Travel and expenses are not always managed centrally together, but nonetheless, travel and expenses always go hand-in-hand—and accordingly, when choosing an expense management solution, your travel manager should be a key player in the conversation.
Whether or not your intent is to integrate travel and expense as a function internally, understanding travel’s needs and how to meet them is critical when reviewing business expense management software.
Generally, this need is twofold:
- Meeting the basic requirement of allowing individual travel spend (air, car, hotel, meals, etc.) to be reported for reimbursement
- Providing expense data for travel’s purposes
What If I’m Using a TMC to Book Corporate Travel?
For companies using a Travel Management Company (TMC), booking data via the TMC will be the primary source for travel needs, from reporting to sourcing, negotiations, and other insights to drive decisions and savings. Expense data, even if choosing the top business expense software that meets your every need, will still include the clutter of auxiliary expenses, and with meals, Wi-Fi, and other small expenditures in the mix, and never line up exactly with travel data. Enforcing how your travelers allocate expenses – itemizing hotel folios, allocating seat or baggage charges appropriately and more is important.
However, making sure your internal systems support the need for specific, concise expense types that can be used as a standard across all BUs or all countries, is equally as important.
What If My Expense Data is Captured by Software?
However, when your expense data is captured by expense software that allows travel data to be clearly identified and compared, you can obtain a big-picture grasp of your leakage, travel being booked outside your TMC and out of policy (for more information on combating leakage, read more about leakage solution CapTrav and how it can help you leverage your program’s true volume for greater savings).
For companies without a managed travel program, an expense management solution becomes your primary insight into travel, a path to walk with caution: receipts are not rates, and from a travel perspective, the original price point of a flight or hotel stay is key. If you need this information parsed out for reporting, will your expense software be up to the task, or are you creating labor?
How much additional labor expense software creates for your employees, and whether the tool will be intuitive for their skillset, should be the primary question, even over price, when choosing business expense software. Make sure, too, to know what existing tools your company has in place for other functions of the business:
Do You Use an Online Booking Tool?
From a travel perspective, does your company use an Online Booking Tool (OBT)? Although you may not contract with a travel-booking tool directly, if using a Travel Management Company, your TMC likely provides you with online booking tool access. You are not limited in your choice of business expense software by which OBT you use, for example using Concur Travel does not oblige you to use Concur Expense, but you should consider the benefits of integration, what down-the-line problems it heads off, as part of your review.
Even if not from the same software suite, some travel and expense software pair better than others. Egencia, for instance, has platform partners like Chrome River, Traveldoo, and others, which it can present for you via one frontend view, Egencia Integrated Travel and Expense.
How Can CapTrav Help?
CapTrav allows businesses to manage all of their business travel spend, no matter the booking source. Every unknown booking is a gap in your data, your accounting, and your travelers’ safety. You can protect your organization, travelers and travel program by automatically identifying and proactively managing your booking leakage. Find out how CapTrav works – Take a free demo today.