When COVID-19 brought travel around the globe to a standstill, perhaps the single bright spot for traveling organizations, once the challenge to get travelers safely home had passed, was the opportunity it created. The opportunity to use the pause button to get organized, reevaluate processes and explore new technologies.
Yet, expense leaders also found themselves facing a new set of challenges. Overnight, many workforces switched from in-person to fully remote.
The standard for what qualified as a valid business expense became less clear-cut than when it previously applied mostly to business trips. At the same time, the sharp economic decline placed new pressure on organizations to control expenses, with the ability to absorb overspend eliminated.
This climate likely created even greater headaches for organizations still using manual expense processes, which limit a finance leader’s ability to oversee spend in real time and put an added burden on employees when they have to submit expense reports from a remote environment.
If you’ve managed to weather the storm of the past six months, well done. It’s not been easy.
The question is, what happens when travel returns and business spending gears back up again?
We know it may yet be a long road to recovery. According to American Express card data, global T&E spend bottomed out in April and remained down 75% year over year at the beginning of July. And while at least 65% of travel organizations say they expect to resume U.S. domestic travel again between the next 2 to 6 months, according to the most recent GBTA poll data, it’s always difficult to trust survey data built on asking people to predict how they may behave.
Nevertheless, as things remain incredibly uncertain, now is the time to do everything you can to be sure your organization is building a foundation that cuts outdated processes from your expense program for a stronger future.