How to Sell Your CFO on a Corporate Travel Management SolutionBy Kathleen Burns
Trust us: corporate travel management software is an investment with a positive ROI. Need help convincing your CFO that it is worth consideration? Look no further.
As someone who manages or organizes corporate travel, you likely spend a lot more time than you’d like on administrative tasks like booking, tracking, and expensing.
While these tasks may be part of your job, there’s no reason they should take up the majority of your time. If you are the only one managing your company’s travel, it can suck up hours of your work week (and even evenings and weekends). If this sounds familiar to you, you likely don’t have the adequate tools, like a corporate travel management software, to manage business travel efficiently.
But wait a minute...tools? Software? Doesn’t all of that cost money? Now you’re probably laughing at us - convincing finance folks to spend more funds on yet another resource is no easy feat.
But trust us: corporate travel management software is an investment with a positive ROI. Need help convincing your CFO that it is worth consideration? Look no further. Here is your all encompassing guide to selling your CFO on a corporate travel management solution.
Relevant Value Propositions
If you want to convince your CFO that a corporate travel management solution will benefit your company, present them with the value adds that are relevant to their end goals: reducing spend and increasing revenue.
1. Real-time expense tracking
No one likes to go through retroactive expensing when they get home from a business trip. It’s time consuming, tedious, and requires that you remember where you stuffed all those receipts. And it causes two major problems: retroactively dealing with inflated employee spend and delayed expense reports. Corporate travel management software enables real time visibility of how much employees are spending. Read: improved forecasting and more accurate reporting. And this solves these two main issues that CFOs and other finance folks face with every business trip an employee embarks on.
2. Integration with online expensing
On a similar note, corporate travel management solutions often integrate with an online expensing tool. This value add also targets that second problem mentioned above: delayed expense reports. Here at Lola, our platform integrates with Expensify. When an employee uses Lola to book and manage their travel, their receipts are collected within the platform and automatically sent to Expensify when the trip has been completed. If your company or employee needs something expensed immediately, that is possible too. A streamlined expensing procedure improves the efficiency of reimbursement and helps to maintain a more accurate view of employee spend.
3. Improved travel policy compliance
Many businesses have a travel policy, but not many employees like to stick to it. This isn’t necessarily intentional. The two biggest reasons employees book out of policy is because they either don’t know it exists or it is too difficult to follow. This leads to a lot of “leakage”, or untracked travel booking, and spending over budget. Corporate travel management solutions allow you to customize your own travel policy within the platform, so while employees are making their reservations they can easily see which flights and hotels are within the policy and which are not. Showing your CFO that corporate travel management solutions can improve company travel policy compliance, and decrease overspending on travel, will help get them on your side.
How to communicate effectively with your CFO
Your CFO isn’t going to listen to you beat around the bush. Be upfront and direct about the problems you face day-to-day and exactly how they impact the company. You are there to contribute to the business’s overall success. And that doesn’t mean spending hours on the phone with American Airlines rescheduling one employee's canceled flights. It especially doesn’t mean doing that on a Saturday night. Take a week to audit how you spend your time. Add up the number of hours you spend on the administrative travel tasks like booking flights, changing reservations, tracking employee travel, and expense reporting. Then compare this number to the number of hours you spend on other aspects of your job. What more could you get done if the time you spend on managing travel decreased? How could your productivity improve? If your time on the job leans heavily towards travel tasks, and negatively influences your productivity at work, bring these findings to your CFO. Making a strong, data-backed case for why your time is better spent on other projects will lend well with your finance execs.
Focus on the numbers
On a similar note, when dealing with your CFO make sure to speak in their language: costs vs. benefits. Not sure how to approach the finance lingo? Spend some time looking over your financial reports. Maybe even schedule an initial meeting with your CFO to understand the details of the reports, where your company is spending the most, and which costs are offering the greatest return. Make sure to focus on how much your company is actually spending on travel vs how much they budget for it. Once you’ve got the numbers-based language down, document your analysis of how you spend your time in a similar fashion. Delivering a numbers focused report is a more digestible format for your CFO than offering hypothetical project ideas for how you’d prefer to spend your time. And they’re more likely to actually listen to your proposal if you present it in a way that makes sense to them.
Show them the money
The research is clear: unmanaged, or undermanaged, travel negatively impacts a company’s bottom line. And that is a hot piece of info that will surely catch your CFO’s attention. Unsure exactly how this adds up? Here are three data points to focus on:
1. The average amount of a travel manager’s annual salary that is allocated to administrative tasks related to booking and managing travel is $27,528
How many employees in your organization are responsible for travel management? Some quick math will give you an idea of what your company is spending on inadequate tools and administrative travel tasks each year.
2. The average amount in annual salary per business traveler that is allocated to booking and managing travel through a travel manager is $8,506
If you have 5, 10, 20, or more employees traveling throughout the year, that is a lot of wasted money that would be better put towards a streamlined and automated solution to make the business travel process less painful for everyone involved.
3. 41% of business travelers have gone over budget on travel spending because they didn’t know their company’s policy
Does your company have a clear and reasonable business travel policy? Corporate travel management solutions can help with that.
At this point your CFO should be kissing your feet for bringing these problems, and an awesome solution, to their attention.
No? Just us?
Either way, if the data is there to indicate that your company is wasting a significant amount of time and money on managing and tracking business travel, you are armed with significant selling points to bring to your CFO.