reports employee and department-wise. This way, you can quickly identify the spending trends, outliers, and any opportunities for cost reduction. 

2. Implement Corporate Travel Card Programs

Another essential strategy most organizations need to implement is the corporate card program. This program is an effective way to gain visibility into travel spend while trying to streamline your expense management process. Providing employees with corporate travel cards allows all travel-related expenses to be tracked and recorded electronically.

There are several key steps involved in implementing corporate travel card programs:

Identify Business Needs and Objectives: Before implementing a corporate travel card program, you must identify your organization’s objectives and goals. This includes business travel volume, expenses incurred, out-of-policy claims, cost savings and efficiency objectives, etc. 

Choose the Right Card Provider: While choosing the right card provider, you must evaluate them based on factors such as acceptance network, card features, and accessibility, benefits for customers, essential features, integration capabilities, and adherence to security and compliance standards. All these will help in successful implementation. 

Establish Travel Card Policy: Develop a comprehensive travel card policy that outlines the guidelines and procedures for card usage, expense categories covered, spending limits, and reimbursement processes. By creating a clear and well-communicated policy, you can help employees understand their responsibilities and ensure consistency in card usage across the organization.

Integrating with Expense Management Systems: Your corporate travel card must integrate with your expense management software. This will help you streamline the reconciliation and reporting process. With this kind of integration, you can enable automatic capture and categorization of expenses. 

3. Enforce Clear Travel and Expense Policies

Enforcing clear travel and expense policies is critical to effectively managing and controlling travel spending in an organization. With clear travel and expense policies, you can establish guidelines and expectations from employees about travel expenses, consistency, compliance, and transparency throughout the company. 

Enforcing clear travel and expense policies helps organizations achieve several benefits, such as: 

  • Consistency: Clear policies ensure consistent treatment of travel expenses across the organization, eliminating ambiguity and favoritism.
  • Cost Control: Enforced policies help control travel expenses by setting spending limits, defining acceptable expense categories, and discouraging unnecessary or non-compliant expenditures.
  • Compliance: Policies ensure adherence to legal, regulatory, and corporate governance requirements.
  • Transparency: Employees understand the expectations and guidelines for travel expenses, fostering transparency and accountability.
  • Audit and Reporting: Clear policies facilitate easier auditing and reporting of travel expenses, enabling accurate financial reporting and analysis.

4. Leverage Data Analytics for In-Depth Insights

Unlocking the full potential of travel spend visibility requires more than just tracking expenses. It demands insightful analysis. Therefore, you must employ robust data analytics tools that will enable you to dig deeper into your travel expenditures and identify trends, anomalies, and potential cost-saving opportunities. These tools highlight patterns in employee spending, flag irregularities, and even forecast future travel expenses based on historical data. 

Data analytics can help uncover insights such as preferred travel suppliers, high-spending periods, or frequently incurred expenses. This information allows organizations to negotiate better rates with suppliers, optimize travel policies, and make data-driven decisions to effectively control and manage travel costs.

5. Encourage Proactive Expense Reporting

For efficient travel spend visibility, you should encourage a culture of proactive expense reporting in your organization. With prompt and timely reporting, you can analyze travel spending and identify any discrepancies or potential areas for improvement. Use travel spend visibility strategically while communicating about expense report processes to reinforce the goal of achieving optimal travel spend visibility. 

Consider implementing incentives for employees who consistently adhere to reporting timelines or exhibit prudent spending habits. This ensures compliance and motivates and creates a sense of employee responsibility for maintaining transparent travel spending practices.

6. Negotiate Strategic Supplier Agreements

Establishing strategic partnerships with travel suppliers can significantly impact your overall travel spend. You must negotiate favorable agreements with airlines, hotels, and car rental companies to secure discounts, perks, or exclusive deals. By doing so, you reduce individual trip expenses and gain more control over your organization’s travel budget.

When negotiating these agreements, emphasize gaining access to expenses to convey the importance of gaining visibility into travel spend and ensuring that your negotiated terms align with your broader financial goals. 

Here’s a Solution That Will Help You Maximise Travel Spend Visibility

Companies that wish to gain a competitive edge should pay close attention to how they manage business travel expenses. As we have seen, travel spend analysis allows organizations to identify unnecessary expenses, implement cost-saving measures, and streamline booking and expense management. By leveraging travel spend analytics, companies can significantly cut T&E costs while improving the traveler experience.

While analyzing and managing travel expenses may seem daunting initially, solutions like ITILITE provide an automated platform that simplifies the entire corporate travel management process. ITILITE centralizes travel booking, optimizes spending policies, enforces compliance, and generates actionable insights from data. With streamlined end-to-end business travel management, companies can control costs, enforce policy compliance, and maximize ROI.  

Book a free demo with our experts to learn how!

Discover a simpler way to manage corporate travel

Corporate travel management can be extremely daunting. Getting travelers to stick to budgets while booking travel, monitoring spends or finding support for travelers – there is always something that needs to be done. That’s why we built a solution that makes corporate travel management simpler.

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Simplify your travel and expense management process!

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