Pain Points and Expense Reports

It may not be the most exciting topic, but expense reports are something every company must address. The expense reporting process is different at each company and often differs by region, too – you can learn more about that in my previous post on the state of expense reporting across the globe. Even the most refined expense reporting system can have its share of pain points.

In a recent GBTA Foundation survey, conducted in partnership with HRS, travel buyers identified the beginning steps including setting up an expense report, entering the data and attaching receipts as the most troublesome.


When you look at companies that internally-process expense reports without third-party software, half of travel buyers find setting up expense reports (49 percent), entering the data (54 percent) and attaching receipts (55 percent) as major pain points. Not surprisingly, majorities of those outsourcing the expense reporting process or using third-party software say these areas need no improvement.

While travel buyers don’t find steering the expense report through the proper channels for approval and processing as big of an obstacle as compiling and submitting the report, this area of expense reporting actually presents the greatest challenge to companies’ time and money.

Roughly 19 percent of expense reports contain errors and it costs $52 and takes 18 minutes to correct each of those expense reports containing errors or misinformation – that amounts to half a million dollars and almost 3,000 hours spent correcting expense reports each year for the average company. That is time and money that could be better spent elsewhere.

These pain points all present opportunities for improvement, so companies can find ways to increase efficiency saving money, time and resources. With the rapid introduction of new financial products in the business travel industry, companies should continually evaluate their existing practices and business needs to ensure they are working as efficiently and cost consciously as possible.