As your small or midsize enterprise (SME) grows—perhaps by expanding geographically—so too will its travel-related expenses. As travel and expense management becomes a significant concern, more SME owners and managers are discovering that they can reduce costs and improve expense management by centralizing payments through a single Business Travel Account, or BTA.
Growth Travel and Expense Management for SMEs
As you expand, you’re often establishing valuable relationships with new customers and service providers in broader geographic areas, so employee travel expenses typically increase. When new business opportunities arise, growing companies typically pursue these as expeditiously as possible, which often involves arranging ad hoc travel by sales teams, senior executives or technical support professionals.
Business travel accounts can help you manage travel expenses by replacing physical (plastic) credit cards with a virtual account number for travel-related transactions with authorized suppliers.
But it isn’t just travel by these key personnel that require stronger expense management. There are “invisible” travel expenses generated by consultants, guests, job applicants, customers or partners invited to major company events, and other occasional travelers.
BTAs can help address these travel expense management issues. BTAs can help improve the return on investment (ROI) on travel programs, while helping you partner more effectively with Travel Management Companies (TMCs) and get more value from your travel policies.
By consolidating travel payments on one “virtual” card account, BTAs can also help you maximize access to credit card rewards points, special offers, cash rebates and other benefits. For some SMEs, this can represent thousands of dollars in additional resources for both travel and other priorities. And, as discussed later, BTA’s transparency benefits also can be valuable.
How Advanced BTAs Work
Business travel accounts can help you manage travel expenses by replacing physical (plastic) credit cards with a virtual account number for travel-related transactions with authorized suppliers. These suppliers may include hotels, both low-cost and full-service airlines, other transportation carriers such as railroads and car rental companies.
BTAs can give you control you may not have had before. For some BTAs, SMEs can limit usage to specific employees, purposes or vendors, and set specific dollar limits or other travel expense management parameters.
At the same time, BTAs can help reduce check processing and postage costs, as well as administrative work associated with reimbursements and cash advances.
Capturing Detailed Data Reduces ‘Red Tape’
Since all payments are made through one centralized account, BTAs can simplify travel expense management, making it easier to reconcile, allocate, track and audit. Problems and exceptions can become easier to identify. Some BTAs can capture key information about each business travel expenditure upfront, often including data such as cost centers, project codes or employee IDs. This data can be integrated directly into SME systems for accounting, expense reporting and/or financial analysis.
BTAs can offer complete at-a-glance information about expenditures with specific hospitality or travel companies, and consolidate formerly decentralized costs in a single monthly statement. This can give you insight into travel spend, to identify emerging trends, problems and opportunities for savings.
With travel spend consolidated and visible, it’s can be easier for SMEs and their TMCs to negotiate more attractive company-wide travel discounts.
Today’s advanced Business Travel Accounts can help a growing SME reduce costs and improve visibility into travel spend, helping you control even the hard-to-manage travel expenditures associated with consultants, job applicants and company events.
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