Anyone who has ever traveled on business has a story to tell, whether it be the trip from hell or filing an expense report, and most of them are not positive experiences. Wouldn’t it be a nice, if all those stories turned into the “incredible experience story” about traveling and expenses. There may be little that can be done about the travel itself, but there are definite improvements that can be made related to T&E expense management.
Mobile can be the key ingredient to improving the experience, as expense reports get closer to writing themselves. Here is where mobile fits into your T&E solution:
- Capturing paper receipts as a photo, using a mobile device, is certainly feasible now, and there’s nothing proprietary about it. However, the source capture that is now available and integrated with T&E solutions incorporates scanning technology to capture the receipt, digitize it, and create a line item on the expense report. With this capability and connectivity, it is not hard to visualize how an expense report can get pretty close to writing itself. Adoption of this source capture technology is not as widely available as the other two T&E expense sources, the corporate card and the travel booking system, both of which have been available for several years. Scanning technology on mobile devices in comparison is fairly recent and not as widely available as part of a T&E solution – by comparison.
- A second insight is that the integration of the travel booking system to the T&E solution is not nearly as robust as the corporate card integration, and is not quite as widely adopted as mobile integration for the ranks of the Best-in-Class companies. This also leads us to the second major use for mobile in a T&E solution, which is to have the integrated travel booking system app on the mobile device to enable the source capture for all “on the fly” transactions that occur when travelers must adjust their schedules and arrangements.
Having both of these mobile applications on the traveler’s smartphone or tablet enables the connectivity from the traveler to the T&E management system to facilitate the expense report that writes itself. Figure 1 provides a comparison between the key benefits/advantages of the Best-in-Class compared to All Others.
Figure 1: Key Benefits and Advantages for Mobile Application Adopters
Expense creation and digital receipt imaging are very high on the capability adoption for both the Best-in-class and All Others. The ability to manage expenses remotely by the Best-in-Class comes in at a whopping 90%, while All Others are only 58%. These differences point out that the mobile digital receipt imaging and the expense creation are not as large a deterrent as one might have thought regarding mobile adoption. Rather, it is the T&E application availability that lags behind for All Others (80% of the respondents) followed by the access to the travel booking system that are where greater participation is needed.
There is no doubt that the use of mobile technology is becoming a core piece of the T&E expense management solution. The emphasis by the Best-in-Class on mobile application and integration adoption, coupled with their superior performance bodes well for the increased use of mobile technology as part of the T&E expense management solution.