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A Comprehensive Solution

Today I attended a webinar given about Travel Expense Management (TEM) solutions. It was hosted by the people at PayStream Advisors. I generally pigeon-hole webinars into two categories. First, there are webinars that are truly helpful and provide valuable information. The second category includes webinars that are obvious sales pitches. I am happy to report that this event was full of useful information. There was only a small sales pitch at the end – which is perfectly acceptable.

What is Travel Expense Management?
A TEM system allows a company to automate the creation, approval and payment of employee travel expense reports. Why bother automating? Well, consider a large company with approximately 1,000 business travelers. They may generate about 60,000 expense reports a year. The average cost of manually processing an expense report is around $34 per document. Not to mention the turnaround may average three weeks.

A well designed TEM can save a company 60% in processing cost. Also, corporate policies are more easily enforced; thus reducing fraud and helping with SOX compliance. A typical TEM workflow may look something like this:
Example Travel Expense Management Workflow

Travel Expense Workflow
click for larger image

The top three reasons companies look for automated solution are:

  1. Employee Satisfaction
  2. Lower Processing Cost
  3. Faster Reimbursement

What is missing from most Travel Expense Management solutions?
A typical TEM is not a comprehensive solution. The approval process for expense reports is very similar to the approval process for direct invoices (often called non-PO invoices). The same managers need to review both types of documents. Why force your people to work with completely different systems? Or, worse rely on a costly paper-based process. A complete solution should allow users to process both invoices and expense reports. While we are at it, let’s include check requests, human resource documents, and every other piece of paper in your office!

There are several reasons that people choose a solution – total cost of ownership, time to implement, and ability to scale. I recommend that people consider solutions that handle more than just one problem. Look for solutions that are part of a larger, more comprehensive strategy that address all your information management needs. It will help you maximize your investment…and make your workday simpler.

Categories: Articles
  1. November 13, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    I was surprised they didn’t talk about http://www.ExpenseWire.com , my company has been using it for months now, it’s saving us thousands on t&e each month.

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