Growth and Optimization

Charting the Future of T&E: Data, Visibility, and Sustainability

SAP Concur , Petr Seidner |

The current economic conditions have put companies in a bind. Higher costs are squeezing profits, yet raising prices risks alienating customers. Businesses are scrambling to rein in expenses through greater efficiency. Meanwhile, the push for sustainability continues. Companies able to thread the needle — managing costs without compromising service or values — stand to gain a competitive advantage. But this requires tight cost controls and improvements in data visibility and analysis.

Impact of the Cost-of-Living Crisis on Companies

This cost-of-living crisis has affected companies in a variety of ways. Higher operating costs from material and energy costs, demand for higher wages, interest rate hikes for credit, and pushback from customers when increasing prices — it can all hurt profitability.

Companies are working hard to find ways to drive cost savings throughout their organizations. We see an increased focus on organizational reviews. For example, revisiting supply chains and analyzing the supplier base can uncover cost reductions and efficiencies. Businesses are also deploying additional levels of technology to find cost savings and improve productivity.

Adam Bazeley, EMEA Head of the Client Development Team, believes we will continue to feel the challenges associated with these economic conditions. He cites rising interest rates, world events, and continued uncertainty as key factors impacting at least the first half of 2024, but is optimistic about the potential for relief in the back half of the year.

Past Successes and Charting the Future: Data, Visibility, and Sustainability at SAP Concur

In this interview with Adam Bazeley, EMEA Head of Client Development Team, we delve into the past successes and future plans at SAP Concur.

We explore key points from this year, including the impact of the cost-of-living crisis on companies, the potential continuation of this crisis and highlight how budget flexibility can boost confidence.

Watch the video

Payment Efficiency Within Companies

Driving payment efficiency is one area to improve productivity and maintain tight cost controls. SAP Concur’s expense payment management solution now enables customers to manage payments efficiently across a significantly increased number of countries and to drive efficiency in expense payments to employees.

This also includes an invoice payment manager solution for the U.S. market with plans to add other regions.

Virtual Card Technology for Business Payments

Another addition to the SAP Concur lineup is the ability to manage payments through a virtual card process. This empowers companies to improve their days payable outstanding (DPO) by reducing the time it takes to pay suppliers. Virtual cards can speed payments and significantly improve supplier relationships, providing a competitive advantage. Concur Invoice automates, digitizes, and speeds up your entire invoice management process. However, even businesses using Concur Invoice still issue payments with paper checks. However, by connecting Concur Invoice to your bank’s virtual card platform. When an invoice comes in, a virtual card is generated in the exact amount and it can be paid automatically — eliminating paper checks and manual tasks. This also reduces the risk of fraud without exposing your card to additional charges.

Data and Visibility

One of the big reasons why so many businesses invest in SAP Concur is that they have poor visibility into their spend and they know they need to improve. They need greater insight to make smart business decisions and control costs efficiently. Nearly two-thirds of business leaders say their companies are under pressure to manage costs, yet many lack the data they need to do so. SAP Concur provides services within the portfolio of products to help identify reporting capabilities to provide that visibility and drive better outcomes. For example:

  • Concur Expense allows employees to submit expense reports for things like travel costs, meals, and other business expenses. It provides tools for capturing receipts, creating reports, routing for approvals, reimbursing employees, and reporting. Key features include automated expense auditing, integration with accounting systems, and mobile apps.
  • Concur Travel is an online booking tool that enables employees to book flights, hotels, rental cars, and other travel reservations through a centralized portal. Key features include travel policy enforcement, travel alerts and notifications, integration to pull airfare and rate data, traveler profiles, and analytics on spending visibility.

Together, these SAP Concur solutions provide an end-to-end platform for companies to control spending, enforce compliance, simplify processes, and gain visibility into employee expenses and corporate travel. The integration between the expense and travel modules allows for easier reimbursement, reconciliation, and reporting across T&E spending areas.

While many companies don’t believe they are big enough to justify automating expense management or have legacy processes that work fine, manual expense management is simply inefficient. They are time-consuming, error-prone, and do not provide the visibility you need to work effectively. Manual processes also open companies up to increasing levels of expense fraud.


40% of major companies have made a public commitment to reduce emissions and improve their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. This impacts nearly every aspect of business, from supplier selection to operational practices to employee travel. Sustainable business travel is a growing concern. A recent report revealed that 97% of corporate travelers would increase travel journey time to reduce the environmental impact and 80% of business travelers say sustainability policies make them more inclined to work for an organization.

While the cost-of-living crisis has slowed some green initiatives, companies are still looking for solutions that can identify their carbon footprint and help them find sustainable options. SAP Concur has several options to support customers to allow them to analyze their data and drive change within their business to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their costs.

Concur Travel can highlight sustainable options and green partners using custom fields. So, when employees book travel, they can pick the most sustainable choices. You can also use personalized messages to explain your sustainability initiatives to travel smarter. For example, taking the train from London to Paris can reduce emissions by 96% compared to flying.

You can empower your employees to make more sustainable travel choices and book them directly with Concur TripLink suppliers. You can also use TripIt to show employees their travel footprint and provide them with practical options for offsetting their carbon emissions.

Enhancing Data, Visibility, and Sustainability

By providing your finance teams and employees with the right tools, you can get the data, visibility, and cost controls to manage your business more efficiently. You can also adapt practices to enhance sustainability. Learn more by viewing our video, Past Successes and Charting the Future: Data, Visibility, and Sustainability at SAP Concur.

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