The way businesses process travel, expenses, and invoices is rapidly evolving due to advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and Big Data. While these advanced technologies are helping businesses save time, simplify tasks, and deliver richer, more personalised experiences today than ever before, the best is yet to come.
The impact of technology on travel, expense management, and invoicing cannot be overstated. This advanced technology will deliver the next wave of cost savings and efficiency improvements, delivering actionable intelligence and automation and making it easier for everyone in the organisation to comply with expenses policies and procedures.
This technological revolution is driving unprecedented change across travel, expenses, and invoicing in three key areas:
AI helps companies detect noncompliance with company travel and expenses policies. Automated technologies can track and analyse spending activities and trends, and then identify anomalies and patterns in employee expense reports. Companies can then use this information to uncover new ways to reduce costs and improve efficiency.
The traveller experience is evolving with AI-powered travel bots. A great example is Concur Bot for Slack, a private beta currently only open to select customers in North America, that lets users type a command such as “expenses $5 to Uber”, and expense details are automatically uploaded.
Hipmunk, which Concur acquired in 2016, uses natural language processing (NLP) to make travel searches easier and more relevant to traveller interests. Concur anticipates this functionality will be available to Australian customers in 2018.
Using advanced technologies and automated solutions, businesses can collect, store, and analyse data collated across the enterprise. This lets businesses gain insights, visibility, and control of business spend, identify new opportunities, and set clear priorities to achieve business and financial goals.
Data consolidation and process streamlining are becoming a larger part of an organisation’s financial activities. It is important for business leaders to broaden their knowledge-base and frame of reference when it comes to seeking solutions to business problems.
Machine learning has been described as the next competitive frontier. Businesses with machine learning models that perform the best will differentiate themselves and achieve a competitive advantage.
For example, smart machine learning technologies could let users create expense report entries directly from an email or calendar invitation. Machine learning can also automatically process receipts, extract important details including what was purchased, the amount spent, in what currency, from what vendor, and in what location, and then create expense report entries, all without an employee entering a keystroke.
Organisations that implement automated, integrated, end-to-end travel and expense management solutions can reap the benefits of time savings, increased visibility, and better reporting.
Businesses are on the cusp of a technological revolution. As organisations amass greater amounts of data, business owners can acquire cutting-edge consumer apps and new technologies to improve business efficiencies, saving time and money, and let staff concentrate on delivering value to customers instead of managing expenses.