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Successfully Consolidating and Standardizing the Travel Expense Process Area

As companies continue to consolidate decentralized operations from across the globe, the necessity to standardize the T&E process becomes quickly apparent.  Not only do employees often need to be transitioned to a different card and expense reporting system, but policies also need to be made as consistent as possible and cardholders need the necessary training as the result of all these changes.

During a recent Peeriosity PeercastTM, a global company with over 45,000 employees shared their experiences in the consolidation of their existing Travel Expense processing locations and then rolling out a new global T&E process world-wide to all their operating units.  Phase One of this initiative was the consolidation of all U.S.-based processing locations, many of which existed due to a major acquisition that took place in 2011.  Since the policies, processes, travel card providers, travel agencies, and employee support mechanisms were different between the two companies, this was a very complex consolidation effort.  The good news was that both companies had been on the same expense reporting system, but on different instances, which was a major plus for the project.

Once the U.S. consolidation effort was completed in early 2013, the focus then shifted to Phase Two, which was the consolidation and expansion of their new T&E design on a global basis, with over 20 countries being included within the scope of the project.  The following chart outlines their overall approach regarding the tools that were used with this new design.

The feature company also shared details around their T&E process objectives, policy enforcement, supplier partnerships, the employee roll-out strategy, and key learnings, all of which are available to members on the Peeriosity website.

Also associated with this PeercastTM were two iPollingTM questions that provide insight regarding the status of the T&E process at the participating companies, as well as what would be their most desired improvement opportunity.   Looking at the results of the first question, over half (58%) of the companies described their Travel Expense process as either “World Class” (25%) or “Very Good” (33%).  An additional 33% indicated that they have a solid process in place, but there are some improvement opportunities they would like to address.  Finally, just 8% of the companies said that the process “Needs Attention”. 

The second question asked what aspect of the Travel Expense process would the company like to change, if possible.  The response key offered a wide variety of options, with all of them receiving votes.  The most predominant responses were changing receipt retention/submission requirements (21%), updating the travel policy to be more restrictive (17%), and implement a new system (17%).

These poll results show that there continues to be a wide variety of challenges in the Travel Expense process area, even with the great strides companies have made in this area in the past few years.

Below are some of the comments provided by Peeriosity members on this poll topic:

Consumer Products & Services Member:  We have implemented Concur in several markets and working with the business to gain funding to expand the solution to more countries. The U.S. and Canada will be fully on Concur by May 2015. Many countries in Europe and AMENA are using manual processes.

Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals, Biotech Member:  Reviewing receipt requirements and challenging the markets as to what is absolutely necessary would be significant improvement to our process, giving employees back valuable time for their core responsibilities.

Manufacturing Member:  Looking at tools like Caseware to improve on our robotic audit processes.

Consumer Products & Services Member:  Headcount for T&E is very light. The system works very well.

Manufacturing Member:  We need to improve the reporting and analytical capability.

Agriculture & Mining Member:  Standardization of report submission on a global view.

Manufacturing Member:  U.S. and Canada operations are world class. We are transitioning other parts of the world using common systems, processes, and global card.

Computers & Electronics Member:  We are implementing Oversight to use analytics to better determine employee compliance.

How standardized is your company’s Travel Expense process?  Are there opportunities for further improvements and standardization that can be put into place to streamline this important process area?

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

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“PeercastsTM” are private, professionally facilitated webcasts that feature leading member company experiences on specific topics as a catalyst for broader discussion.  Access is available exclusively to Peeriosity member company employees, with consultants or vendors prohibited from attending or accessing discussion content.  Members can see who is registered to attend in advance, with discussion recordings, supporting polls, and presentation materials online and available whenever convenient for the member.  Using Peeriosity’s integrated email system, Peer MailTM, attendees can easily communicate at any time with other attending peers by selecting them from the list of registered attendees. 

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

Peeriosity members are invited to log into www.peeriosity.com to join the discussion and connect with Peers.   Membership is for practitioners only, with no consultants or vendors permitted.  To learn more about Peeriosity, click here.

 



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