Business Travelers More Satisfied with Expense Reporting Processes in Q4 2015

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Originally posted on March 4, 2016

U.S. business travelers were happier with their options for managing expenses and expense reports in the last quarter of 2015 than in any previous quarter of 2015.

The biggest improvements in U.S. road warriors' satisfaction levels came in keeping track of receipts and completing expense reports. More than seven out of 10 (71%) said they were pleased with options for keeping track of receipts, according to the Q4 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™, in partnership with American Express. That's up from 59% in Q3 and 65% in Q2.

In addition, 65% of business travelers said they were satisfied with options for completing expense reports, up from 56% in Q3.

Business travelers were more satisfied with using corporate cards to pay for business expenses than with any other aspect of the expense reporting process. Seventy-eight percent said they were “satisfied" or “very satisfied" with using corporate cards (see Fig. 1). That compared to satisfaction levels of 70% for using personal cards for business expenses, 65% for completing expense reports, and 64% for available methods for submitting expense reports and receipts.

Fig. 1 More Satisfied with Expense Processes

Business travelers' satisfaction with all aspects of expense management improved in Q4, including using corporate and personal cards to pay for business expenses and keeping track of receipts.

Expense Reporting Processes

  Q1 Q2 Q3 Q4
  Percent satisfied
Using a corporate card to pay for [business] expenses 75% 75% 77% 78%
Keeping track of receipts 65% 63% 59% 71%
Using a personal credit card to pay for [business] expenses 66% 63% 62% 70%
Requirements for submitting expense reports and receipts --- 58% 58% 65%
Completing an expense report 63% 60% 56% 65%
Method for submitting expense reports and receipts --- 57% 56% 64%

Boomers Most Satisfied with Expense Reporting Policies

Business travelers ages 55 and up (Boomers) were most pleased with expense reporting policies and procedures, registering higher satisfaction levels across the board, compared with Millennials (18 to 34).

For example, in Q4, 80% of business travelers from the Boomer generation were satisfied with being able to keep track of their receipts, compared with 59% of Millennials. Boomers were also more satisfied with options for completing expense reports (74%) compared with Millennials (55%), according to the report.

Though they're satisfied with the expense reporting process, Boomers (52%) are less likely than Millennials (73%) to agree it's important to access their expenses or travel itinerary from a mobile device while they're traveling.

Business travelers' appreciation for available expense reporting policies and procedures also varied by company size. Travelers from small and mid-sized companies were happier with their options than travelers from larger enterprises. Seventy percent of business travelers from mid-sized companies with 100 to 499 employees and 69% of business travelers from companies with fewer than 100 employees were “satisfied" with completing expense reports. By contrast, 61% of business travelers from companies with 5,000 or more employees were satisfied with available options for completing expense reports.

Read the report here.

The GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index™, in partnership with American Express, aims to understand how business travelers feel about their experiences on work trips and how those feelings affect their travel behaviors. Results are based on an online survey conducted by the GBTA Foundation Sept. 21-29, 2015, of 804 U.S. business travelers employed part- or full-time who had taken at least four business trips in the prior 12 months. The margin of error is +/- 3.4% at the 95% level of confidence.

The content in this published material is provided for general informational purposes only and does not constitute investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advice on any subject matter. Please contact your investment, financial, tax, legal or other professional advisor regarding your specific needs and situation. American Express Travel Related Services Company, Inc. and its subsidiaries and affiliates (“American Express") do not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information contained in these materials. American Express does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of these published materials.