Small and midsized companies have invested in their expense
management processes over the past year, though a significant percentage
continue to use manual process in managing expenses, according to Center's
annual Expense Management Trends survey.
The survey of more than 300 accounting and finance
professionals showed that about of third use some combination of manual
processes, such as spreadsheets or paper, for expense reporting. That includes
38 percent of "large" companies, which Center—a corporate card and
expense platform that focuses on the SME market—defined as one with 1,000 or
more employees. While still a substantial percentage, it marks a "sizeable"
drop from the 2021 survey, in which 48 percent of total companies and 60
percent of large companies reported employing manual expense processes,
according to Center.
Automated expense reporting was more common among mid-sized
companies in the survey—defined as those with between 100 and 1,000
employees—with only a quarter saying they used spreadsheets or other manual
processes. Of those in the upper size range of that set, between 500 and 1,000
employees, only 16 percent said they used manual processes, the survey
The survey also indicated the businesses have increased
corporate card distribution, particularly as they move to more hybrid or remote
working situations, according to Center. More than half of respondents said
they are issuing more corporate cards now than three years ago, though some
still do not issue corporate cards at all. That includes 48 percent of small
companies—defined as under 100 employees—14 percent of midsized companies and 23
percent of large companies.
T&E policies were an issue for most companies in the
survey, with 58 percent saying their policies were either outdated on
nonexistent. Additionally, 44 percent said they did not use corporate booking
tools in their program, with the most frequently cited reason being lack of
knowledge of available tools.
About half of the companies in the survey said they expect
their business travel spending levels to increase over the next one to three
years. "This finding makes intuitive sense as companies continue to adjust
to hybrid workforces and travel as a necessity to keep teams connected and
productive," according to the report.