Stating that most decisions today are data-driven is a cliché. Though the statement may seem obvious and self-explanatory, a closer look reveals that it makes sense only if the data is a) reliable and b) comprehensive. So, how does one ensure that those two conditions are met? And in the context of T&E (travel & expense) management, how can it lead to better outcomes?
The foundation of this entire premise is the adoption of digitization. The implementation of an intelligent spend management solution is the vehicle for gathering and overseeing data for finance to be able to unlock its true potential.
Transforming T&E management has opened up several areas where finance does not just contribute to business goals, but actually helps set those goals, and optimize budgeting for the years ahead.
A comprehensive overview
The right spend management solution helps finance get a comprehensive view of the entire process and, therefore, be in complete control. This overview overcomes hindrances caused by siloed information that exists in companies and is not managed within an integrated spend management solution. This comprehensive perspective helps in consolidating spend which can lead to stronger price negotiations with vendors and travel partners. Such improved insight also enables the identification of non-compliant, unnecessary, or inefficient spending, for example, repetitions, disadvantageous tie-ups, and so on.
Granular Data, Actionable insights
An intelligent spend management solution provides extensive granular data that can be sliced and diced to illuminate every aspect of T&E management. Better analytics leads to better visibility into areas for action. Spend can be analyzed and aggregated to evaluate efficiencies.
For example, analytical data can be extracted out of Concur into any customer BI or directly reported out of Concur via powerful, in-built Cognos reporting functionality.
Business leaders can utilize the data for better decision-making and budgeting for subsequent years. Analyzing internal trends, tracking, and comparing with overall industry benchmarks, and monitoring the macro environment, data is integral to forecasting the future and making better management decisions.
Budgets based on reliable facts
While many companies operate globally, many aspects of T&E like region-specific policies, employee grade-based entitlements, tie-ups with local and global travel suppliers, etc. add a plethora of complexities. A spend management solution has to be able to track and coalesce this data to enable adequate actions. Consolidation of employee-based and travel related spend by travel supplier, supplier categories, and/or by cost object (such as cost center or project code), insight into reimbursement cycle time, and other information, can provide a clear picture of actual spend (sliced & diced), enable the real-time budget check at the time of travel request & claim approval, and help in planning realistic budgets going forward.
This granular data can also be a powerful tool for optimizing the pool of travel suppliers and potential negotiations for better prices and terms. For example, the data may reveal that different employees are utilizing two hotels that are in close proximity. Consolidating the business with one of them could put you in a stronger position to renegotiate.
SAP Concur empowers your Finance Team through intelligent spend management to stay on top of expenses and utilize data to take their place at the table as a contributor for better budgeting.