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Shared Services and the Corporate Travel Function Reporting Relationship

For the end-to-end Travel Process, Shared Services often has responsibility for the Expense Reporting portion.  The Corporate Travel function, where activities such as travel bookings and negotiating travel discounts take place, doesn’t necessarily align with the Expense Reporting process and often does not report into Shared Services.

Recently, a Peeriosity member representing a $50B+ global company with 30,000+ employees was exploring opportunities for moving the Corporate Travel function from Human Resources to Shared Services and was challenged by their HR leadership team, who was confident that alignment with HR was a consistent model at peer companies.  To find out, the member worked with Peeriosity to create iPollingTM questions to discover where the Corporate Travel function typically reports, and the level of satisfaction with the reporting relationship.

Within 24 hours, 45 member companies responded, providing the member with direct insight into the approaches followed, with the ability to follow up directly with peers to discuss their experiences.  The results were compelling, with the Corporate Travel function reporting to Shared Services for 38% of the companies and to Procurement for 29%.  Reporting into Finance or HR was less likely, at 16% and 13% respectively.

Based on the iPollingTM results and supporting follow-up discussions, the member company has received approval of their business case to change the alignment from Human Resources to Shared Services to obtain the associated synergies.

 chart result on where the travel function reports to in a company ipolling result

When asked, “Does the placement work well?” for 51% the response was “Yes”, with an additional 21% responding “Yes – but it could be better placed”, and only one company reported that the current alignment didn’t work.  26% of member companies were neutral on the question. Peeriosity members have full visibility of the data that correlates satisfaction levels associated with organizational placement.

ipolling results on the placement of corporate travel function and effectivity

As is true for almost every iPollingTM question, additional comments included with poll responses help to clarify the approaches at member companies.  Here are some of the comments:

·         Our program is in Shared Services and rolls up under our Finance department. Being in Shared Services, we’re able to standardize our processes and use our access to each of our divisions to better monitor travel-related purchases to ensure compliance with our Corporate policies.

·         We’ve recently switched our travel provider to American Express travel and we utilize a Concur platform. Our Treasury function manages the relationship with American Express.

·         We are consolidating and centralizing our corporate Travel program within our Shared Service Center. Travel Expenses, Credit Card and Travel Booking are being centralized within our Shared Service Operation, in partnership with banking and travel vendors.

·         I believe Travel can fit well in any of the functions listed. In our Company, HR has responsibility for Travel; however, accounting for expenses through expense reporting resides within Finance.

·         As part of Shared Services, we consistently focus on standardizing our processes and are in the process of rolling out a Global Travel Policy and Procedures.

·         We just recently moved the Travel team to Procurement from Financial Shared Services to better align the negotiations and procurement of our services. The corporate travel card and travel expense management remain in Financial Shared Services.

·         Our Global Travel team is part of our Shared Services Group under Finance. Travel is a unique group regardless of which group it is part of, but the link to the Global Expense/Travel policy makes it the best fit for Shared Services.

·         Our Corporate Travel function is currently not part of Shared Services. This would be a better placement.

·         Corporate Travel reports into Procurement.  There would be synergies to align the Corporate Travel function with the Travel Expense process in Shared Services.

Where does the Corporate Travel function report at your company?  Is this an area where a modest investment could yield significant results?

Who are your peers and how are you collaborating with them?



 “iPollingTM” is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from participating or accessing content. Members have full visibility of all respondents and their comments. Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, members can easily communicate at any time with others who participate in iPolling.


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