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Claiming travel expenses: The bane of all business trips

Claiming travel expenses, the bane of all business trips

Recently we have been looking at how companies measure the success of their business trips. Our report highlighted that there are two areas to take into consideration here: whether we can improve the traveller experience in positive ways and whether regardless of the perceived success of the trip, we can introduce nudge behaviour that will maintain the traveller experience but at the same time reduce total trip costs.

The traveller experience can always be improved, and people travelling for business will always be asking for more - so where do you start? As preferred partners for SAP Concur, a market leading, cloud based expense and invoice solution, we reached out to them for their insight into managing the bane of all business trips - the expense claim.

It’s become a fact of life for many employees that they need to travel for business and in doing so inevitably end up incurring costs, often paid out of their own pockets, until they can claim that money back. Anyone who has had to claim money back from a company using a paper or spreadsheet based expense process will be familiar with the amount of time and effort goes into manually entering data, collating receipts, submitting claims for approval, waiting for the claim to be processed, and crossing your fingers hoping that money comes back into your bank account before you have to clear your credit card bill.

This is not a great experience for business travellers.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be this way. By using technology to streamline and automate this process, time and money can be saved, compliance improved and employees reimbursed sooner.

Simply being able to take a photograph of a receipt and not having to carry a wad of paper receipts around in your wallet is enough of an improvement for some people.  For others, having an application capable of recognising the data in the digital receipt image to populate the information into your expense claim is satisfying. But for the most fastidious of us, the guarantee of a swift reimbursement, with real-time tracking of where your expense claim is in the approval process, is the key to a good experience.

Concur quote

This is great news for your road warriors and infrequent claimants alike. It’s quick, it’s simple, it’s easy. But how does this affect the spending behaviour of your employees? Surely if claiming money back is easier, won’t they spend more? Well, no.

The advantage of using technology to provide a great expense process is the ability to give travel and expense policy warnings if money is spent incorrectly. Most out of policy spend made by employees is not done so deliberately. It’s a product of simply not knowing - and who can blame them? When was the last time you studied your expense policy in depth? When you tell an employee that they are about to submit an expense claim to their manager with a big red flag on it, you can be sure that they will not want to make that mistake again.

Of course, having access to reports and dashboards at the back end of your process allows every data point captured to be analysed and audited. This data can then be used to re-educate employees on the policy, or even alter your policy if necessary.

If you would like to improve the business travel experience for your employees, whilst simultaneously improving expense management, SAP Concur can help.

The information above has been provided by our partner Concur. For details on using SAP concur expense management, contact our sales team - 0800 731 1627 or email

Concur quote