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New Study Reveals Pain Points in Expense Reporting

November 12, 2015 Association No Comments Email Email

Each year companies around the globe spend, on average, approximately half a million dollars and nearly 3,000 hours correcting errors in expense reports, according to a new study that identified pain points in expense reporting.


The average cost to to process an expense report for a single night hotel stay is $58, however 19 percent of expense reports contain errors or missing information costing an additional $58 and 18 minutes to correct each expense report.

While the costs for processing expense reports present the greatest challenge to company time and money, travel buyers identified the beginning steps of preparing an expense report as the most troublesome including setting up the expense report (24 percent), entering the data (33 percent) and attaching receipts (37 percent).

Seven in ten (70 percent) travel buyers currently process expense reports internally using third-party software, two in ten (19 percent) process expense reports interally without the help of third-party software and four percent outsource this process entirely. Half of travel buyers at companies internally processing expense reports without third-party software find setting up expense reports (49 percent), entering the data (54 percent) and attaching receipts (55 percent) as a major pain point.

These findings come from a new study, Expense Reporting: Global Practices and Pain Points, conducted by the GBTA Foundation, the education and research arm of the Global Business Travel Association, and sponsored by HRS Global Hotel Solutions. The study findings will be presented today at a Centre Stage session during GBTA Conference 2015 Frankfurt in partnership with VDR.

“This study sought to identify pain points and areas for improvement in the expense reporting process so companies can find ways to improve efficiency saving money, time and resources,” said Joseph Bates, GBTA Foundation Vice President of Research. “With the rapid introduction of new financial products in the business travel industry, companies should continually evaluate their existing practices and business needs to ensure they are working as efficiently and cost-consciously as possible.”

“Corporates are often focused solely on the direct costs, for example the price for flights, accommodation or ground transportation. However optimizing the expense reporting process offers a huge potential for savings. Key is an automated and digital process, which eliminates the need for manual data entries or the attachment of paper receipts,” explains Tobias Ragge, CEO of HRS.

Global Differences in Expense Reporting Practices

  • Travel buyers in North America (86 percent) and Asia-Pacific (84 percent) most often use an expense reporting software, while Latin American travel buyers report using such software at a much lower rate (60 percent). Instead, they are much more likely to use another computer program to submit their expense reports (50 percent, compared to 22 percent of the total). Alternatively, travel buyers in Europe (35 percent), led mostly by Germany (45 percent), are most likely to submit paper expense reports.
  • With receipts, submitting paper receipts remains the most popular method (63 percent), particularly in Europe (81 percent) and Latin America (71 percent). The exception is North America, where majorities of travel buyers report submitting receipts via scanned images (84 percent), electronically (62 percent) and using their smart phone (61 percent).

The study, Expense Reporting: Global Practices and Pain Points, is available exclusively to GBTA members by clicking here and non-members may purchase the report through the GBTA Foundation by emailing pyachnes@gbtafoundation.org.

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