Travel and Expense management promises exciting business proposition for banks, NBFCs and FIs to attract talent and drive consumer satisfaction.
Digitization is sweeping across Corporate India. The BFSI (Banking, Financial Services and Insurance) industry has been leading from the front here – cashless transaction, m-banking, wallet functionalities and innovation in card payments have made BFSI a more agile and personalized industry.
But, most of these innovations have predominantly been on the consumer front. When it comes to the corporate/enterprise world, companies are still trapped in paper bills, cash transactions and hardbound files saved for audit trails.
In fact, 95 percent of Indian companies still do not have a corporate card for anything more than their top 10 executives. The rest of the employees incur travel expenses from their own pockets and then get reimbursed. This presents a huge business opportunity in corporate reimbursements, further supplemented by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) making digitisation of paper vouchers mandatory in 2017.
The opportunity has led to a slew of innovations in the last few years, making corporate Travel and Expense (T&E) management an exciting business proposition not just for the start-ups and corporates but also for banks, NBFCs and FIs to attract employee talent as well as drive consumer satisfaction.Some of these innovations include -
- Cloud adoption for an optimized cashless business expense management-
Instead of old-fashioned paper records, copious amounts of spreadsheets and files to save data, CFOs and CIOs today want data at their fingertips. With increased focus on data analytics and management, enterprises are banking on cloud solutions to deliver data insights in the desired format within the desired time. This includes innovations where start-ups have reinvented the expense workflow with Prepaid Visa and Master Cards that can be managed and controlled via desktop and mobile. Employees use these Prepaid Cards for business expenses which can be monitored by company admins via web or mobile dashboard, in real-time.
- Self-booking Tools for seamless travel management –
Considering the digital Indian of today, adoption of self-booking tools by corporates is a great way to ensure smoother T&E processes. Self-booking tools offer businesses the three most important features in any travel program - Control, Compliance & Savings. Compared to conventional models, self-booking tools enable travel managers to have real-time view of their travel costs enabling quicker decision making and guarantees 100% compliance to their travel policies whilst providing complete transparency. It is estimated that using a self-booking tool can result in savings of about 10 - 12% due reducing the delay in selecting the itinerary and ticketing.
- Co-branded Credit Cards for Corporate Travel –
The banking industry has been quick to embrace this opportunity. For instance, HDFC in association with a leading T&E start-up launched a new prepaid card last year for corporate travellers. They can seek trip advances, receive pre-approved trip itineraries, do trip bookings and file trip expenses digitally and on the move. On the other hand, the cards allow management to track travel expenditure in real time, approve travel claims, implement travel policies and view travel spend analytics from a single, cloud-based platform.
- Using WhatsApp to reduce T&E hassles -
One of the key pain areas for the employees is timely reimbursement of their travel expense. Herein, WhatsApp business solutions to notify employees at every step of the process is a great way to keep them informed and reduce follow ups and process falls. Thus, a WhatsApp integration can be quite cost effective when it comes to T&E management.
The scope for digitisation of corporate reimbursements is huge, especially in the BFSI sector where payment innovation is already underway. Combining digitised corporate payments solutions for both vendor management as well as employee benefit payments can be a win-win for both the BFSI and T&E industry.
Author: Andy Watson is Senior Vice President and General Manager for SAP Concur Asia Pacific Japan and Greater China. The views expressed in this article are that of the author and not of moneycontrol.com or its management.