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    How Does Travel and Expense Management Improve Employee Experience?

    February 20, 2023

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    A modern travel and expense management system will lead to a clear increase in employee experience levels.
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    Travel and expense (T&E) management is inextricably linked with employee experiences and satisfaction. Since it is a tool that employees directly work with, you’ll see that once you invest in a robust, easy-to-use travel and expense management system designed for employees, you can see a clear increase in adoption and better employee experience levels. In this article, we explain how employee experience is influenced by T&E management. 

    Despite the fact that videoconferencing has been an adequate substitute during the COVID-19 pandemic and after, many employees are eager to resume traveling. The benefits of business travel and in-person meetings cannot be discounted, and every company needs to be able to support employees’ travel and expense needs as they come out of a prolonged remote-working period. 

    As companies are charting out the travel plans for the company, several of them are recognizing the fact that travel and expense management can’t simply go back to how it was before the pandemic, and that the process needs to be revamped to keep up with the changes the HR world has seen over the last few years. Perhaps the biggest change is the growing importance of employee experience (EX) and T&E management is inextricably linked with employee experiences and employee satisfaction.


    Why Are Travel and Expense Management Systems Crucial? 

    T&E management is a complex function. Travel and expense (T&E) management is the documentation and processing of organizational business costs for tax deduction, budget compliance, business intelligence, and employee experience management.    

    A T&E management system is a sophisticated system that automates the entire process. It is typically configured by the finance teams in a way that it ties in with the company's expense management strategy in order to increase financial efficiency without affecting employee experience. 

    There are several advantages to using specialized software, particularly if your employees work remotely or on a hybrid model. Their T&E costs may include per diem payments, business travel expenditures, the purchase of new equipment, etc., and handling the travel expense process can be quite cumbersome. Employees will typically have to spend time and manual effort to collect receipts, file for reimbursement, and follow through until the amount is credited to their account. The finance team on the other hand will have to endure the laborious process of verifying the expense claims and processing the requests. Essentially, automating the process and using a T&E management system can make the entire process hassle-free.  And this will have a clear impact on employee experience (EX). 

    Learn More: Travel and Expense Management: Definition, Significance, Benefits, Key Features & Best Practices

    12 Ways Good Travel and Expense Management Improves EX 

    When you invest in travel and expense management, employees are happier, because they can: 

    1. Submit receipts without extra effort or friction

     Filing travel expense claims is one of those tasks that employees will never ignore, but will invariably avoid until the last moment. It causes annoyance and frustration, and is also usually time-consuming.  Instead, a T&E management tool with a smartphone app that enables employees to take a photo of receipts and upload the data immediately into expense reports, can minimizing the workload and significantly improve the employee experience. 

    1. Get quick approvals 

    In trying situations, like a pandemic or a recession, travel expenditure, and regulations become more complicated. As a result, there might be a change in budgetary constraints and processes. Expenditure approvals might also be scrutinized more closely, which may frustrate employees.  

    Automated travel and expense management can help streamline the process by ensuring compliance with budget and safety standards. For instance, the HR staff may initiate travel allocations and expenses with a basic request form and then match receipts to requests automatically. This process eliminates system complexities, ultimately enhancing the employee experience. 

    1. Navigate new systems and policies without confusion

    Since more than two years ago, the ground beneath our feet has been shifting. Policies and procedures have been updated accordingly. Employees have had difficulty keeping up with it all, and are now relearning procedures and technologies.  

    A strong travel and expense management system can facilitate in-built compliance with the requirements and enables employees to comply with the latest policies and regulations easily. Typically, it incorporates request, expenditure, and travel management software with a simple and dynamic user interface. Organizations can also implement in-solution training and tips, and automatically match requests with itineraries and receipts. This increases compliance and minimizes employee discomfort, and, needless to say, improves employee experience.  

    Learn More: How To Create a Travel and Expense Policy [With Template+ Industry Examples]

    1. Get real-time insights on a centralized platform

    It is essential to recognize that travel has changed massively over the last two years. There are modifications to travel regulations, and the way the travel and hospitality industries have been operating. Comprehensive T&E management will offer information on all of the above, as well as real-time industry updates. This makes scheduling travel easy for both you and your employees. For example, even if a trip schedule has been authorized, it will be tagged with travel notifications and alerts, allowing you to take immediate action. This will also make cancellations or rebooking fast and inexpensive. 

    Employees will understand that the organization is looking out for their best interests. With real-time insights, they will be less unnerved by uncertainty and continue to receive a consistent employee experience (EX) no matter where they are. 

    1. Manage finances better

    A travel and expense management system enables you to automate almost all operations, from trip booking to cost reimbursement, and all this can be done within the budget and financial restrictions set by the company. It allows workers to effortlessly schedule trips in accordance with company T&E policy by displaying the cost limit so they understand how much they may spend. It notifies workers when they deviate from the prescribed travel rules.Additionally, a systematic T&E procedure will expedite payments. Organizations can set up a process in which the employee is repaid upon approval from the finance department. Employees also get updates about the progress of their reimbursements, and be secure about their financial well-being, further enhancing the employee experience.  

    Learn More: Make Your Business Go Places With Darwinbox’s Brand New Travel Module!  

    1. Get pre-travel services

    With effective T&E management, the employee experience commences even before the actual travel. This includes computerized pre-travel authorization so that managers are informed of the entire business trip from a financial and operational perspective. This improves the manager experience and empowers them to better support employees and team members. 

    Organizations can also ensure safe travel and accommodations prior to the trip using travel management software. A quality T&E system will enable HR departments to compile a list of properties that adhere to WHO's worldwide safety requirements. This provides workers with a sense of comfort and security prior to departure. 

    1. Alter plans with greater flexibility

    When the airline cancels a flight due to a problem or when an employee cancels the ticket, the tickets usually stay unused, and in some cases, employees are fined.. Travel and expense management lets you monitor and manage any unused tickets for the convenience and advantage of your organization while minimizing related expenses, and giving employees the luxury of working with flexible travel arrangements. 

    1. Gain autonomy and rely less on managers

    With business travel,  managers are faced with the task of manually analyzing a vast number of expense claims. A T&E management system offers managers a  complete view of all requests by displaying cost inputs and receipt visuals side-by-side, thereby facilitating faster audits. 

    The fact that virtually everything is automated and validators just need to concentrate on out-of-policy matters improves the employee experience significantly. By granting employees greater autonomy, travel and expense management successfully removes endless email chains for permission applications, document sharing, and follow-ups. 

    Learn More: How To Detect and Prevent Expense Fraud

    1. Process more volumes with less effort

    The employee experience of the T&E auditors who are charged with processing the various claims made by business travelers is a factor that is often overlooked. 

    When the system is not standardized, and travelers are not guided through the claims filing, this task falls on the shoulders of auditors. They are required to personally verify the accuracy of each claim, including all receipts, expenditure line items, levies, taxes, tax codes, and other cost elements. Robust travel and expense management software makes life easier for accountants by getting rid of most of this repetitive, mundane, and high-volume work. 

    1. Avoid effort duplication

    When it comes to reimbursements, effort duplication and delays are two of the most common reasons for a poor employee experience. A common cause for delay is when a traveler's claim must be returned to them due to incomplete information. 

    With effective T&E procedures, organizations can simply specify the essential quality checks to guarantee that all relevant paperwork, reimbursements, information, and approvals are submitted accurately right at the outset. This enhances the claim processing efficiency and throughput time, resulting in a more pleasant employee experience. 

    1. Avoid conflicts and benefit from greater transparency

    Every company has a set of rules about travel and expenses. Despite the complexity of your policy, different regulations for different employee segments may cause difficulties. For this reason, travel and expense management includes transparent expense guidelines. Businesses can disseminate their policies directly via the T&E solution,  bringing about transparency and fostering employee confidence. 

    Prior to approval, the program will automatically analyze and evaluate costs for compliance minimizing disputes or misunderstandings. The guidelines can be imposed on a per-group or per-person basis and are automatically implemented. Better transparency in your organization contributes to a positive culture and better employee experiences. 

    1. Reduce hassles with third-party integrations

    Today's organizations use multiple  tools to manage a wide range of tasks. And for improved collaboration and transparency between the HR team, finance team, approvers, and employees, all of your technologies must be tightly integrated. 

    One of the major benefits of modernized travel and expense management software is that it comes with a wide range of integrations. It can integrate with the enterprise ERP, timesheets, project planning, etc. so that employees spend fewer hours on administrative responsibilities. For example, you can set up T&E management so that employee travel hours are automatically logged in as part of their work day.With less operational friction, employees can focus on the work that truly matters, and not be penalized due to any minor lapses in data entry.  

    Learn More: How To Automate Travel Expense Reporting in Enterprises


    Travel and expense management has come a long way in the last few years. As companies recognize its importance for the overall employee experience and deal with changing travel regulations, digitization of T&E is the way forward. Indeed, 80% of companies reported having a more digitized T&E practice in 2022, compared to just 67% in 2020.  

    Yet, nearly one in four companies still rely on spreadsheets for travel and expense management, which dramatically brings down employees’ experience and productivity. Organizations must focus on helping employees resume travel, as part of their work, developing client interaction capabilities, team building, and mental health. To do this without straining budgets or risking non-compliance, a reliable travel and experience management software is a must-have.  

    Learn how to level up your T&E management function today! Schedule a Darwinbox demo 


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