For any travel manager, manager approvals of business travel expenses can be the worst nightmare. This is because there isn’t any control that exists. But the reason why many people still insist for the approval of travel expense reports is that the violators of travel policy can stand fully exposed. What about those who are scrupulously honest in the travel dealings? AI brings you the best of both worlds – combating fraudulent transactions and handsomely rewarding the scrupulous.

If a reliable study by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners is anything to go by, employees who commit fraud in matters of expense reports are increasingly found to involve in occupational fraud. This said the study also shows that 70% of staffs are good travellers without any dubious record of risky behaviour. The reports also states that though a quarter of travellers are occasional offenders, the risks aren’t that high; violations, not deliberate and deviations mainly due to their nescience of business travel policies. These are the cohort of people who must be notified that the company has a travel policy in place.

There are a small number of executives that intentionally cover up behaviour knowing that it is wrong—making self-booking which isn’t covered in the travel policy, as an example. This is where a company’s travel policy should come into action. You can’t turn a blind eye to the 5% of employees engaged in high-risk activities, some of which are tantamount to fraud, the study indicates.

The biggest advantage of AI is that it can reduce friction with ‘good’ travellers, educate occasional offenders and prevent high-risk user activities. It can monitor transactions and identify potential fraud transactions by comparing travel expenses incurred across different company departments and against other firms. AI paves the way forward for travel spend management and auditing to be more insightful, intuitive, and efficient with an increased rate of compliance; there is every reason why companies should adopt AI in the travel management process, at least this year. Let’s continue with how AI can lead the transformation process in travel expense management in the subsequent blogs.

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