Two Business Trends Driving Change In Spend

Caitlin Strickling

By now, you’re­­ accustomed to an ever-increasing list of priorities and an ever-decreasing b­udget with which to get them done. In some areas, you may be able to get by, but in others, ­sticking with the status quo can cost you more than it’s worth.

Travel and spend management is one area where your organization may be missing out by making do. Whether deciding to automate just part of your expense process, building your own solution, or settling for technology that’s “good enough,” an inefficient, antiquated approach can hold you back. It limits your ability to capture spending and identify trends, causing you to leave money on the table and opening up your organization to legal and financial risks.

Now, more than ever, it’s time to rethink your approach. Two key trends are disrupting the business landscape, presenting enormous challenges and leaving your organization vulnerable to hidden costs like never before.

Purchasing power is in employees’ hands

Spending that was once under the control of your organization has now shifted to the employee. Employees are increasingly booking their own trips with airlines and others directly, choosing their own places to stay, and making purchases conveniently right from their mobile phones. In fact, the number of SAP Concur clients using Airbnb increased 42% from 2016 to 2017, including 63% of Fortune 500 customers. And the reality is, your technology likely isn’t set up to address this change.

When you can’t see all that’s being spent, you can’t control that spending. And unfortunately, you may have more invisible spend than you think. According to an August 2018 study by GBTA, 37% of hotels and 15% of flights are booked outside corporate channels, while just 20% of companies use technology to capture outside bookings. When you have limited visibility into what vendors are being used, you miss out on the opportunity to negotiate rates and risk leaving money behind. Moreover, as the amount of employees who purchase directly with suppliers continues to rise, so will the amount of cash you’re missing.

Rising tax and compliance regulations

Employees aren’t the only ones changing the way they do things. Governments are, too. Hungry for revenue, they continue to impose new taxes and make changes to regulations, and are increasing their investigations to crack down on violators.

“Good enough” isn’t going to cut it when it comes to meeting regulations. With more ways and more channels for employees to spend, you need to stay on top of every expenditure and every vendor. When your organization is audited, investigators will expect comprehensive, accurate reporting on all transactions. But if you’re still relying on an outdated, reactive approach, your chances of being successful are slim to none – resulting in executive involvement, additional costs, and a hard hit to your organization’s reputation.

As these two business trends bring change to your organization, how you approach your travel and spend should change, too. Embrace modern technology that integrates data across all sources, connects you to all your employee spending, captures every transaction, detects fraud immediately, and gives you the data you need to prove compliance.

Learn more about how to capture and manage ALL your employee spend and mitigate regulatory risks with SAP Concur.

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Caitlin Strickling

About Caitlin Strickling

Caitlin Strickling is an associate content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Caitlin earned her degree in Communication from Santa Clara University and enjoys leveraging her experience in SMB, enterprise, and product marketing to create thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. When she isn’t in the office, she’s out exploring Bay Area breweries or relaxing with a good book.