Taking care of employees can be a challenge on a good day. But when they’re on the road, running into everything from the annoyance of cancelled flights to the violence of political unrest, connecting with and protecting them is crucial.
Any travel can place employees at risk – especially women and LGBTQ+ individuals – but when disruptions make international news, awareness of business travel’s significance as a function, a category of business spend, and a legal and moral responsibility are on full display. Other recent shifts in everything from tax laws to employee experience expectations have also put the spotlight on corporate travel. For example, major new taxation policies have been rolled out that will necessitate the embedding of compliance into core business processes, including those supporting travel management. At the same time, traveler safety and well-being has been tied closely to employee satisfaction and retention; increasingly, workers want to know that the companies sending them out, potentially into harm’s way, care about them and are well prepared to help them stay safe through timely information sharing, safety resources, location monitoring and communications, and more.
According to a 2019 online survey of 50 chief financial officers (CFOs) conducted by BTN Group Content Solutions and sponsored by the SAP Concur organization, finance leaders have many concerns about their corporate travel management programs. The study found that:
- Traveler safety and well-being was cited as the top concern by the biggest percentage of respondents (44%), including 54% of CEOs and COOs surveyed.
- Traveler satisfaction is also a top concern for CEOs and COOs (39%), HR leaders (33%) procurement executives (26%), and finance leaders (24%).
- Controlling costs to align with budgets was identified as a top concern by finance executives (44%), HR leaders (49%), and procurement executives (50%).
- Just over one-third (34%) of finance executives cited travel policy compliance as a high-priority concern.
Overshadowing these concerns are broader threats that could impede international travel, such as an economic downturn, terrorism, over-regulation, exchange rate volatility, cyber threats, and even geopolitical uncertainty and climate change.
What’s the best way to address these concerns?
These are big travel management issues with huge potential impacts on your business. The question is, as a finance leader, how can you address them systematically and effectively? SAP Concur experts recommend a two-pronged approach.
First, work closely with your travel manager.
No one is better able to partner with you to address these concerns than your company’s travel manager. They don't simply choose booking tools and enforce policies; today, they open the door to a whole new world of opportunities for your organization and play an increasingly strategic role as navigators and evaluators of changing technologies and complexities of the travel industry. They understand that the travel they manage impacts multiple business processes and priorities across the company – from regulatory practices and compliance to budgets, payroll and expense reimbursement, tax, traveler safety, and VAT reclaim. And they are increasingly prioritizing the end-to-end traveler experience to ensure employee satisfaction, safety, and well-being. So, you can engage with them on many levels to address the concerns that keep you – and fellow executive leaders – up at night about travel management.
Second, invest in state-of-the-art travel management solutions.
Forward-thinking CFOs and travel managers are seeking intelligent travel management solutions that are business ready, meaning they provide greater business performance, visibility, and user-friendly experiences today – and drive innovation for tomorrow. These solutions can help companies address key travel trends, such as employee expectations for simple, mobile-first user travel booking experiences, freedom to user their preferred online channels and suppliers, and high-quality duty of care anywhere, anytime. In addition, intelligent travel management solutions can transform how you gain visibility into travel spend, enable employees to track and file expenses, and ensure compliance with corporate, legal, and tax requirements. For example, SAP Concur solutions for travel and expense management empower stakeholders to monitor travel spend in real time, effectively control costs, and provide exceptional duty of care for every employee around the world.
To learn more about what your peers are concerned on the travel front, read the paper, Executive Stakeholders in Managed Travel Grapple with Multiple Concerns and Potential Threats to Unfettered Business Travel. In addition, explore how SAP Concur solutions for travel and expense can help.