While traveling is critical for many industries, it comes with costs to manage. To help with that process, most businesses have a travel and expense management system through which employees book and manage travel and then submit expense reports for reimbursement. Record-keeping helps companies track how much the business spends on travel and expense, as well as document everything for tax purposes.
Business travel and expense management software helps simplify and streamline processes, increase productivity, and save companies unnecessary costs.
Because the benefits of this type of software are so significant, more businesses are moving away from more manual processes. It’s an essential development, given the size of the global travel and expense management market (which experts valued at $2.84 billion in 2022).
Where to begin when choosing the best software for your business? It can be challenging, but the research is worth the time and effort. Read on to better understand the travel and expense management landscape and how to choose software that can streamline your operations, provide enhanced visibility, and save your business money.
Travel and expense management software monitors and controls travel budgets and other variables. The primary goal is to have visibility over costs and take a preemptive approach to minimize them. (It’s a process that begins by creating specific policies so employees understand what they can and can't spend on the road.)
Travel and expense management software can digitalize and streamline the entire T&E workflow. The best software providers offer an all-in-one solution that manages booking, expense reporting, travel management, and analytics from one centralized location. This specialized software can help prevent unnecessary financial expenditure, minimize labor-intensive reimbursement processes, and increase employee satisfaction.
Travel and expense management software is efficient and effective — a marked shift from traditional spreadsheet-based expense management. It can improve travel managers' performance and give employees more autonomy. Some of the many advantages of this software are:
Deciding whether to invest in travel and expense management software requires the careful consideration of several factors. But the time and effort are worth it, partly because paper or spreadsheet-based management is prone to human error and expense fraud.
If your business encounters any of the following challenges in managing travel expenses, it may be time to look at an all-inclusive solution.
There are several travel and expense management software options, and choosing the correct one for your business can be challenging. Take the following steps to select the software that will benefit your company the most.
Employees, travel managers, finance teams, and HR teams require efficient solutions that streamline their workflow. Before you can decide which travel and expense software is right for your company, you must understand your corporate travel necessities. Consider the following:
Consider the areas in your current travel expense management that slow down your processes or provide an incomplete picture. Once you have defined your business needs and what functions you want to improve, you can match these requirements with the most helpful software.
When you understand what processes you want to improve, consider what specific goals you want your travel and expense management software to achieve. Define what challenges you want to address and how you want to handle them. Set tangible and realistic goals and develop a list of features you think will help you achieve them.
Account for your project's financial scope, including your budget and which solutions you can afford. Remember to consider your return on investment. An all-in-one option might be more expensive up front, but it will likely save you a considerable amount of money in the future.
The most crucial features to focus on are the ones that address your fundamental challenges. The software must help you streamline your expense management processes and provide real-time access to your expense data so you can use these insights to manage your business expenses.
Some essential features of travel and expense management software include:
One significant benefit of travel and expense management software is the automation of manual processes, which can be error-prone and labor-intensive. Automated workflow and reporting features provide more accurate visibility into your business expenditure while optimizing your productivity and implementing your unique travel and expense policies.
Automated workflow and reporting should speed up your corporate travel process from start to finish. With these capabilities, you can accomplish the following.
Most businesses have a company expense policy that covers corporate travel. Your policy should clearly outline your internal rules governing travel expenditure. The easier it is for employees to understand and follow your procedures, the more likely it is that the company can stick to its travel budget. Your travel expense management software should integrate with your in-house policy so you can alleviate any potential confusion.
Your chosen software should let you configure and enforce your travel policies. You can customize your policy in line with your business needs, and the software can ensure that employees' expenses stay within your policy parameters. Employees don't have to memorize expense guidelines to stay within policy, and your finance team no longer has to manually investigate violations.
With a clear T&E policy and an automated method of reinforcing it, you can eliminate expense fraud and accidental breaches. You can empower your employees to spend inside the bounds of company policies, reducing stress and increasing employee satisfaction.
As mentioned above, ease of use is one of the most critical considerations when choosing travel management tools. Everyone using the platform should have no problem understanding how the solution works. It should be as easy to use as consumer-friendly apps; after all, the more complex the software, the higher the chances that employees will go rogue.
Ease of use for travel managers and finance teams is also important. Pay close attention to the dashboards your team will use. These should be modern, intuitive, and simple for everyone to navigate.
Implementation time is another important factor. Request a demo and see firsthand whether a software solution will work for you. Ask about typical onboarding times and the support you’ll receive during and after onboarding.
Any T&E software you look at should offer various third-party integrations. The point of automating your travel and expense management is to create seamless processes. Consider what integrations you will need to keep your entire system running smoothly, including the following features:
An accurate overview of your business expenses is critical for your business management processes. Employee reimbursements are a significant priority, as delays in this department can affect employee satisfaction, morale, and retention.
Your chosen T&E software should have robust expense tracking and receipt scanning capabilities to effectively manage expenses and reimbursements. Employees should find it easy to enter their receipts, and the software should send them reminders to ensure quick repayment.
If you're looking for comprehensive software that manages every aspect of your corporate travel and expenses, look no further than Navan. Our business software for people has you covered, with booking, customizable and easy-to-adjust policies, and complete visibility.
With Navan, you can automate your expense management, drive efficiency, and monitor expenditures in real time for the ultimate streamlining experience. Plus, with Navan corporate cards, you can equip employees to pay for anything anywhere they go and enjoy end-to-end automation — from swipe to reconciliation.