Let's start with this. Corporate travel is not like it is portrayed in the movies. Many corporate travelers who regularly travel for work know there is much more to it than just packing their bags and jetting off.
From start to end, the entire corporate travel management process can be a tiring and time-consuming ordeal for everyone involved. How? Let's break it down.
- Pre-trip, the employee has to submit travel details to the travel managers and Finance teams. They then have to plan everything from flight bookings to accommodations to cab rentals using the information provided.
- On-trip, the employee has to track all work-related expenses they make to get reimbursed. This is an added task besides working towards making the business trip successful.
- Post-trip, the traveling employee has to collate all their expenses and submit them to the Finance department for review. The Finance team then has to go through each expense for T&E policy compliance. After this, the employee's expense report is either sent back for clarification or moved into payment processing.
Imagine doing all the above tasks with a manual system! If your business goes about these processes with traditional means, it will result in wasted time and effort and open doors for errors and potential fraud. This could be detrimental to the financial health of your business.
This is where a travel and expense management software comes into play. The software eliminates all the undue stress and headache that comes with your T&E process and automates and streamlines the entire process from pre-trip to post-trip reimbursements while ensuring visibility and transparency throughout.
Are you interested to learn more about how a T&E software can benefit your organization and employees? If yes, this is the ultimate 2022 guide to helping you pick the best travel and expense software that fits your business needs. Let's get started!
What is a travel and expense management software?
A travel and expense management software is designed to automate, simplify and streamline travel and expense management for businesses of all sizes. In addition, most travel and expense management software are device-agnostic, which means traveling employees can access the software using any device and keep track of their expenses. Thus, it is safe to say the software is built to do the heavy lifting for both your Finance teams and employees, freeing up time for them to go about other important tasks.
The software can also:
- Automate employee expense reporting and tracking
- Reduce the need for paper and digitize all processes
- Manage your corporate credit cards
- Streamline all expense review and approval workflows
- Reduce administrative efforts around policy compliance
- Close reimbursement cycles on time
Using the software, Finance teams can also have complete visibility and control over all business expenses across departments, cost centers, and more. As a result, they can also identify cost-saving opportunities and optimize costs wherever necessary.
Should your business invest in a travel and expense management software?
The travel and expense management process requires numerous stakeholders to work in sync to get the job done. As a result, there are many moving parts when it comes to streamlining the entire process.
Below, we have compiled a list of pain points that businesses with a broken T&E process face. If you relate to any of the challenges below, maybe it's time for your organization to consider switching to a travel and expense software.
1. Your Finance team usually face delays in reimbursing employees
Reimbursement delays can occur due to several reasons. It can be due to:
- Employees delay their expense report submissions: When employees are on a business trip, they can incur business expenses every day of the trip. And given that expense reporting tasks can be tedious and time-consuming, they might decide to submit all their expenses after returning to the office. But even after they return, they have to juggle existing work and find time to submit these bills. This causes delays in the reimbursement cycle right from the start of the process.
- Approvers take too long to take action on the reports: Delays can also occur when managers/approvers forget to review the expense reports or take too long. In this case, the Finance team has to keep reminding the approvers to review the expense reports before the deadline.
- Inefficient approval workflows that fail both the employees and approvers: A broken expense approval workflow confuses all stakeholders. For example, it can lead to employees submitting their expense reports to the wrong person. This causes unnecessary back and forths between employees, approvers, and the Finance team. Plus, even when employees submit their expense reports, they have no visibility around the reimbursement status. This not only causes frustration but also affects employee morale and productivity.
- Lack of proper documentation: With manual processes, tight deadlines, multiple back and forths, and overall stress and confusion around expense management, employees and Finance teams may lose track of what is essential. This may lead to inaccurate and incomplete records, missing receipts and documentation around business expenses, manual data entries, and more. This can further lead to financial leaks and problems with the IRS if not addressed immediately.
2. Several factors obstruct your T&E processes
An over-reliance on people to be actively engaged with their expense reporting and management duties can cause a choke-hold in the process. When companies use offline tools for things like approvals, the entire process is at a standstill because they need the manager's approval, and he/she might be unavailable to take action immediately.
Let's say a travel manager needs to book a flight for an employee. And his current travel booking method or tool has no connection to the company accounts. He now has to go through multiple tools, software, and possibly agents before he finally completes the task. At the same time, he has to keep going back and forth between the approvers and the travelers so that everything is under the company guidelines.
This decentralization is another cause for creating a bottleneck in travel booking. The dependencies on these outdated approval processes can cause substantial damage to your cash flow and also your employee's morale.
3. Your Finance team still relies on outdated methods
If you're still incorporating spreadsheet and Excel-based reporting in your expense workflows, it can pose a threat to your financial health in the long run. Additionally, relying on outdated methods means:
- The tasks are tedious, prone to errors, and inefficient.
- Maintaining, managing, and tracking physical paper receipts and expense reports are a hassle.
- Expense reporting is more prone to easy manipulation, errors, and fraud.
- It provides no insight into spending to the Finance team and management.
- Audits are a pain as Finance teams have to go back and forth between their accounting software and distributed reports.
4. Travel and expense policies are hard to understand
Having unclear T&E policies can impact business spending later on. Here's how.
- Employees may get discouraged from taking business trips or making business expenses from their pocket since they have no idea which expenses are reimbursable, the expenses' limit, and the procedure to get their reimbursement.
- Employees may be claiming expenses that are out of the company's T&E policy. This can happen if there's no actual process for approval-based expense reporting.
- Managers generally may not have enough time or don't pay much attention to the approval requests. This makes them spend less time reviewing the submissions, resulting in an inflated rate of approved expense claims.
- When policies are undefined, it is difficult to enforce them. Simply writing out a 20-page policy that employees usually don't read entirely isn't solving anything. This makes it even worse when employees feel that they are not being trusted to make business expenses.
5. You and your Finance team get little to no insight into expense metrics
One of the biggest challenges organizations face is figuring out what their company is spending on and missing out on.
Simple spreadsheets don't provide enough, as they are singular data points that have difficulty showing their connection with everything else. An organization needs a solution where an individual can view how all types of expenses interact and affect each other. This is one of the critical areas an automated expense management software can help.
An automated T&E software comes equipped with features that help track all expenses and allows users to view detailed reports and the status of expense reports in the reimbursement cycle. With all the expense data coming under one travel and expense management dashboard, Finance teams can view spending trends and patterns based on real-time insights. As a result, they can make informed decisions and develop a solid financial plan by leveraging their company expense data.
Top features and benefits of a travel and expense management software
With a travel and expense management software like Fyle, corporate travel can be as simple as the image shown above. Fyle covers all your travel requirements, from pre-trip arrangements to employee expense reimbursements.
Some of the common features and benefits of an ideal travel and expense management software are:
Ability to integrate with other software for easier bookings
Corporate travel booking can become tedious if your Finance team has to go back and forth with your employees and travel managers. This is because, even after making the bookings, Finance teams still have to manually collect and consolidate the details into their system.
But with an T&E management software that offers integration with a corporate travel booking platform, Finance teams can have tighter control and visibility into the travel expenses. They can also reduce the unnecessary back and forth and eliminate manual data entry work.
Additionally, with expense management automation, employees need to simply fill in the necessary details and make travel bookings before a trip. The reimbursable expenses get automatically created in the travel and expense software, and they can simply send the trip report for review. Finance teams can also review and approve trip reports right from their T&E software. With all the travel-related details under one platform, Finance teams can easily access, view, and draw valuable insights from the reconciled travel expense data.
Track receipts and expenses for timely report submissions
While on a business trip, the last thing your employees should be worried about is missing receipts or losing track of their expenses. Having a device-agnostic travel expense management software can help traveling employees track their expenses right from their mobile phones.
Additionally, a travel expense software like Fyle offers multiple ways to track employee expenses and receipts.
- For paper receipts: Employees can simply click a picture of the receipt. Fyle automatically scans and extracts all the expense data and auto-fills the expense reports.
- For digital receipts: Employees can create an expense report using the Gmail or Outlook add-ons right from their mailbox. They can also submit their expenses from everyday apps like Slack.
- The expense tracking feature can also help employees track all their expenses, including their mileage and per diem spend while eliminating data entry errors and saving time.
Robust policy check engine for 100% compliant T&E reports
Duplicate claims, data entry errors, and missing receipts are just a few policy violations that can pass unnoticed if your Finance teams are not thorough with their reviews. But checking for T&E policy violations on all employee expense reports can not only be tedious but also consume a lot of valuable working hours.
But thanks to the real-time policy check feature available in a T&E software, Finance teams can have tighter control over their expense limits, rules, and guidelines. They can also configure the software as per their T&E policy to guarantee no policy violations get by. This ensures any errors or anomalies in an expense report are corrected before the employee even submits it.
Get accurate data analytics from expense reports
Your employee travel expense reports hold a lot of information to help your Finance teams gain better insight into your company’s business travel spending and trends. But if you are managing your travel data manually or using an age-old solution, it can be a painful task to compile and make sense of all the data.
A travel and expense management software not only helps store all your employee travel bookings and expenses under one platform but also helps Finance teams make better data-backed business decisions. Using the data analytics feature available on Fyle, Finance teams can toggle and see information like their top spenders, spend by project/department, top category spend, and more. This ensures they always stay on top of all things business expenses.
Next day ACH payments for faster employee reimbursements
Using a T&E management software, your Finance team can ensure speedy payments to employees and close the reimbursement cycle on time. Fyle comes equipped with the next-day ACH feature that can streamline your reimbursement process and help you track the statuses of each payment in real-time. Plus, with Fyle’s single click reimbursement feature, your Finance team can make payments to employees in bulk saving time and increasing productivity in the process.
How to choose the right travel and expense management software for your business
If you search for the term "travel and expense management software, " several TEM software will probably pop up on your search browser. However, if you're looking to invest in the tool, you probably want something to help you scale and streamline the process seamlessly.
The ideal expense software should be flexible and have configurable features, with plans and packages tailored according to your company size and needs. Thus, while choosing the tool, you'd ideally want to stick with a software that you and your employees can use for the long term. An easy way to start is by considering the current challenges your employees and teams face and how the tool can solve them.
- Do you want to go for a paperless process and digitize the entire expense reporting process?
- Do you want tighter control, better visibility, and increased compliance?
- Are you looking to move out of your costly and inefficient expense management system?
- Are you struggling with project spends and want a tool to help with accounting?
No matter why you're looking to switch to a T&E management software, the right software is the one that can match all your needs.
Check out how Fyle fares against some of the popular travel and expense management software
How much does a travel and expense management software cost?
The potential travel management software shouldn't make you break your bank. The best options are those reasonably priced tools that still offer features necessary for you to simplify your T&E management process.
At Fyle, we make sure we charge only for users who create at least one expense report in a month. We call them active users.
Like most software subscription tools, our travel and expense management software has three different service tiers that you can choose from to meet your requirements.
- Standard plan
- Business plan
- Enterprise plan
You can choose to pay for the plans either monthly or annually.
- Standard plan: Fyle pricing starts at $4.99 per active user/ month billed annually. Under the plan, you can access features like unlimited receipt scanning and expense tracking, personal card management, QBO self-serve integration, and more. This plan is ideal for startups and small businesses with 1-25 employees or less than 30 expense reports per month.
- Business plan: The Business plan offers all the benefits listed under the Standard plan plus other features like corporate card reconciliation, ACH payments, integrations with any accounting, travel, HRMS, and payroll software, in-app live chat support, plus a lot more. The plan starts at $8.99 per active user/ month billed annually and is perfect for fast-growing businesses with 25-200 employees or more than 50 expense reports per month.
- Enterprise plan: Finally, under the Enterprise plan, you get what you'd expect from the Standard and Business plans and other advanced features like IP whitelisting of admin accounts, a dedicated account manager, and more. The pricing can be customized based on the volume and usage and is best suited for global enterprises with 200+ employees or more than 250 expense reports per month.
You can choose the subscription package based on your budget, expected usage, and active users.
Your next step to adopting a travel and expense management software
Our travel and expense management software is built to simplify business travel bookings and expense management. At Fyle, we understand the pain points of T&E and aim to create a tool that’s user-friendly, intuitive, and can be accessed from anywhere, anytime, and by using any device. Our Fyle app is available as a web app and is also available for Android and iOS devices.
We also come with a best-in-class customer support team that is available 24/7 with a turnaround time of less than 4 hours to help your team with any changes, travel emergencies, and questions you may have. With Fyle, stay rest assured that your travel manager, employees, and Finance teams always stay on track.