16 experts advise on what’s to come this year.
Competition in the automated expense reporting space is
intensifying as more than three dozen companies now are marketing solutions.
The latest to join the fray include TRX, which recently added internally
developed Truexpense to its travel technology portfolio, procure-to-pay suite
provider Coupa, which added travel expense tools, human resource services
provider Administaff, which acquired ExpensAble, and a bevy of new mobile
A dozen or so enterprise expense reporting providers during
the past decade have battled competitors—but more often spreadsheet- or
paper-based expense processes—to persuade corporate execs of the time- and
money-saving potential of such automation. Despite periodic market
consolidations, a steady stream of new entrants has helped to expand the
Such products as Aestiva, Certify, Expense Anywhere,
Expenseflo, ExpenseManager, ExpensePoint, ExpenseWatch, ExpenseWire, Expensify,
Exspend and Global Expense have been introduced, some as extensions of other
business or finance suites or as stand-alone products, often aimed at the
millions of midsize businesses. While some products still are delivered as
software, most are software-as-a-service, cloud-based or, increasingly, mobile
apps. Among the latest to tout mobile functionality are Concur Breeze,
iXpenseIt, ProOnGoExpense and TwistSoft's ExpenseManager.
For complex departmental hierarchies, extensive multi-user
approval controls and rules configurations, and tens, if not hundreds, of
thousands of expense reports a year, large enterprises have relied upon Concur,
CyberShift, Databasics, IBM Global Expense Reporting Solutions, Infor, Interplx
Technologies, KDS, SpendVision or the expense add-ons offered by the likes of
Ariba, Oracle/PeopleSoft and SAP. More than 10,000 companies use Concur's
expense products, according to the company. Its stand-alone competitors each
report fewer than 500 customers, and the enterprise resource providers decline
to break down usage of their T&E tools, but the customer deployments
clearly reveal a market with significant corporate growth potential.
The rush of vendors into this space comes as finance and
other corporate executives bemoan risks, costs and lack of visibility into
expenditures as they cite actions or plans to automate, according to various
surveys. In a 2010 survey of 550 financial directors and CFOs, 72 percent said
they increased automation of processes or plan more automation in the next 12
months. The IESE Business School and Indiana University Kelley School of
Business conducted telephone interviews of those executives in Australia,
Benelux, France, Germany, Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the United States
in April and May for financial software provider Basware.
When asked to what extent their companies had automated
travel and entertainment payment and invoicing processing, 19 percent said they
had "completely" done so, 21 percent said "mostly" and 33
percent said "partly." Within the United States, more than one-third
of respondents said they had "mostly" or "completely"
automated T&E payments, but 21 percent said they had done nothing and 7
percent didn't know the status of such automation.
In its most recent survey on travel and expense management
published in February and based on responses from 175 companies, the Aberdeen
Group found that 54 percent of respondents viewed expense management as a "mid-level
strategic function that could drive moderate value to the overall organization,"
according to research analyst Christopher Dwyer. That study also found that 52
percent of enterprises were focused on increasing visibility of their travel
and entertainment spending, 40 percent on improved compliance, 38 percent on
reduced expense processing costs/time and 36 percent on managing travel budget
Similar to the Basware study, Aberdeen found that 45 percent
of companies had fully automated expense management, 30 percent had partially
automated, 5 percent had outsourced and 20 percent processed expenses manually.
Administaff CEO Paul Sarvadi in prepared remarks said his
company bought ExpensAble, which serves more than 5,000 customers in both
software-as-a-service and desktop-software models, to help its customers "looking
to improve productivity and profitability."
Databasics sales director Chris Harley said the company set
record sales in the first quarter of 2010. "On the macro level, the
recession is ending for many businesses, and expense reporting in particular is
an investment with a compelling ROI. The fact that cloud computing has entered
the mainstream is generating a lot of interest in solutions such as ours. Many
organizations are now second-generation users of automated expense reporting
systems and are taking a hard look at what vendors are actually offering in
terms of functionality, integration and support."
This report originally
appeared in Procurement.travel.