Amadeus’ new Chief Financial Officer's (CFO) research finds corporate travel managers must strike better balance between service quality and cost reduction and that CFOs are dissatisfied with how travel costs are currently managed in their companies. The CFOs are looking beyond direct travel costs to benefits of new travel technologies, employee productivity and service excellence. Amadeus surveyed 120 CFO’s in July.
Cost Control and Beyond, a new report published by CFO Europe Research Services in collaboration with Amadeus, has found that less than 40 percent of CFOs are satisfied with the levels of savings delivered by corporate travel programs in their company.
The study is a result of research with CFOs in Europe, the U.S. and Asia Pacific in a variety of industry sectors and investigates their perspectives on corporate travel management— an area which, to date, has not been widely explored, according Amadeus. It found that while CFOs clearly view travel through a cost-control lens, travel cost management has so far made a minimal contribution to companies’ overall cost control programs.
Amadeus says that CFOs believe that corporate travel managers should better balance travel service quality with cost cutting, driving direct cost savings through improved supplier negotiations and a tighter view of travel spend across the company. CFOs also want their travel teams to focus on enhanced employee productivity and integrated corporate IT systems.
Amadeus notes that key findings are particularly pertinent against the current backdrop of economic uncertainty, with companies scrambling to cut costs without compromising on standards. Almost two-thirds of CFOs surveyed rated online booking tools (63 percent) and automated expense reporting tools (66 percent) as having medium to high cost saving potential. CFOs expect travel managers to prioritize staff productivity by saving employees’ time before travel (planning and booking), while traveling and on return (expense reporting and reconciliation) to minimize the indirect costs of travel.
The report says 71 percent of CFOs believe it is very important to integrate travel technology with expense management systems. However, just 18 percent say their companies’ have highly integrated these systems. Integration with other business systems such as Enterprise Resource Planning and Human Resources databases are also considered important in the overall mission of managing travel costs. But, again, performance is lagging.
Three in four CFOs believe travel managers should focus on improving supplier relationships. The research shows that this is an area where CFOs believe travel teams are currently underperforming. A single view of travel information across the entire business will support leverage with such suppliers and will find additional favor with finance departments by enabling more fact-based advice on improved profitability, tighter cost control by being able to track travel spending by project or individual, and the ability to create better budgets and forecasts. Amadeus says the report also found that over 50 percent of CFOs are still not wholly convinced of the business benefits of green travel.