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HomeMICE IndustryBusiness TravelOutdated expense management processes are costing business travellers time, money, and sanity, finds Banyan survey

Outdated expense management processes are costing business travellers time, money, and sanity, finds Banyan survey

Nearly 40% of respondents would rather eat a worm than file daily expense reports.

NEW YORK CITY, N.Y. – New research from item-level receipt data network, Banyan, shows that business travelers find the expense reporting process bothersome, time-consuming, and error-prone – so much so that they’d go to extreme lengths to avoid it.

Over half (55%) of surveyed business travelers cited the time burden of expense management as their top pain point with the process. The time burden is evident – nearly 6 out of 10 business travelers spend 20 minutes or more organizing materials to file an expense report.

Outdated expense management processes aren’t just stealing employee’s time, they are impacting company’s wallets as well. According to a 2022 study from the Global Business Travel
Association, the mere process of compiling an expense report for a single night’s stay at a hotel incurs an average cost of $58 for a company. Additionally, a whopping 87% of business travelers have had to fix accidental errors on expense reports (or have tasked their internal finance team with fixing it). This adds unnecessary time to the process – and for businesses tightening spending amidst high inflation, that time is money wasted.

Banyan CEO and founder, Jehan Luth, says: “Integrating item-level data into expense management systems is the key to unlock faster, more accurate reporting processes and consequently, more satisfied consumers. This is one of many applications of item-level data that enables brands to create better, more engaging experiences for consumers across all touchpoints of their journey. Key benefits to hotels and merchants include increased revenue and reduced operations expenses, all facilitated by a more efficient process – while consumers and business travelers can save time and energy through automated receipt capture often eliminating the need for an expense report.”

While it may not be their favorite process, research shows that business travelers don’t delay submitting receipts for reimbursement, with 90% of business travelers filing expense reports within a week of returning from their trip. But what happens when they don’t have all of the necessary records? According to respondents, the primary emotions tied to missing receipts from trips are negative, with responses ranging from “frustrated” to “stressed” and even “panicked.”

Just how much do business travelers dislike the expense report process? They’re willing to go to drastic measures to avoid doing expense reports–

  • 1 in 5 business travelers would rather pour lemon juice on a cut than file an expense report.
  • Over one third of travelers would rather have a dentist appointment or renew their driver’s license at the DMV than file an expense report.
  • Nearly 40% of respondents would rather eat a worm once than file an expense report every day for a year.
  • Over a third of respondents would pay $50 or more for someone to do an expense report for them.

Business travel is changing, and companies are falling behind on the trends. Despite 3 out of 4 business travelers having engaged in “bleisure travel” – meaning travel that is a combination of business and leisure – only 61% of business travelers say their company has a policy on bleisure travel. The most common activities that bleisure travelers engage in are connecting with friends and family in the area (73%), sightseeing or tourist activities (73%) and personal dining (71%). During these blended trips, almost half of travelers are using a mixture of personal and business cards to pay for trips – and 63% of business travelers would like increased flexibility in using cards of their choice during bleisure travel, something corporations should take note of when building new bleisure policies. One solution is working with a travel and expense management provider that securely and automatically captures receipt information down to the item-level data – relieving business travelers from the need to track multiple cards separately and limiting time spent on expense reports and time spent on fixing errors in those reports.

As travel trends evolve, CFOs are facing the added challenge of ensuring there is no mix up of personal and professional credit card charges; they need to ensure the company travel budget is paying for hotel rooms, not spa massages. Over half (53%) of business travelers have accidentally put a personal charge on a corporate card, or vice versa. This is particularly imperative to reign in as CFOs are tightening budgets in response to economic conditions.

Michael Budde, Banyan’s Chief Financial Officer, says: “As we face the high probability of a looming recession, finance departments are laser-focused on where to cut costs and improve productivity. Banyan brings a new level of automated transparency to out of policy spending, without the headache and reliance on employees to chase down their receipts. With item-level data applications, the travel and expense budget becomes illuminated as an opportunity for companies to save money and instill a mindset that every dollar spent is receiving the same level of scrutiny.”

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.