Amadeus and Forrester study reveals progress towards travel and expense automation

Amadeus and Forrester study reveals progress towards travel and expense automation

The international study looked at how businesses should be supporting employees in modern digital and hybrid workspaces

by Aidan Poole

Amadeus and research specialist Forrester have released a joint study that reveals the importance of supporting employee experience in an increasingly digitised workplace.

Corporate leaders in the study stressed the need for collaboration in today’s hybrid office while sharing concerns about security risks, compliance and manual processes prone to human error.

The research results came from surveys with 525 travel and expense (T&E) management leaders at large corporations along with five long interviews.

The study reveals progress toward automation, with survey respondents agreeing that T&E is more digitised compared to other company processes at a rate of 80%, compared to 67% from the same survey in 2020.

Despite this, T&E management still poses challenges including manual and fragmented processes, compliance and security.

Around 34% of respondents claimed that managing travel compliances, including visas and work permits, was a main challenge at their companies.

Another 31% cited privacy and security concerns as a central challenge while 30% complained that manual processes hinder employee productivity.

Strengthening integration between T&E technology and other systems was top priority according to 72% of respondents, who had a desire to improve end-to-end experience for travel expenses and expand how teams collaborate for travel planning.

Current substandard performance and negative employee experience could be the result of low integration of corporate systems with T&E tools, according to the study.

Company leaders agreed to the tune of 82 percent that improving T&E processes is needed to increase efficiency and reduce costs, with 79 percent sharing that such improvements would elevate employee experience.

Rudy Daniello, executive vice president of Amadeus Cytric Solutions, said: “Accelerating the digital transformation of travel and expense is a top priority for many organisations as we head into next year.

“As the world of work recalibrates for a hybrid future, processes, technologies and culture need to be updated to drive increased engagement and facilitate better collaboration among employees when planning travel.”

Digitized solutions could increase compliance with travel management policies, with manual processes leaving expense claims open to fraud, human error and compliance concerns, claimed the study.

The research indicates that employees most often complain about paying for travel out of their pocket, which could be overcome by introducing virtual cards and integrated payment solutions.

Half of respondents agreed that such solutions would bring greater visibility and control to travel spending while reducing fraud risks.

Daniello added: “Auditing expense reports can be a lengthy and manual process, especially when employees need to submit paper receipts or when information is collected in spreadsheet-based solutions.

“Fully automated systems, including digital payments, can be an efficient answer.

“Since the pandemic and the move to hybrid work, employee expectations around technology have risen and there has been a considerable drop in satisfaction.

“A focus on employee experience using collaborative technology could help reverse these trends, driving engagement, contributing to a sustainable industry, and lowering costs for corporates.”

Amadeus and Forrester’s study draws on research across Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Nordics, Spain, the UK, Ireland, the US and Canada.

Each of the 525 respondents represents a corporation with revenue ranging from $100 million to $5 billion and an employee headcount ranging from 1,000 to over 20,000 during July and August this year.

The report is available to download for free now.