Business travel is a necessary task for organizations, and has long been a complicated task for organizations using inadequate software, paper-based processes, or ‘duct-tape-and-rubber-band’ expense management software. To address this, growing businesses often turn to Travel and Expense (T&E) Management (also known as Travel Expense Management (TEM)) software to automate the processing and reimbursement of travel related expenses.
Notably, with increasing access to technology, the market has become increasingly competitive, with a wide variety of choices from new and established companies. To help those in search of software to better understand the market, the competitors, and the trends, Gartner Analyst Chris Pang researched the providers, releasing the Market Guide for Travel Expense Management Software in February 2016.
Knowing the Market: Travel Expense Management Software
Travel expense management (TEM) is a process typically run by the finance department in organizations of all sizes. The purpose of TEM tools is to help businesses manage the process of submitting, approving and reimbursing costs incurred by employees while conducting business on behalf of their employer.
The market for TEM applications has been and continues to be a double-digit-growth market, reaching a market value nearing $1 billion in software revenue in 2016. Market growth is being driven by businesses of all sizes seeking “first-time automation,” as well as businesses that have previously purchased a basic tool but now need deeper and more sophisticated capabilities.
Key Takeaways: Market Guide for Travel Expense Management Software
Among the trends highlighted by Pang, the following stand out in this guide, able to be downloaded from the Concur website.
- Choose SaaS for True Innovation: According to Pang, “the most innovative solutions for TEM are only available as SaaS,” due to the frequency and robustness of updates, the accessibility, and flexibility of the solution.
- TEM Takes You on the Path to ‘Going Digital’: Use TEM as an opportunity to show your leadership team and employees how “going digital” can turn an unpopular “bit of admin” into something that greatly improves internal efficiency and end-user satisfaction, and highlights areas for procurement to find additional savings.
- Involve as Many Stakeholders in Your TEM Decision As Possible: Select vendors based on the user experience currently available for all participants in the process (end user, finance and system administrators), and think about the level of functional sophistication each constituent realistically needs and can embrace, rather than “the best solution ever.”
- There’s More to TEM than Automation: The “state of the art” for TEM is moving quickly; no longer is it about just automating current processes and increasing efficiency. Indeed, some vendors are aiming to “kill the expense report as we know it” or even eliminating expense reporting entirely for certain scenarios.
- Few Providers are “Enterprise Ready”: While many vendors exist, for larger and multinational organizations, there are limited options. Large global entities are the most complex and demanding for software providers to sell to and serve, resulting for few standalone TEM options. One notable example, according to Pang, was Concur, which was able to stand up to modules offered as part of ‘megavendor’ ERP/HCM suites.
- Rapid Advancement Ahead: The notion of “State of the Art” has rapidly advanced and continues to do so. New features are appearing, and those on the cutting edge a few years ago are now commonplace. Some providers are leveraging recent advances to drive toward concepts such as a “one touch” expense report and a “self-building” expense report; some can use voice to compile an expense report; and some can use smart business logic and defined rule settings that may even entirely eliminate an expense report for low-risk and low-value categories.
- Meeting Compliance Goals is a Priority: With changes in the regulatory environment, vendors need to provide software that can help a buyer ensure compliance. While not a necessity (add-ins generally exist), the cost of compliance should be taken into consideration to help reporting.
- Integration is Key: All stand-alone TEM solutions share master data with other corporate administrative systems. However, the level of integration maturity differs among providers. While most have a standard flat file (such as Excel or a comma-separated values [CSV]-based format), options exist to automate the connection of stand-alone applications.
- Differing Levels of Localization: Most TEM providers claim they can provide “international” or “localized” products. While this is descriptively accurate, IT leaders with global requirements need to carefully check the depth of their chosen provider’s efforts in localization.
- Low (Basic Multicurrency Support): The most basic level of localization, this is generally used by organizations with all employees located in one country with a high level of localization depth, but with employees who travel internationally.
- Medium (Low-Level Plus Local Translation, Local Expense Fields, and Local Reporting): the next level of localization, this is used by Organizations with a headquarters location, with the majority of employees in one country but also with foreign subsidiaries and employees in general commercial industries without heavy compliance and with low financial complexity regulations and reporting.
- High (Full Vendor Localization): The most advanced type of TEM software, this is needed by Globally dispersed organizations with a large number of foreign subsidiaries and employees operating in a highly regulated industry or within a complex country regime for financial reporting and tax.
Get the Full Report
Looking for a comparison of vendors, full analysis by Pang, and more? The entire guide shares a deeper look into 18 vendors, including the strengths, weaknesses, deployment methods, and focus.
Learn More: Travel and Expense Management Resources
Learn how you can take your savings gained by using Concur Expense further by integrating it with your choice of accounting software—Microsoft Dynamics GP, Microsoft Dynamics SL, or Intacct. The following Infographic shows you just how much this simple integration can benefit your business.
See the following resources for more information about better managing your travel expenses:
- Big News from Brittenford: Concur App Center Partner of the Year 2016
- Canadian Firm Overcomes VAT/HST Complexities with Concur
- 30 Minutes Saves Hours per Month for Visitors Bureau [Case Study]
- Taking the Advantages of T&E Beyond Automation
- Five Levels of Travel and Expense Management Maturity
- Living Life to the Fullest as a Business Traveler: Apps to Make Life Easier
- How Much Did That Expense Report Cost? More than You’d Think
- Minimizing the Effects of ‘Murphy’s Law’ of Expense Management
- Four Trends to Look For in 2015 Business Travel
Ready to take advantage of leading solutions from Concur? Contact Brittenford Today!