For T&E Management, Evolution Via Technology

Expense management professionals must deal with a deluge of information amid time constraints. Chris Juneau, vice president of Concur’s global distribution segment, weighs in on the mismatch between the technology employees use, and their firms use, and how to close the gap, with an eye on better expense management.

It’s been said that turning a corporation is a bit like turning a battleship — speed is hard to come by, and the effort is immense.

So it is with payments and, for many firms. expense management. Technology has evolved and has been quickly adapted by consumers. And yet, technology adoption on a firm-wide basis has been, well, unwieldy.

In a recent study released by travel and expense management firm Concur, a survey of financial professionals operating across the globe commissioned and conducted by Forrester Research, the overarching theme was that technology has lagged at the corporate level, and things must change if firms want to capture growth potential and, of course, control margins.

In an interview with PYMNTS, Chris Juneau, vice president of global distribution at Concur, said that employees and their firms operate within a dichotomy — one where workers are comfortable with smartphones, tablets and other devices in their personal lives. “And the firms must catch up,” said the executive, moving toward what might be termed “the consumerization of the enterprise … the company needs to provide a [travel and expense] solution that mirrors the experience that the employees have.”

Considering the fact that T&E is the largest expense a firm can have, said Juneau, after payroll, the movement to the cloud can be a boon to managing employee spend, with enhanced data and analytics. Part of the cost savings comes from time management and technology management, as “there’s not the need to wait on IT and no need to update and get servers and hardware.”

And, he added, cloud-based solutions can help firms (regardless of size) keep better track of who is spending what, as opposed to the corporate legacy-based systems that use, for example, Excel spreadsheets, in an age where “the effort is to minimize the human input” when tracking expenses.

As noted by the Concur/Forrester study, three-quarters of the firms surveyed are looking to update their T&E systems within the next six months.