Introduction to T&E Analytics
With travel expenses rising in rank and becoming the second-most cost heavy function in organizations, travel and expense analytics has become an important data resource for companies to study.
World Travel and Tourism Council claimed that business travel contributed to 20% of all global tourism in 2021. The global amount spent on business travel was roughly 740 billion USD.
When the investment in business travel is this massive, the expectation of high ROIs is a given. Finance officers have a brand new challenge to tackle- optimizing business travel spending. But how should they go about it? Where do they begin?
They do so by turning to modern T&E analytics tools. Function-specific and time-sensitive analytics can give decision-makers the intelligence they need to devise efficient travel and expense processes.
Quick Read: Travel and Expense Management
The power of T&E Analytics
T&E analytics uses all business analytics tools to identify cost-saving opportunities in a business. Strategically organized data can help you identify opportunities, recognize key trends, and help you curate an exhaustive policy. It cleanses raw spend data and converts it into actionable information.
Analytics also help identify bottlenecks in a company’s travel expense management and reimbursement process. You can identify cost-heavy areas, cut down on cost leakages, improve sourcing strategy, improve vendor relationships, strike better deals, and eventually reduce expenses by optimizing the procurement process.
T&E analytics give you a complete overview of your procurement activities, expenditures, and overall financial performance.
Here are a few direct benefits you derive from modern t&e analytic tools.
- Detect cost leakages in the organization and fix them
- Identify areas where more savings are possible
- Use vendor information to negotiate better deals
- Identify expense fraud and unauthorized spending across the organization
- Set up mechanisms to prevent repeated overspending from increasing policy compliance
- Take important policy and budgeting decisions using spend forecasts
A holistic overview of T&E spend data
One of the main challenges of any spend or travel & expense analytics tool is integrating data from multiple data points. It is imperative that the right picture is painted by drawing in data from multiple sources, which includes:
- Accounting software
- ERP or employee management tools
- General ledger and other finance books
- Employee expense reports
- Bank statements
- Credit card statements
Must Read: Travel and Expense Report
Happay Analytics – consolidating the power of T&E Analytics
Happay Analytics is a robust spend analysis tool that unifies all travel, expense and payments data into a singularly accessible database. The T&E analytics software allows you to extract action-ready, easily comprehensible information snippets.
There are two types of information sets that Happay Analytics empowers with its many tools.
- Descriptive intelligence- These data sets tell you what happens in different departments, functions, expenses, etc., at a particular time. You can use descriptive charts to recognize and organize data trends.
- Diagnostic analytics- These analytic tools help you determine the causes of specific trends in your organization. You can establish cause-and-effect relationships between situational and seasonal triggers and spend behaviour.
Quick Read: Best Travel and Expense Software
Happay optimizes analyses and empowers high-level decision-making
Happay Analytics comes with a fully customizable dashboard that allows you to choose the charts you want to see readily. You can pick a few or all the available options to showcase in your main dashboard.
Let’s discuss a few specific tools Happay Analytics offers to optimize all three analyses discussed above.
1. Spend Analysis
The software gives you a real-time overview of who is spending, what they are spending on, and exactly how much they are spending. This gives you control over budgets, helps you predict needs better, and establishes better vendor relationships.
Know period-specific information
Happay Analytics allows you to set custom time periods for specific data extraction. Using these features, you can track trends over quarters, months, or even weeks. Some custom reports available are-
- Overall spend by employees
- T&E expenses
- Overall expenses by category/city/function/cost/center/vendor
- Expense type-wise report
- Overall spend on daily allowance
- Overall zone-wise expenses
However, to get the bigger picture, you can also access the entire year-on-year data reports with a few simple clicks. The reports available are-
- Y-o-Y cost centre spend
- Y-o-Y employee reimbursements
- YTD region-wise spend
- Y-o-Y overall expenses
Must Read: Spend Analysis
2. Policy Creator
Happay analytics makes it easy to track policy violations. Analyzing patterns can help us understand the root causes of violations and help us navigate future policy creation from a data-rich perspective.
You can leverage this information to drive vendor negotiations and strike more profitable deals. Companies can also monitor airline booking dates to recognize patterns in travel behavior and use this information to plan travel budgets more effectively.
Available charts for hotels and flights-
- Hotel Spends – Domestic vs international
- Average cost of flight per sector
- Airline ATP on planned/unplanned travel
- Average per night cost of hotel
- Top N Airlines/sectors/routes
- Airline spend: economy vs business
- Travel type-specific expenses
Available charts for mileage tracking and city-wide allowance
- Average spend on daily allowance
- Trend of average mileage claimed with and without route tracker
Must Read: Travel and Expense Policy
3. Compliance Monitor
Tracking frequent violations and recurring policy violators can help you drive compliance adherence in the organization.
Happay analytics also creates an audit trail for all business transactions.
Available charts to track policy violations and violators are-
- Trends/number of policy violations over time
- Find number of late submissions
- Find approval submission rate by approver and count flagged spends
- Track resubmission rate by employees and decline count by approver
- Top N violated policies
- Top 20 violator for each city
- Find Top 20 most frequent employee violator for each category
Must Read: Travel Policy Compliance
4. Efficiency Analyzer
The analytics module allows you to gauge the efficiency of the reimbursement process. You can measure how much time managers spend on approvals, the average age of expense claim requests, and how many reports are getting approved on average for the specific time period.
Efficiency analyzer tools can also help you monitor delays in various actions to narrow down the causes of inefficiencies.
The reports available for this function are-
- Ageing trends for travel requests
- Ageing trends for advances /money requests
- Reimbursement cycle length – Monthly trends
- Average time to act on the system – monthly trends
- Average duration between request date and travel date for travel request forms
- Trends of average spends across sectors/categories
- Trends of average spends across departments
Also, Read: Expense Reimbursement Claims
T&E analysis challenges and how Happay Analytics solves them
Problem 1: No access to real-time data
Fraud, unauthorized purchases, and other spending mistakes go unnoticed as organizations cannot access real-time spending information.
Happay Analytics’ solution- Happay Analytics draws information from all possible data points to create a wide information base for travel and expense-related information. It integrates with your t&e management tool to extract information in real-time.
Problem 2: Complexity and comprehensibility of data
Monthly or annual data sets are massive and have hundreds of different variables. Understanding and analyzing these data sets against each other is an arduous task that requires AI support and cannot be done manually.
Happay Analytics’ solution- Happay analytics’ t&e analytics framework draws on real-time information to generate reports presenting visually and comprehensively relevant data.
Happay analytics gives you access to interactive dashboards. You can customize them in the following ways.
- Customize based on user profiles
- Segregate reports based on cabs, trains, hotels, airlines, trains, and buses
- Extract focused information on certain topics in the form of cue cards for senior stakeholders
Problem 3: Lack of detailed information
Manual efforts to perform spend analysis not only have to compromise on the accuracy and quality of data but also its depth and general availability. Extracting in-depth information about the various facets of travel and expense spend is tricky.
Happay Analytics’ solution- Happay’s Analytics draws all its information from Happay’s T&E platform. All information is updated in real-time, exhaustive, and 100% accurate.