Expense Reporting and Travel Booking: Where’s the fit?

In a recent survey conducted by the IAPP and sponsored by InterplX, nearly 300 Accounts Payable professionals were asked what they believed were the predominant factors in selecting an automated expense management solution. The top vote-getter with over 32% of the responses was “ease of use”. The lowest vote-getter, with only 1.4% was “integration with online booking systems”. This clearly supports the InterplX position that fast and easy is the key to successful expense reporting solutions.

There is a lot of hype in the industry surrounding the integration of booking systems to expense tools. As we noted in our last update, this hype may be driven more by one large industry player’s need to sell more of its products than by client demand or need. So, is there a place for integrating booked travel with expense travel? The answer, we believe is yes, but not in the pre-population of expense reports but rather as an after-the-fact reconciliation and analysis process. Let’s look a little closer:

Businesses want to manage spend. And procurement processes are being designed to ensure compliance with spend management objectives. So, how do we reconcile the desire to drive procurement compliance with the desire to ensure fast and easy expense reporting? How do you find the small percentage of non-compliers while not over-burdening the majority of users that are following proper procedures? And what of the 60% of expense reports that do not even involve booked travel? The answer is to find the non-compliers and manage them individually, externally to the expense reporting process.

How do you do that? The simple answer is you compare a file of expensed transactions for air, car and hotel to a file of booked air, car and hotel from your corporate travel agency. Naturally, this is done after the fact and places no undue burden on the entire user population. Rather, you find the users with the most transactions that were not booked through the proper channels and apply the necessary discipline or training to them. The key is cooperation between your expense reporting vendor and your travel management vendor. And the result is improved compliance with established booking procedures and the travel management vendor will pick up transaction volume. It is truly a win-win situation.

If you would like to discuss the integration of your expense reporting process and your travel booking process, just let your InterplX account manager know and we will be glad to sit down with you and your travel agency to map out a fast and easy, yet compliant process. Or for more information, just drop a note to [email protected] We’ll get right back to you!

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