Bento For Business

How Coupa and Concur are Changing Business Travel

There are many reasons why your employees may be dissatisfied with your company – expense mismanagement is one of them.

Managing employee expenses is one of the most challenging aspects of modern business operations. While many companies have clunky and error-prone expense report forms, others have confusing employee travel policies and tardy reimbursement processes.

From the company’s standpoint too, managing expense reports could be a rather tedious job. Missing expense reports could mean financial loss as well as legal implications for the company.

Challenges of Expense Reporting

Even as keeping expense reports in order is an absolute must for companies, there are many challenges that discourage many to keep them organized.

Misplaced receipts, clunky spreadsheets, out-of-policy spending, late expense report submissions, and lack of visibility on employee expenses are some of the reasons that make expense reporting challenging for businesses.

How Technology is Changing Expense Reporting

The advancement in technology has transformed the way businesses used to report expenses, making it easier for them to track expenses, especially travel-related expenditures.

Thanks to real-time business expense management platforms such as Concur, Coupa and Bento, employees can now record and create reports on the fly as they travel.

By offering intuitive mobile apps and desktop platforms, these companies provide their customers with an easy-to-use dashboard, allowing them to report their expense on the go. This helps both employees and their companies save precious time that would otherwise be wasted on tracking, submitting and explaining expenses, manually.

So, how exactly do these apps help employees and companies?

Streamlined Expense Reporting

One of the most challenging aspects of tracking employee traveling expenses is when they book a hotel outside company’s preferred provider list. However, with the expense management software, companies can now easily set caps and restrictions and alert employees when they inadvertently go out of policy. This also means it’s much easier for employees to comply with their company’s travel policies.

Seamless Travel Reimbursement

The use of expense management software is a boon for many companies that had to deal with uncomfortable situations while processing travel reimbursements. With real-time reporting, the companies no longer need to ask their employees the legitimacy of some charges.

In an interview with WSJ, Lisa Brauch, manager of accounting operations at Garmin International, explained how their company had benefited from using expense-management software from Certify. She said she would have had to hire an additional employee in her accounts-payable department to help process travel reimbursement claims if not for the expense management software.

Customized Employee Travel: Aside from real-time reporting and super easy reimbursement processes, these expenses management apps are setting new standards in managing employee travel to help companies save big time. For example, a travel expense management tool from Concur, the travel-booking site, helps organizations customize the software to prompt employees for selecting the lowest fare for a given work trip. The customizability of these apps allow companies to rein in expenses before their employees even being their trip.

Reduced Expense Leaks: Preventing expense leaks has always been one of the top priorities of small businesses. After all, this is one the best ways they can manage their cash flow. However, the conventional approach to letting employees manage their expenses could really make it hard for organizations to track and control the potential (or rather inevitable) expense leaks and expense thefts.

However, nifty expense management solutions such as Bento’s SMART employee expense cards offer companies total control over how much their employees can spend on specific purchases. With Bento’s mobile app, employers can turn on/off cards, warding off potential expenses leaks. Similarly, they can get instant text message alerts as soon as an employee makes a purchase. This allows organizations to spend more time on their core business activities.  

Patti at Witten Pest Control says, “I wasn’t comfortable giving credit cards to employees. Bento saves us time & money as employees don’t need to come in from across town for gas money. I love that I can use the same card for gas and supplies and control everything from my PC or smartphone.”

Patti is not alone – many other business owners have also simplified their expense reporting, thanks to similar expense management systems.

Final Thoughts

With the innovation in wearable technology, voice recognition, and GPS data, the expense management solutions are becoming more productive and popular than ever. As the collective spend of US firms on travel and entertainment is projected to be around $296.1 billion in 2017, businesses aspiring to simplify their employee expenses can really benefit from these expense management platforms.

Are you up for it?