Next-gen expense management technology

We just held an interesting webinar with IDC analyst Kevin Permenter on future innovations and trends that we can expect to see in expense management solutions in the coming years. The webinar, which you can watch by clicking here, discussed a variety of interesting topics and issues, and outlined several new innovations that organizations and business travelers alike will be able to benefit from in the future. These innovations will both solve challenges that users and administrators face with expense management today, as well as allowing organizations to unlock new value from their T&E programs. Whether your organization uses receipts and spreadsheets, or has already moved to an automated expense solution, the webinar provides great insight and food for thought.

Another interesting element of the webinar were the polls that we ran of the attendees. At the start, we asked what their biggest peeve was with their current expense system. Given that almost half of respondents were still using manual expense solutions, it’s unsurprising that the number one challenge was a lack of automation, cited by almost 40 percent of respondents. However, what was of note was that the second most-cited challenge – at 31 percent – was the lack of integration with other solutions (such as corporate travel booking platforms and financial systems).  

What is your biggest peeve with your current expense management solution?

At the end of the webinar, having heard insights from the experts on what’s on the horizon for expense management technology, we asked what the capability is they would most like to see in their expense management solution. The most common answer – from a third of respondents – was more automation. Given that a lack of automation was cited as the biggest current peeve, this shouldn’t be seen as too much of a surprise. Fortunately for these respondents, modern expense management solutions have a broad array of features that can help automate expense submission and reimbursement. From mobile receipt captureand optical character recognition (OCR) which can automatically extract data from receipts, to sophisticated business rules engines that automatically enforce expense polices and manage approval routings, expense management can now be a highly automated process.

What capability would you most like to have in your expense management solution?

The number two most desired capability for survey respondents  – at 22 percent – was something completely different: a focus on value creation from an expense management technology. While this may outwardly seem a little counterintuitive, for companies which already have a mature corporate travel and expense program, this may not be a huge surprise. Organizations that use best-in-class travel booking and expense management systems to effectively reduce out-of-policy and wasteful spend, are now approaching the stage where it’s impractical to further trim travel spend without negatively impacting the traveler experience. As a result, forward-thinking finance departments are starting to look at corporate travel budgets less as a cost center (and therefore a line item to be reduced) and more from the perspective of “how can we deliver the most value from this spend.”

To learn more about some of the emerging trends in expense management solutions – from bots to more integrated payment solutions to innovations in big data, be sure to watch the webinar.

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