What would it look like if you had better visibility into your corporate travel expenses? What if you had the right technology that integrated booking, authorizations, and payments; and then that technology streamlined your processes? What if your business travelers were happy to follow the corporate travel policy?
For many companies with unmanaged travel programs, that scenario is far from reality. Rather, your organization may experience rogue travelers and multiple inaccurate or incomplete expense reports that require you to piece together the larger financial picture.
Yet, that doesn’t have to be the case. As CFO, you may be actively looking for ways to reduce rising travel expenses. At the very least you want a better way to manage the corporate travel program. Luckily, there are systems you can implement with the help of your team, which help control ballooning costs while keeping your travelers happy and productive.
5 T&E Data Analysis Points for CFOs:
1. Total Volume
How many hotel rooms do your travelers need in a year? Airline seats? Car rentals? How many of these per department or cost center? This information gives you improved leverage as you seek to negotiate preferred vendor agreements. When you know your volume and needs, you’re able to negotiate better agreements with vendors for your travelers. TMCs have well-established relationships with suppliers and can help you obtain the best rates available.
2. Average Transaction Cost
There are reasonable benchmarks for what you can expect when it comes to supplier pricing. You can obtain this data from Topaz International and other 3rd parties as well as from some TMCs.
3. Lost Opportunity Compared to Lowest Fare Available
There’s a misconception that consumer-facing tools give you the lowest price fare. That’s not always true. In fact, that type of software is built with predictive technology that shows fares based on past behavior. What that means is, if your top business travelers typically book their own tickets without following any type of travel policy or preferred vendor arrangement, they’re probably paying 10-20% more per ticket.
TMCs have access to unbiased software tools that truly do show the lowest priced fares that are not available via public websites.
4. Travel purchase by source
What was purchased through your TMC? And what was purchased from alternate sources (public sites, supplier sites, etc.)? Without a TMC, you will be missing out on a wealth of guidance and knowledge. An experienced industry professional will guide your strategic travel planning and will be responsible for negotiating with suppliers to get the best price for your organization.
5. Policy complianceDoes your travel policy outline company expectations about fare ranges or per diem rates? How well do your travelers adhere to the existing policy? If most of your employees use personal credit cards, for example, that can make it more difficult for you to reconcile travel expenses.
It can be difficult to capture this data accurately if you don’t have procedures in place that work for your team and your business. A TMC can help you create policy refinements and streamline processes, using available technology and supplier relationships.
When you improve your travel expense management, you’ll be able to do more than simply make better budget forecasts; you will improve your team’s productivity with easy-to-use processes.
Download 5 Key Strategies for CFOs to Take Control of Travel and Expense Management and find out how you can get started right away.