Across all industries, CFOs are modernizing their departments. According to research from TravelBank, finance executives reported that one of their highest priorities for 2023 was adopting new technologies or replacing legacy systems in the finance department (42%).
But when it comes to the areas in which CFOs are adopting new technology, many CFOs are missing out on the benefits of modernizing travel and expenses (T&E). Just 21% of finance executives, for example, reported they believed that T&E would benefit most from enhanced automation.
CFOs that transform T&E achieve time savings for their employees and access to data and insights while driving down policy violations. The advantages of a modern T&E solution can be unlocked through an easy-to-adopt, digital commercial card program.
Overcoming barriers to modernizing T&E
CFOs may be putting off travel and expenses transformation for any number of reasons.
“Now more than ever, CFOs have to do more with less time and fewer resources—so they have limited time to focus on T&E,” says Dan Skaggs, head of product for the U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card. “There's also the perceived, and sometimes very real, pain of switching. CFOs know that training and change management can be really hard, for example. The inertia of doing things the way they’ve always done them often wins out.”
CFOs may also perceive that changing how they do things will disrupt their operations or incur large upfront financial costs—either in the form of vendor startup charges or fees, or IT resources required to get a new system up and running. Alternatively, CFOs may not know that there are digital T&E management solutions capable of meeting their unique needs.
“Most expense management and travel management providers are not digital, and they are targeted toward large corporates,” says Skaggs. “In the middle market, there may not be awareness [among CFOs] that there are cost-effective alternatives that are modern and digital-first.”
Embracing tools that empower CFOs and their teams
Modernizing T&E can deliver substantial benefits to organizations—including middle market companies.
When companies manage T&E using paper checks, legacy systems and manual processes, they often lack clear visibility into spending and experience frequent violations of their T&E policies. In TravelBank’s research, 61% of finance executives reported that their T&E policies are frequently or sometimes violated, and 73% agreed T&E policy violations will become a bigger issue as their companies grow over the next five years.
Managing T&E using a digital solution, on the other hand, empowers CFOs and their teams with real-time visibility into spending, and greater control in the form of built-in policies. And when travel, expenses and commercial cards are all managed through a single digital platform—especially one that’s integrated with their accounting system—CFOs and their teams can also streamline reporting and have total visibility of all spend within a month, quarter or year.
“Instead of having to go to three disparate systems to get information and then try to stitch it together, CFOs and their teams can access and report on all of their data and insights on travel, expenses and commercial cards through a single solution,” says Corynn Cooper, senior product manager, Corporate Payment Systems, U.S. Bank.
Lowering the change management load
Arriving at a single solution doesn’t have to cost companies upfront fees or heavy IT resources. The U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card is available with no annual, platform, card management, or expense and travel management and reporting fees.
In addition, “there's a lower change management load because it's easy and intuitive,” says Skaggs. “It's a simple-to-use platform and the [expense and travel] policies are built in, so you don't have to train your employees on how to use it.”
That lower change management load, coupled with a seamless onboarding process, makes transforming T&E more achievable for many companies. With the U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card, middle market companies can also unlock financial benefits and cost-saving tools that have conventionally only been available to large corporates.
“There's a competitive rebate and lower spend threshold compared to most traditional commercial cards,” says Skaggs. “Our travel management capabilities also give companies scale and cost savings, because they get access to a booking tool as well as bulk rates for airfare, hotels and so on.”
A solution for the future
Ultimately, transforming T&E reduces the time employees spend on manual expense report submission, review and processing while also equipping CFOs with tools that empower their decision-making with more complete data and insights. CFOs can transform T&E—without incurring high startup costs or heavy IT resources—by embracing a digital solution that brings travel, expenses and commercial cards together in a single platform.
To learn more about how the U.S. Bank Commercial Rewards Card replaces time-consuming, manual processes with a single, intuitive platform, connect with a U.S. Bank corporate payment solutions expert today.