How the Right Software Can Improve T&E Compliance

By The Center Team on February 26, 2024

To uncover how small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) use travel and expense management tools, Center surveyed 200+ US finance leaders for our 2024 Annual Trends Survey Report. We found that across the board, work looks a lot different than it did even just a few years ago and many businesses are searching for opportunities to reign in extraneous costs. 

The workforce is now well-settled into being hybrid and distributed. This means corporate card usage and business travel are trending up. Finance teams that want to better control decentralized spend must leverage tools that can automate policy and influence employee behavior. 

Challenge: Encouraging Employees to Follow Policy

One essential aspect of managing corporate spend lies in creating, educating about, and enforcing a travel and expense (T&E) policy. However, employee behaviors don’t conform to written policies overnight or just because they exist—it takes the right tools and implementation for this to be successful. And with only 39% of companies currently having a written, up-to-date policy, intelligent card programs are needed more than ever.

A T&E Policy is Only One Part of the Solution

With a third of companies admitting their policies are outdated and 22% lacking any written policy, it’s no surprise that nearly 40% of respondents reported that more travel reservations are happening on sites or apps outside of designated booking platforms—even though 32% have introduced stricter policies. 

Creating—and educating about—a T&E policy is two-fold. For businesses wanting to gain control of travel spend, building a T&E policy is an essential step, but it’s just one part of how companies can get in front of leakage. The survey revealed that employee understanding and awareness of existing policies remain a top challenge, indicating that a strategic T&E policy rollout could improve employee adoption and adherence.

Improve Compliance with the Right Software

To move compliance in the right direction, companies must combine well-thought-out T&E policies with intelligent expense management tools—and most (60%) of finance leaders would consider integrated travel, expense, and card management experience. For businesses wanting to say goodbye to decentralized spend, tools that automate policy are not only helpful, but they are a must-have for today’s modern finance teams. The right software will give you built-in policy controls to guide travelers through a compliant booking process that gives you real-time purchase data—and eliminates the visibility gap.

View Center’s 2024 Annual Trends Survey Report to explore more insights on the evolving practices of expense management.