Woodland in autumn. A peaceful afternoon. Sun finds its way through the canopy onto the floor. One glance tells you everything there is to know.
Except that it doesn’t. All you’re getting from a single glance at our picture is an impression. Sure, you can tell it’s a picture of trees, but how many are there? What species? How old? How many to the hectare? Are they healthy?
See? With every question I ask about this simple picture, you realise you know a little bit less than you thought. In the end, you’re down to the first three words in this post. It’s woodland in autumn.
And so it is with travel expenses. You know they exist because you keep authorising business travel. You may even know what you spent last year, or for the year to date. But is your business getting good value for that spend?
Interrogate the data
The only way to answer that with anything like confidence is to interrogate the data and tease out the information that’s lurking in there. That sounds like a complex exercise, and no doubt it is – if you’re starting from scratch with a pile of receipts and expense claims with the travel data rolled up inside everything else.
And that’s why the dashboard system of oversight built into so much modern software is so valuable. The clever developers behind the software powering your favourite app have set it up to do the hard work for you, and to tell you instantly where there are peaks and troughs in whatever system it is that’s being monitored. If it’s staff absence, you may find that there are lots of people who don’t make it on Monday morning for example.
And if it’s travel, you may find that three employees who went on the sales trip to the major client travelled together but have all claimed mileage as if they went alone. Sadly, it happens. Even if it doesn’t in your business, you may find better ways of accomplishing the task, like getting it done without spending quite so much on travel. For example, is the cheaper flight from a different airport actually cheaper in real terms, once you’ve factored in the mileage for getting to the airport and the overnight hotel stay because of awkward flight times? And how much time does your business waste on travel in the first place? What’s the hourly cost of employing whoever is going on the business trip in the overpriced scenario I’ve just outlined? Could their time be better spent? In short, is there a better way? Travel and expense management software will help you to find out.
Claim and pay more accurately
Good travel and expense management software sets down the rules, and makes it easier and faster for employees to claim in an accurate and timely manner, which makes approving expenses simpler and faster too, leaving you more time to get on with generating revenue – and isn’t that what you’re in business for?
By adopting the use of travel and expense management software you’re making the best use of available tools, empowering you to be more effective by interrogating data automatically, turning up gems of information from the impenetrable mass before you.
As my father was always prone to say: “You can’t see the wood for the trees.” I guess what he meant was that there was so much detail it was impossible to get a clear view of what really mattered in the scene.
Have another look at our picture. Thinking about what I’ve said, doesn’t it look a little different now? And are you going to find – and use – some travel and expense management software?