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NBTA : November 2008
xx 00 09 Travelling Smart Travelling smarter means spending smarter. Executives want to invest in growth but that investment must be maximised and expenses kept in check. That includes travel expenses. Across the board, executives recognise the need to improve efficiency, with 87% saying process improvements would play a role in making more efficient use of company resources. Spending and procurement practices, workforce productivity and administrative processes were the key areas that companies planned either some or many improvements. One way companies get more bangs for their travelling buck is by automating travel management process. An automated process means better reporting, which means better visibility of expenses. This delivers a better understanding of travel spend, which means better control over travel expenses. An obvious target for better process management is air travel, especially given the knock-on effect of high fuel prices on air fares. Although travel expenses comprise only 8-10% of company expenses in Asia-Pacific according to Aberdeen Research Group, air travel dominates that expenditure, averaging 80%. The majority of company executives intend to focus on improving automation in expense management, business travel bookings and accounts payable, and the survey examined the current level of automation for these areas. For 17% of companies, expense management is still a highly manual process, while for 22%, business travel bookings is still a highly manual process. These are surprisingly high statistics for companies of the size surveyed. Certainly companies are more sophisticated in the way they use data from their corporate card program to strengthen their negotiation power with suppliers such as airlines and hotels, or analyse the trade-off between airline loyalty and travel policies that require employees to buy the lowest available fair. However, the low level of automation represents a drain on precious resources. Investing in expense management services is crucial to improving efficiency. “The research results seem to indicate that Asian companies are comfortable with their ability to groworganically with their investments and purchases focused on supporting this,” The Upshot The American Express/CFO Research Global Business & Spending Monitor survey reveals that companies in Australia and Asia are not afraid of uncertain economic conditions. They will take the lessons learned from previous downturns to guide today’s spending plans and, literally and figuratively, travel towards growth and prosperity. For further information, please contact Katie Rodwell on +61 7 3369 5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org Volume 1 Issue 1 Asia Pacific Corporate Traveller