Moving to expense management automation is becoming an obvious decision for corporations large and small. Expense management automation can reduce costs and save time, which executive leadership and Travel Managers appreciate. And Business Travelers love expense management automation, too, thanks to the ease of filing reports and the speed at which reimbursement arrives.
In our previous article, “Discover How Expense Management Automation Eases Business Travel,” we discussed the reasons why automation is beneficial. But now how do you choose an expense management automation system that’s right for your company? As these systems become more widely accepted, the market for service providers is becoming more and more saturated.
To get an idea of the expense management automation options available to you, find reviews here. And, as you consider your options, here are 3 key considerations that will help you make the right choice for your company:
1 | Your Needs
No two companies are exactly alike, and yet all companies must sort through the same finite number of possible expense management automation systems. How do you identify the right system to meet your company’s unique needs? Focus on the following 3 areas:
- Compatibility: It’s essential that an expense management automation system be compatible with your existing systems. Make sure it integrates into your current HR and finance technologies, and be sure that your software options will run on your Travelers’ computers and personal devices.
- Must-Haves: What are your company’s must-have features in an expense management automation system? Make a comprehensive list, and then check each of your prospective systems against that list. Any list of must-haves may include automated reimbursements, a mobile app, API for integration and customization, fraud and error alerts, pre-trip approvals and more.
- Volume: How many travelers do you have at your company? Different providers will be better at handling larger volumes, and you may also find that costs shift based on your number of users. Find the best blend of capabilities, features and cost for your company’s specific size and needs.
2 | Your Budget
Pricing is always an important consideration. What Travel Manager operates without a budget? But, when you consider pricing, consider value, too.
Any expense management automation system should come with the promise of saving — cost saving and time saving. What level of cost reduction and efficiencies do you estimate each option can help you achieve? It’s always worth investing more for software if it pays for itself through additional savings.
Be aware of hidden costs as well. Ask each provider about extra fees that may be included later, including fees related to additional users, advanced support, upgrades, renewals and more.
3 | Your Support
Ongoing support can make all the difference in how valuable an expense management automation system is to your company. You’ll most likely need extensive support during the installation and integration period, as well as regular support when issues arise during everyday use of the system.
Most expense management automation providers use one or more of the following 4 support channels:
- Phone Support: This is the traditional help desk model. If you or one of your Travelers is experiencing an issue, you may call and speak to a live person. Of course, different providers may have different average hold times, and some may offer 24-hour phone support while others may only be available during business hours.
- Email Support: It’s going to be hard to find a provider that does not offer email support. With that in mind, focus on average response time. Does your provider guarantee a reply within a set period? If so, how long is that period? Obviously, a guaranteed 1-hour response window is far better than a 24-hour guarantee.
- Chat Support: Not all of your Travelers will appreciate the chat support model, but you may have some that see it as ideal. What is chat support? It’s an instant message-style chat window that pops up and allows you (or your Travelers) and a representative to work on a problem together. This is sometimes the fastest and easiest route to alleviating an issue.
- Content Support: Many providers choose to offer instructional videos, FAQs, in-depth articles, manuals and other content that walk a user through how to solve common problems. This type of support requires the least of the providers and asks the most of the end user.
What levels of support are most appropriate for your company and your Travelers? The more diverse and the more responsive the support available, the more attractive a provider should be.
Get Expert Guidance for Your Business Travel
As you begin to explore expense management automation, you’ll find many more key considerations. But the 3 listed above should help narrow down your search to a manageable number of options.
Do you need expert guidance as you consider expense management automation providers?
Here at JTB USA Business Travel, we build custom solutions and services that meet our clients’ specific business travel requirements. Expense management automation is just one piece of the larger puzzle, and our recommendations are focused on your needs, your budget and the other technologies included in your custom package.
Contact us today to learn more about your expense management automation options.