A new report jointly published by CFO Europe Research Services and Amadeus, global travel service provider namely “Cost Control and Beyond” has a few interesting things to say in the relationship between a company’s CFO and travel manager to control travel costs and improve travel efficiency, one of which is that only 40% of CFOS are contended with the level of cost savings achieved by the business travel programmes in their organization.  CFOs from Europe, the US and Asia Pacific, belonging to various industrial sectors, participated in this joint study that ventured into something that hasn’t been fully explored to this day – corporate travel management.

Another interesting find has been that CFOs, world over, view travel only in cost-control perspectives so far and for this reason, it hasn’t made any inroads into an organization’s overall cost control programmes. CFOs look beyond the ambit of direct travel costs to the advantages of advanced travel technologies, service excellence and travel employee productivity, the study found.

The biggest advantage of a robust relationship between CFOs and corporate travel managers is that it can lead to direct cost savings which happen through better supplier negotiations and deals and stringent view of travel spend across the entire organization.  This can also have an effect on the way travel teams focus on improving employee productivity and end-to-end corporate IT systems and infrastructure.

Key findings are particularly significant against the background of economic volatility, with companies, globally, struggling to reduce costs without any compromise on travel standards:

  • On an average, two-thirds of CFOs that participated in the study gave a rating of 63% and 66% for booking tools and automated expense reporting tools respectively as having medium to high cost saving components.
  • CFOs require travel managers help systemise staff productivity saving employees’ time pre-travel (booking and planning), and cut-down the indirect travel costs during travel and on return (travel spend reporting and reconciliation).
  • About 71% of CFOs said that it is essential to incorporate travel technology into expense management systems; nevertheless, just 18% say their firms have deployed these systems. ERP and HRM databases are also thought of as important in the journey of travel costs control, but again there is visible performance gap.
  • Almost three in four CFOs were of the opinion that travel managers should focus on improving travel operator, vendor and supplier relationship. This, according to the study, has been an area of concern. A single view of travel data and information spanning across the entire organization will bolster supplier relationship and gain acceptance with the finance department by ticking the following:
  1. Fact-and stat-based information on improving profitability
  2. The ability to monitor travel spends, either as a group or individually, for tighter cost control
  3. Resource capability for better budgeting and forecasting

The study also shows that almost half of the CFOs that participated in it are still not fully certain of the business advantages of ‘green’ travel

The whole objective of this study is to bridge the gap between travel management and finance departments and how they can work together with technology complimenting the efforts to bring travel costs down. This said there is an apparent lag in keeping cost down. Only a travel management app like Tripeur can raise the transparency and efficiency levels with greater control of travel programmes.

All said and done, only 27% of respondents felt the relationship between travel service and finance departments to be meaningful and effective. The CFOs, though, should take the final call on travel budget/spend and investments in travel tech, with the driving force being the travel service department.

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