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5 travel and expense challenges and how to overcome them

Fraedom insights

At Fraedom, we talk to and work with businesses of all shapes and sizes every day and help them to overcome some of the challenges they are facing within their business and industry.

Be it an existing customer who needs to adapt to a change in priorities or a prospective customer who wants to transform how they work – we’ve seen it all.  More often than not there are some clear similarities with the problems they’re facing and the recommendations we make that can help them. 

One of the key challenges that we see time and time again is how can businesses manage their travel and expenses (T&E) more efficiently. Often their goals are very similar: reduce the amount of time spent on admin; cut down on processes; and save money.

Below are five of the key T&E challenges we see on a regular basis, and some suggestions for what can be done to overcome them.

1) How can I get rid of paper and spreadsheets?

Let technology do the heavy lifting. In this digital age too many businesses are still managing T&E using paper forms and spreadsheets.  Businesses are wasting so much time processing and reconciling expenses on pieces of paper with stapled receipts.  These pieces of paper are then sent via snail mail and unpicked on the other end, and then finally (manually) entered into one or more systems.  It’s hugely time consuming! Half of all businesses claim that inefficient processes are their biggest challenge when it comes to managing travel and expenses 

Our tip: Do away with paper and spreadsheets and let technology digitise the entire process for you.

2) How can I gain greater visibility of what’s being spent? 

Gather all business spend together for greater control. You’ll no doubt have numerous travel suppliers; from high street travel agents, to your employees favourite boutique hotel, to a range of travel and comparison websites. Sometimes you are invoiced for travel; or you pay on corporate cards or out of your own pocket and claim it back.  With so many disparate spending points and different payment types it’s hard to get a clear view of what is actually being spent and when.

Our tip: Capture all travel and expense spend in one place to improve control.  Once you can see what you’re spending, you’ll be able to make better decisions.

3) How do I get the costs down for business trips?

Save money through exclusive rates and fares. Companies that travel frequently are able to negotiate volume discounts directly with airlines and hotels. This means for those that travel less, they are paying far more for their travel – but why should you miss out and how do you get access to these exclusive discounts.

Our tip: You can get access to better rates by tapping into a network that has already secured these for you.

4) How can I cut down on the amount of time my staff spend booking trips?

Your employees are spending valuable time researching the best deal, looking for the best rates, and comparing costs for a trip using multiple websites.  It’s quite likely that the time they spend researching will actually cost you more money than they’re saving. Add in the time spent submitting and reconciling expenses on return from the business trip and that’s even more time wasted...

Our tip: Make it quick and easy for them; by giving them access to a business booking tool means you can be confident they’re getting the best rates without having to trawl the internet for hours. They can book everything (flights, accommodation, car hire) all in one place. Then, make it easy for them to manage their expenses in the same system.

5) Isn’t it difficult and expensive to implement a T&E solution?

No, managing your T&E is easier than you think. We know you’re busy and have other priorities competing for your time, but managing your T&E is a really easy one to fix. There are a number of tried and tested (often free) solutions out there developed with your needs in mind making it easy for you to sign up and get started.

Our tip: Pick an out of the box SaaS solution that is quick and easy to set up, ideally there should be no configuration or setup costs to worry about either. If the solution ticks both of these boxes you’ll be up and running in no time and will be well on your way to the freedom of control.

At the end of the day, what have you got to lose?  It’s so easy; you should just go for it.

What business doesn’t want to reduce manual processes; capture all their spend in one place to improve visibility and control; get cheaper rates on their travel, and free up staff to get on with their day jobs?

Download our top tips guide to see how you can save time and money.