For employees and Chief Financial Officers alike, technology is changing the face of how we work. And it’s not just a case of replacing paper with a digital equivalent. Technology is opening up new opportunities to improve efficiency and productivity at a time when travel and expenses are becoming harder to manage for many companies. The mix of different procedures, regulations and partners is adding more complexity than simplicity to the task of business mobility.
Thanks to high tech, expense management processes are increasingly being rolled out to employees in the form of mobile and web apps. Not long ago, a mobile device would have been a gateway to a standard website. Today, those websites are designed for mobile access right from the start, making them far easier to navigate. Better still, the leading platforms now offer seamless access to their different benefits and rewards partners. For employees, it means the hassle of creating passwords for a host of microsites is a thing of the past.
The practical advantages of these platforms are clear. Mobile apps never close at the end of the working day, and give employees the chance to manage their expenses in real-time whenever they wish. Today, artificial intelligence enables companies to tailor accounting packages to each individual employee, according to their personal profile.
Meanwhile, if technology is helping the staff, it can be even more valuable for company executives – particularly CFOs. As new platforms and tools are developed, financial oversight can become a far more efficient process. Not only does productivity increase in the finance department, CFOs also have a clearer visibility of the cost of running their employee schemes. In turn, this also helps them to make more informed decisions at a strategic level. In fact, a study by CFO Research and American Express found that 69% of senior finance executives believe that their companies would benefit from better control over travel and expenses. Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services uses technology to support CFOs and employees in precisely this way. Two digital tools in particular are helping clients to manage their travel arrangements and expenses more efficiently, Xpenditure and Maya.
The Xpenditure app uses a smartphone’s camera to capture the details of an expense receipt and send the claim for reimbursement. With real-time reporting and a link to corporate accounting systems, it’s a powerful tool for CFOs – and a boon for employees. “For us, it is very important to constantly innovate our processes and tools, to reduce administration and to increase efficiency,” says Cindy Peeters, Finance Director of Deloitte Belgium. “Thanks to Xpenditure we know faster how much we spent on a certain project or client. Also, we get information about a large part of the expenses during the same month, so we can immediately start to control and process that part. This reduces significantly the amount of work to be done at the end of each month.”
Beyond its contribution to expense management, the tool also fits into a bigger technology trend. “We want to make the financial department paperless,” says Jan De Raeymaeker, CFO of Brussels Airlines, which is using Xpenditure. “For example, we now receive all the invoices digitally. That makes all the business flows within the company easier.”
Maya provides employees with a travel booking platform that combines ease-of-use with their company’s travel policies. Its database of 700,000 hotels can be customized to highlight recommended hotels – for being near a customer or company site, or having a specially-negotiated room rate. The platform can also be tailored to make business class available for long-haul flights only – with the company defining what counts as long-haul.
With its seamless and easy to use mobile and web apps, Sodexo Benefits and Rewards Services provides a one-stop solution for business travel that is transforming the travel and expense experience. Good for employees, it’s a valuable addition to any finance department.
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