Travel & Expense Management Challenges & their Remedies – Part One

Travel and expense management in any organization has its own set of challenges. Some of these arise due to the nature of the process, some man-made, some trivial, and some serious. Whatever the cause, these challenges can have an adverse effect on the organization’s bottom line. In this post, we’ll take a look at some travel and expense management challenges and their remedies.

Lack of visibility: This is one of the biggest challenges facing travel and expense management as it is the cause for disruption of several other activities. Visibility into business processes and functions allows organizations to have more control over the process or function, optimize spend, and reduce the scope for any risks or obstacles.

One reason why the T&E management process suffers poor visibility is the use of disparate systems to manage it. While the employee who has to travel raises his travel request using one system, the third party travel desk uses another. The expense report has to be submitted using a different tool and the accounting professional uses yet another. Because of these disparate systems, there is no sharing of information between them and data silos are created.

Policy enforcement: This is another big challenge for any travel & expense management professional. Every organization has its own travel and expense policy that details the reimbursable and non-reimbursable expenses along with other important details like the approval flow that needs to be followed and the format of the expense report.

In many organizations, the enforcement of policy is not so easy. Employees go out of policy for a variety of reasons. Maybe they did not get a ticket in their budget or they just wanted that additional luxury and thought they could sneak it in. With accounting professionals not having enough time to go through all the reports and receipts, there is always the chance that such out of policy claims are reimbursed.

We’ll see more in the next post.