Study: Businesses Loosen the Purse Strings to Cover Travel Expenses

expensesThe new Business Travel Expense Trends survey has revealed some interesting insights about the spending habits of many U.S.-based organizations.

Certify, the world’s leading cloud-based expense report management software provider,  developed this survey featuring 137 North American companies. Fifty-eight percent of respondents spent more on travel in 2013 compared with their 2012 spending.

Travel expenses are known as one of the most common work-related tax deductions.  The Business Travel Expense Trends survey shows that businesses are demonstrating a little more flexibility in terms of their operational expenses. In 2014, 49 percent of all survey respondents said they plan to spend slightly more on travel expenses. Thirty percent said their expenses will remain the same.

Even with the availability of conferencing tools and remote collaborations, many companies are still experiencing difficulty with doing business remotely. A majority of small businesses (54 percent) are spending under $50,000 annually on travel, with $500,000 to $1,000,000 (17 percent), and $1,000,000 to $5,000,000 (24 percent).

Among small businesses, 80 percent of survey respondents utilize travel websites when booking travel. Among large and midsize enterprises, it was common to use a variety of methods including software, websites and travel agencies.

The survey examined pain points and processes in the field of travel management. Employees failed to send in expense reports by deadline was named the top complaints, as well as employees losing receipt, policy review and length of approval times.

In terms of improving these processes, the challenges included cost reduction, improving visibility and the frequency of disallowed expenses. The expense report approval and creation process was noted as a potential area for improvement, along with mobility, systems integration and travel booking. Expense management tools included web-based systems, spreadsheets and ERP or accounting packages.

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