The MacNair Travel Leadership Blog

The Out-of-Control CFO: Gain Control of Travel and Expense Management

Posted by Mike MacNair on Jul 8, 2016 12:00:00 PM

The Out-of-Control CFO: Gain Control of Travel and Expense ManagementGaining control over Travel and Expense Management (TEM) is on the top of the minds of many CFOs. According to recent CFO Research, more than two thirds (69%) of senior finance executives agree that their company would benefit from better control over T&E.

If you’re like many CFOs, improving T&E control and addressing reporting variances are key goals for your travel program. You want actionable data when it comes to travel expense management. You also want visibility into how your travel program fits within the larger picture of your organization.

After all, corporate travel management affects more than your business travelers; it also touches on HR through duty of care and policy compliance, procurement when it comes to control and travel costs, and even the legal department as it relates to liabilities. Your challenges lie in managing the complexities around travel. According to CFO.com, “Many finance executives say that companies lack the centralized oversight or controls that would help them better manage T&E spending.”

Let’s start by taking a closer look at your existing travel policy and procedures. You may find that your current method of TEM is a bit chaotic. If you don’t have a clear travel policy, you could find that you have travelers booking trips on their preferred airlines and with their personal credit cards. Some of them are likely to be testing the boundaries of compliance and you may have finance team members who are frustrated with manually processing T&E reimbursements and expense submissions. As the CFO, you want more efficient processes and tighter control over these areas.

3 Ways You Can Gain Control Over TEM 

1. Managing Complexity 

According to CFO Research, CFOs lack a centralized way to manage T&E expenses. If your travelers use a mix of corporate credit cards, employee reimbursements, purchase orders and even petty cash for their travel, then you likely have different processes for managing each.

Consolidation of payment methods will help you aggregate the data you need in a central location so you can quickly and easily pull reports to help you manage travel expense reconciliation. When you streamline reporting and payment processes you can save time for both your finance team and your travelers, which increases productivity.

You can also save money by encouraging rogue travelers to be compliant with company travel policies.

2. Using Data 

The more specific and accurate your data is, the more valuable your insights will be when analyzing your company’s travel expenses. Data will pinpoint your exact T&E expenditures so you can begin to measure the effectiveness of your program, negotiate improved discounts with preferred suppliers, and discover areas where you can reduce spending.

When your existing data is hard to locate and aggregate, you’re never quite sure if your statistics are correct. As such, it’s impossible to make truly informed decisions about your T&E budget forecasts and ROI measurements.

Capturing and recording T&E expenses and turning those numbers into useable data through efficient payment processes will help you gain insight.

3. Pursue Process Efficiencies 

Integrating your T&E payment processes through a consolidated payment program will reduce the need for manual processing, decrease the risk of reporting errors and will be more efficient to operate.

A mandated corporate credit card program effectively combines all T&E spending data into a single place; improving your visibility and control over all related expenses. Process efficiencies such as consolidated payment programs, improve your ability to leverage benefits, negotiate supplier discount and organize your expense data. Thus improving your ability to both manage expenses and save money.

If you’re like many CFOs, you are ready to gain control of your T&E expenses and optimize them for greater visibility. Outsourcing TEM to a Travel Management Company (TMC) may prove to be one of the quickest and most effective ways to achieve your goals around travel management. TMCs can help you with the reduction of manual processes, accelerated reporting, improved compliance, real-time spending data, reduced processing costs, and reduced data analysis errors – all of which free up your finance team’s time.

Isn’t it time you gained control, clarity and built predictability into your T&E costs? It is possible to improve your budget forecasting, accurately track spending, eliminate waste and realize the value you’re getting for the money invested in travel.

Discover more ways CFOs can take control with our White Paper: 5 Key Strategies for CFO’s to Take Control of Travel and Expense Management.

Learn 5 strategies for CFOs to take control of travel management

Topics: Travel and Expense Management, CFO