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GCN : October and November 2016
SPONSORED CONTENT administrative burden on the system in general. It’s not difficult. Federal employees simply pay for every thing with their government-issued travel cards and those expenses are automatically uploaded into the travel system. To prove the point, Concur analyzed the data from two government contractors, which typically bill the government for business travel taken to support govern- ment contracts. In most cases, contractors reimburse travelers the actual amount of expenses incurred, while the government reimburses the contractor based on the prevailing per diem rate. By comparing actual meal and incidental expenses directly with per diem rates, Concur found the actual amount spent was significantly less than the federal government’s per diem rate. All told the federal government could save as much as one-third of the amount it currently spends on meals and incidental expenses. Another area ripe for savings is billing of fees. Most federa l government employees use travel cards to pay for travel-related expense fees. The expenses charged to those cards must then connect from the travel system to the financial system, resulting in a complex reconciliation process. Moving to a simpler commercial billing model would save money and cut dow n on costly administrative oversight. Enable Innovation Cumbersome processes and outdated pol- icies are significant roadblocks to innova- tion. Take the example of mobile apps—one of the most beneficial innovations in travel systems today. With employees submitting expenses on the go and making changes on the fly—and with administrators approv- ing travel in real-time—agencies can both increase ef ficiency and save money. One study from Aberdeen found that organizations save 4.5 hours per month by letting employees use mobile expense reporting and travel apps. Some companies generate even more benefits. The Washington Nationals, for example, reduced expense reimbursement time by 25 percent by letting staff submit claims any where and at any time. While some agencies such as NASA have beg un piloting a mobile capability for travel, many more could be taking advantage of these benefits. That same Aberdeen repor t found the biggest challenge in expense source capture is the paper receipt. It recommends using a mobile app to take a snapshot of the receipt, then converting this image to a line item on the expense report, much like source capture from a travel booking system or travel card. Apply the Right Technology When used in concert with updated policies, the right tools can improve the entire travel experience, from management and reimbursement through to auditing and reporting. TToday ’s cloud-based travel systems make it much easier for travelers to book their ow n travel without violating applicable travel policies, while also permitting their agencies to streamline the expense reporting and reimbursement process, broaden reporting capabilities and improve visibility throughout the process. While technology can go a long way toward streamlining federa l government travel, it works best when agencies take the time to first reinterpret or reevaluate policies and processes. Without that important step, the federal government won’t be able to take f ull advantage of streamlined, automated processes and their associated productivity and cost savings. Coincidentally, the struggle for modernization, whether mov ing from a paper-based to an automated system, or applying technology innovations in managed travel, isn’t exclusive to just the federal government. Organizations across the public sector, including state and local agencies and government contractors, struggle with some of the same concerns. All government agencies need reliable systems and processes in place so they can focus on ser v ing their mission. For more information, please visit concur.com. EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS: TRAVEL MANAGEMENT Big Returns from Cloud-based Travel Management Recent research from IDC found organizations moving to cloud-based business travel and expense management solutions are achieving business benefits of roughly $55,000 per 100 users over three years. IDC attributed the savings to these specific benefits: • Reduced amount of employee time lost in planning business travel and completing business reports • Less staff time required to support business travel and expense report management • Cost savings through enhanced visibility and improved compliance with organizational travel and expense policies • Audit operations are more robust and efficient while minimizing the risk associated with improper expenses and lost receipts • More robust and efficient audit operations, with less risk associated with improper expenses and lost receipts
August and September 2016
January and February 2017