Global business travel is expected to reach U.S. $829.5 billion in 2027, per ReportLinker. Companies achieve proper management of corporate travel by optimizing the traveler’s experience within authorized spending limits for reasonable and necessary business-related expenses. Ensuring compliance with company T&E policies for employees and using modern travel and expense management software helps your business and finance team achieve these goals.
Learn about the benefits of travel and expense management and find the top solutions to simplify your company’s processes. Get started with this comprehensive overview.
What is Travel and Expense Management?
Travel and expense management is a business process for optimizing travel booking costs for business-related employee travel and expense reimbursement, recording these costs in accounting systems, timely reimbursing submitted employee expense reports with supporting receipts, and taking tax deductions for business travel.
The Challenges of Travel and Expense Management
7 challenges of travel and expense management are:
- Getting employees to submit timely business expense reports for reimbursement
- Obtaining receipts for amounts above a specified dollar amount
- Enforcing company travel and employee expense policies
- Getting and monitoring the best travel rates for flights, hotels, and car rentals
- Ensuring that personal vs. business expenses aren’t reimbursed
- Timely approval of expense reports by designated approvers
- Fast expense report reimbursements for employees
Signs Your Business Needs T&E Management Software
Your business needs T&E—travel and expense management software if it spends significant amounts on business travel and other reimbursed employee expenses. Employees may currently take too much time to prepare and submit their expense reports using paper documents. Approvals are taking too long. Employees are complaining that their expense reports aren’t promptly being paid.
Need to improve employee travel and expense management?
The Benefits of Automating Travel and Expense Management
Automating business travel and expense management has these benefits:
- Faster, paperless employee expense capture, coding, approvals, and payments
- Improved company policy compliance and error detection
- Spend management visibility to help you better control costs
- Ability to make effortless and cost-effective global payments to employees in a choice of available payment methods in 196 countries and 120 currencies
- Automatic payment batch reconciliations that speed up the monthly accounting close
How Does T&E Management Automation Work?
T&E management automation (in combination with AP automation) software works by automating these tasks:
- Digitally capturing employee receipts for expense reimbursement
- Coding and recording expenses and accounts payable in your ERP or accounting software
- Applying 26,000+ rules to detect payment errors
- Routing expense report approvals to designated approvers
- Providing a choice of country-available global payment methods in 196 countries and 120 currencies
- Ensuring global regulatory compliance
- Communicating payment status through a portal and by email
- Automatically reconciling payment batches in real time
Employees can submit their receipts for reimbursement through a mobile app to create automated expense reports. Approvers can approve employee expenses through the mobile app or online.
Choosing a T&E Management Automation Solution
When your business is evaluating and choosing a T&E management automation solution for employee travel expense reimbursement and other employee expenses, it should consider software features, expenses and accounts payable audit trail, potential time and cost reductions, customer support availability, and customer satisfaction.
Top-Rated T&E Management Automation Solutions
We highlight some top-rated travel and expense management software for employee travel and expense automation and cloud spend management used by businesses. Also, consider solutions for the best expense approval software.
Tipalti provides one unified system for your business spend, including AP automation, employee expenses, purchase order (PO) automation in procurement, and controlled employee-assigned spending card expenses. Tipalti also handles global payments and offers enhanced Tipalti Multi-FX and Tipalti FX Hedging solutions for foreign currency transactions.
Tipalti AP automation software embeds ChatGPT generative AI features for advanced automated coding and its Tipalti Pi (payables intelligence) digital assistant feature that lets you ask questions to analyze your business spend.
Tipalti Expenses software is an expense management solution that works in combination with Tipalti AP automation software, providing an extensive T&E management feature set. You can use Tipalti Expenses for employees to submit receipts for the reimbursement process and get automated expense report approvals. Tipalti codes employee expenses to general ledger accounts. It lets employees select their preferred payment method for expense reimbursements.
Tipalti’s finance automation software has a clean and modern, user-friendly interface and uses the latest in AI/machine learning, algorithmic rules, database screening, and RPA technologies to reduce fraud risk and errors. Tipalti automation software gives you near real-time visibility for spend analysis with captured expense data. Tipalti’s customer service is available by phone and email with an impressive 98% customer satisfaction rate.
Tipalti also offers another expense management tool, which is a payment card for employee spending called Tipalti Card. The virtual and physical Tipalti Card enhances corporate spend management and expense tracking for employee expenses and automatically reconciles payments. With Tipalti Card, you’re using a system for disbursements vs. reimbursement of employee expenses.
Once you subscribe to Tipalti’s SaaS software, which is add-on software integrated with your ERP or accounting software, Tipalti has additional pricing that only charges a monthly $18 per active user fee for Tipalti Expenses and charges per transaction fee for employee expense reimbursement. Tipalti doesn’t charge connector integration fees or other junk charges that some other T&E solutions may charge customers, making it more cost-effective. Tipalti is a licensed money transmitter in the U.S. and has other e-payment licenses.
SAP Concur offers integrated expense management process, travel, and vendor invoice software for spend management. Its ExpenseIt software is part of the mobile app, where employees digitally capture receipt information for expense claims that is coded in Concur Expense software as part of the expense reporting process. Concur integrates with third-party partners like Hertz, American Airlines, Airbnb, and Uber to capture more digital employee expenses through a partner feed.
The Concur Expense management platform prepares the employee expense report and uses audit rules to detect errors and request more information for missing items from employees. Approvers can use the mobile app to approve employee T&E expenses. Concur provides dashboards for payment status, employee spend visibility, and KPI management.
SAP Concur has offered travel spend and expense management software for a long time. Its legacy system for T&E is not as advanced as Tipalti Expenses and its user interface isn’t as appealing.
SAP Concur charges more types of fees than Tipalti, including a per-expense report fee, monthly flat fees for connector integration charges to an ERP system, and an employee reimbursement payments fee. Concur uses third-party partners for global payments rather than having in-house capabilities and money transmitter licenses.
Expensify is an AI-driven expense management system that offers low-cost monthly SaaS upgrades from its free plan, a mobile device app for receipt scanning from a photo, expense reimbursement, and a corporate card as its spend management solution for business travel expense management. Expensify also works for personal expenses.
- Receipts capture in mobile app
- Credit card transactions import
- Creation of custom company policy rules for flagging expenses and approval workflows
- Reconciliation of corporate cards
- Integrations for accounting, human resources (HR), and travel system
- Multi-level general ledger coding
- Advanced tax tracking
- AI-powered receipt auditing
Navan (formerly TripActions) provides travel and expense management software and corporate card management to control business spend. Navan is an end-to-end corporate travel management solution that starts with booking travel in accordance with your company travel policy and ends with capturing, managing, and paying travel expenses. Navan offers discounted travel rates and helps your company adhere to its policy controls. Navan offers world-class customer support for travelers and business administrators and rewards employees for reducing their travel costs. Users have access to a Navan mobile app.
The Future of Travel and Expense Management Automation
The future of travel and expense management automation is the widespread adoption of AI-driven automation software that’s available now to use on mobile devices and online.
Desirable features of travel and expense management automation include:
- Integration of third-party software for cost-effective and reliable travel booking and travel expense management, including expense report preparation and payment
- Streamlining and simplification of processes for employees
- Mobile device and cloud software availability to employees and approvals from anywhere at any time
- Incorporation of artificial intelligence (AI)/machine learning (ML) in the software.
In this ideal world of business travel:
- Travel costs are optimized
- Payables liabilities for employee expense reimbursement are timely recorded in the accounting system through captured digital receipts
- Paper expense reports aren’t created with the risk of getting physically lost
- Expense reimbursements for company-policy compliant, business-related expenses are fast and accurate, keeping employees motivated
- Corporate spend is analyzed to take actions that improve business results
Tipalti Expenses software, which integrates with your ERP or accounting software and Tipalti’s AP automation software, accomplishes these goals for your company after the employee business travel is booked through a different system or when business expenses are incurred by employees. Access eBook to read more about the benefits of scalable payables automation software.