Why the on-demand generation needs an ecosystem to manage spend

The rise of apps that make life more convenient has created a generation of consumers who want everything on demand, from ride-sharing and meal delivery to movies and even last-minute accommodation. As this trend continues, businesses will look to automate employee spend based on ecosystem integration, according to Concur. 

Matt Goss, managing director, ANZ, SAP Concur, said, “People want technology to work together seamlessly. They don’t want to book a hotel over the phone, get their confirmation via email, and pick up a printed receipt when they check out. They’d rather use an app that can manage the booking and itinerary, integrate it with other travel details such as flights and car hire, then automatically retrieve an electronic receipt that is instantly uploaded to an expense report, which can be seen by their manager and approved straight away. 

“This level of automation makes it easier for employees to keep their spending within company policy, get the best value by booking on demand, and let the company capture all spend-related data directly from the original source immediately, rather than waiting for the employee to submit an expense report.” 

Capturing spend information is hampered by businesses that use paper-based reports and spreadsheets. The 2017 Concur ANZ spend management index revealed that, despite the ready availability of cloud-based, automated systems, the use of spreadsheets actually grew in 2017 to 26 per cent. A further 17 per cent of respondents rely on paper-based reports. This lack of integration and automation costs money and makes it difficult for employees to truly leverage on-demand services. 

User behaviour will continue to shape how businesses manage expenditure and budgets. If employees can spend freely using a variety of unintegrated booking and payment methods, it’s harder for the organisation to get real-time, accurate visibility into spend, which can affect cash flow management. 

Restricting the employee’s freedom to choose on-demand options can lead to frustration as well as higher costs as a result of not being able to capture the best deal. Therefore, the smartest way to proceed is for companies to integrate spend management with booking and payment platforms in an ecosystem. 

Matt Goss said, “Concur users can link a number of apps to their Concur account from uber and Airbnb to Booking.com and United Airlines, and many more. Doing so gives employees and finance managers more control and visibility into who is spending how much on what. This makes it easier to gain high levels of insight around spend trends and future buyer behaviours, and lets businesses achieve real, bottom-line savings through better spend management.”