Improving the T&E experience for employees and finance

Every company declares that employees are their most precious asset. In today’s uncertain times, this is especially true. As companies are dealing with very volatile and unpredictable markets (and global) circumstances, there is even more pressure to aim for internal stability regarding human capital. More and more employees are looking for a positive day-to-day employee experience within organizations. 

Apart from HR, the department that employees would have the most interactions with would probably be Finance. In roles where employees have to travel or claim business expenses, these interactions become more frequent; and in cases where there is no spend management solution in place, these can become sources of friction.

Unclear policies, complicated application procedures, and delays in approvals or payments are some of the reasons why incoherent and intransparent T&E management can lead to a negative employee experience. 

Ensuring job efficiency and satisfaction through access to the right applications at the right time can have limitless positive impacts on your employees’ experience, keeping them happy, productive, and focused on value-added responsibilities. That’s where the implementation of best-in-class spend management – SAP Concur – comes in.

Automatic adherence to policies

Most of the confusion arises due to employees being unaware of the nuances of T&E policies, which leads to inadvertent or accidental violations. These can happen at any stage of the process – from application to reimbursement claims – and often lead to rejected or delayed approvals. A spend management solution automates every step and makes it easy to ensure compliance from all the stakeholders in the system. Automated hard stops and timely warnings, in conjunction with tooltips, guide employees, approvers, and the finance team throughout the process. Rules can be configured to set eligibility criteria and limits by employee designation or role. Since the employee needs to log into the system with their credentials, these rules can be enforced without external assistance. 

Easy submission and reimbursement process

Another major bottleneck in the T&E process is the submission and approval of final accounts and expense claims. Submission of claims and supporting documents can be time-consuming, and confusing due to lack of clarity. The spend management solution contributes to faster, more convenient processes. The process can be initiated with real-time email notifications and scheduled email reminders to ensure timely action from the employees. 

A mobile app enables access to the system from anywhere, and employees can complete formalities on the go. Submission of supporting receipts, itineraries, or other documents can be made smoother and quicker by enabling AI OCR (artificial Intelligence-supported Optical Character Recognition) functionality which makes it extremely easy to add expense line items to the user’s associated expense report/ claim. This will also eliminate the inconvenience presented by scanned images, as the details are rendered as text/numerals and are operable by software/applications. 

The combination of automated compliance in the application phase and uncomplicated submission of expense details simplify and streamline the reimbursement process, which leads to hassle-free approvals and quicker payouts. 

Saves time, effort

The most obvious way that a spend management solution can make a difference to the employee experience is through an easy-to-use interface. But that is just scratching the surface.  For example, SAP Concur is a device-agnostic solution that is accessible across desktops, tablets, and mobiles and results in an enhanced user experience, allowing travel request & claim submission, claim approval, review of receipt/invoice images, and more, from anywhere.

By guiding employees through every process, along with the in-built safeguards for compliance, the Concur solution eliminates confusion and saves them time and effort. Compliance in applications as well as claims submitted leads to a reduction of the workload cycle time for the back office/ finance during the claim process. Clear, well-defined, and trackable procedures that are recorded in Concur also eliminate discrepancies, resulting in smoother audit checks.

Improved employee experience. And relationships.

Spend management solutions go a long way in improving T&E productivity by improving the spend management process as well as consolidating all the information to make it useful. The financial and business benefits of a spend management solution are tangible and straightforward to track. However, there are softer, more intangible benefits as well. Simplified and clear T&E processes reduce friction between finance and other employees. And most importantly, the improved employee experience increases employee satisfaction and improves critical talent retention. And it plays a big part in employees themselves feeling that they are, as the company claims, the most precious asset.