One of the most interesting questions on my mind has always been how you use business data. What does it mean? How can you learn from it? How can you make better decisions, for your team and for your company Over the last few weeks, we had a few opportunities to share some of our thoughts.
At ABUKAI, we obviously help companies to track and report their expenses much more efficiently. Reporting actual expenses is very important for organizations so that they can track actuals versus budgets. The line and finance managers we work with discuss how the expense data is being categorized and compared against their budgets, where employees overspend, what type of expenses they would like to track in more detail, etc. When we talk to individual travelers, we hear about minimizing the time they spend on generating expense reports and the time they have to wait for their reimbursements. Our day to day focus is to help with these details and we are trying to make all parties involved more efficient.
|Graph, excerpt from Battle-tested|
best practices in planning and budgeting,
Part II, White Paper, Host Analytics
However, there is a lot more that could be done with the data that resides in expense reports. And on occasion, we allow ourselves to step out of the weeds and consider the bigger picture. One interesting question to consider is, at least for us, what is the right amount of T&E to generate $1 million in revenues or $10M or $100M? How much T&E did it take last year? How much are our competitors spending?? Interesting and challenging question. Well, we think so.
Most recently, the Business Travel News website and their monthly magazine agreed with us and allowed us to talk to their readers about travel expenses and budgeting. Without creating too much of a "spoiler-alert" here, we strongly favor the notion of using actual T&E expenses to inform future decisions rather than the traditional role of using them to control activities retro-actively. And we all know how well it works when management is coming down hard on us for that one $25 rental car gasoline fill-up charge (that we only incurred because the customer in our last meeting before leaving for the airport had just one more question.....).
Please take a look at this recent article in Business Travel News "Blueprint: How To Budget And Report T&E Expenses In A Mobile Age" by Erik of ABUKAI and let us know what you think.