London, 5 November 2010 – A new global survey by KDS, the leading European supplier of integrated travel and expense (T&E) management systems, reveals many business travellers are still using costly and old-fashioned T&E processes.
Yves Weisselberger, chief executive officer of KDS, says: “There are just as many people submitting expense claims on paper as there are employees making online expense submissions [43.3% of respondents in each case]. That’s an extraordinary statistic in the year 2010. With so much scope for increased automation in the T&E arena, therefore, it’s easy to see where many companies need to look for greater cost efficiencies. Paperwork, in a computerised world, is costing staff and employers time and money.
“Too many businesses and organisations continue to underestimate the financial importance of strong T&E management,” continues Weisselberger. “More than half of the respondents to the survey [54.9%] said their organisations make no attempt to quantify the benefits of T&E. Surely, especially in the current economic climate, companies need to justify and maximise every Euro spent?”
One of the most damning statistics to emerge from the survey is the revelation that over half of the respondents (51.2%) admitted some of their business trips, in retrospect, are not worth the time or cost involved. Furthermore, 55.5% of respondents acknowledged that on several occasions they would have reconsidered business trips had they known in advance the total cost – including travel, accommodation and other expenses.
Weisselberger says: “The industry is clearly calling out for the kind of total trip cost forecasting now offered by KDS.”
A failure to unify T&E within a company’s processes, as revealed in the survey, confirms Weisselberger’s fear that many organisations do not yet realise the financial significance of T&E management. For example, most commonly, in 24.4% of cases, the travel policy at respondents’ organisations falls under the responsibility of the human resources department. In only 16.5% of cases is travel a matter for the finance department. Yet in 36.6% of cases, the expenses policy is the responsibility of the finance department, showing that many companies are not managing these complementary areas in unison – a certainty to lead to inefficiencies.
The survey also reveals that, once submitted, expenses typically go unquestioned by employers – 56.1% of respondents said their expenses are rarely queried and 28% of respondents said their expenses are never questioned at all.
“Companies might well need to take a more proactive stance in ensuring policy compliance during the travel booking process,” says Weisselberger. “In a culture where expenses are rarely retrospectively questioned, policy compliance at the booking stage becomes even more important for any cost-conscious organisation.”
The KDS Travel & Expense Survey 2010 gathered the opinions of 164 T&E professionals and regular travellers. Respondents were predominantly based in France, the UK and the US, ensuring the survey provides an international perspective on current T&E issues.