The future of business travel – technology pushes change forward

Business leader and employees
Dafydd Llewellyn , MD Concur By Dafydd Llewellyn, Managing Director, Concur

17 May 2018

Today’s finance leader needs to be an entrepreneur. They’ve got to be just as tech-savvy as the CIO and with a finger on the pulse of the latest developments that can deliver cost and efficiency benefits for the business.

Emerging technologies, an increasingly empowered workforce and new models of business travel have transformed the playing field for the finance team – even compared to just ten years ago. During this time, the finance leader’s roles and responsibilities have also grown. And that doesn’t mean they can compromise control and visibility.

A world of new digital options

According to the latest research from SAP Concur , businesses could drive greater compliance by adopting techniques that engage rather than alienate their employees.

It should come as no surprise to the finance team that their workforce is increasingly tech-savvy and mobile-reliant. According to Egencia, 75% of business travellers use their smartphones both for personal and professional reasons during their trips.

At the same time, the rise of cloud technology, the sharing economy and a plethora of travel applications mean that business travellers now have more options at their fingertips than ever before.

To rise to the challenge, businesses need to give employees the right tools to succeed in an increasingly mobile and cloud-enabled world.

Innovation is challenging traditional roles

Finance leaders are expected to oversee traditional finance functions, like employee expenses, as well as offer broader insights into company spend and forecasts that guide strategic business decisions.

But as more travel bookings and associated expenses are taking place outside of official channels, how can finance stay in control of the budget while gaining full visibility into spend before it occurs?

When employees go around corporate booking tools and travel management companies (TMCs) to find cheaper fares online and direct with suppliers, how can finance do what’s right for both employees and the business?

The top four challenges – and solutions – for finance teams

1. The problem of invisible spending

If finance cannot capture travel booking they won’t be able to predict company cash flow on a month-to-month basis and accrue accordingly.

Enter a new world of digital solutions  and powerful platforms such as SAP Concur which make company spends simple and transparent. Full visibility combined with smart technology means happy finance teams and employees alike.

2. How to capture every business trip

A recent study  found that 68% of finance leaders aren’t confident their employees comply with travel and expense policies.

That’s where integrating your company travel and expense policy with a smart system is a clever solution. For employees the booking process is simplified, and finance leaders can be confident that travel and expense policies are being enforced.

3. Employee frustration

Business travel is essentially stressful and at SAP Concur we believe in providing practical solutions to make it run more smoothly.

Companies are increasingly looking for the tools and technology to streamline processes for their employees and providing smart digital products to book business travel, manage their trips, capture their expenses and process their travel claims will make business travel much easier.

4. New technology makes it harder to control spending

The rise of cloud technology, the sharing economy and a range of new travel options mean that business travellers now have more choice at their fingertips than ever before. A recent GBTA study found that 64% of UK business travellers book directly with travel supplier or independently to find more convenient options, preferred suppliers and cheaper prices.

New models of travel like Uber taxis and Airbnb are changing the travel landscape and putting more choice in the hands of business travellers – which makes controlling company spending more challenging for finance teams.

If travellers are choosing user-friendly sites like to get flexibility and choice, then they want the same level of digital easiness from their office tech. And that’s why bringing in an integrated option that keeps up with today’s traveller will give an effortless solution for both business travellers and finance teams.

SAP Concur – solutions for finance leaders

Download our report and find out how you can control your travel and expense costs

Download your SAP Concur solutions report

About SAP Concur 

User-friendly and business-ready, SAP Concur solutions unlock powerful insights that help businesses reduce complexity and see spending clearly, so they can manage it proactively. Just think about all the details of your travel and expense spend, your supplier invoices – your cashflow, compliance and a little thing called the budget. SAP Concur brings your spend together so you can find the story in your data and take your business to the next level.

This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners.
The views expressed are those of the commercial partner and not necessarily those of ICAS.


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