The travel expense request, for business and training trips, can now be created through the corporate intranet and without having 1) a need to provide trip details one-by-one to individual approvers, after having an automated workflow, and 2) worries of going to HR and Finance separately to follow up on the expense settlement and payment processes, as all of such functions are now integrated with each other.
The above were the comments of my colleague – Muhammad Shahid who is supporting Travel Management in addition to other SAP Components, while I asked him about the benefits of the solution he delivered as a Module Specialist.
Role and Interest: Change Management and Travel Management
My main role at the project was of a Change Manager to support its deployment from user readiness perspective, however, I was also interested in the solution specifics for having some earlier experience of supporting Travel Management implementation at some other projects.
I, therefore, had quite a detailed discussion with the technical & business team to 1) understand how the current implementation was quite rich, in terms of the features it offered, and to 2) relate it with my previous experience which is yet another scenario of Travel Management implementation, to streamline travel related processes.
In this blog, I have
- described the key features of the solution, which is basically a summary of my discussion (*) with the Consultant, to provide an overview of what an end-to-end travel expense management solution comprises of,
- provided the snapshots of some of the major steps of travel request creation, from a presentation (#) I developed few years ago at another project, to illustrate the process flow of the travel request.
* The discussion was rephrased to maintain clarity.
# The material was modified to maintain privacy.
- Travel Request Form: It’s the first step where an employee has to provide all the necessary details of the trip such as the start and end dates, destination including transitions, and trip types. The form, accessible through the Travel and Expenses area within the Employee Self Service, can be customized and enhanced according to specific business needs.
- Travel Policy Compliance: The corporate travel policy is implemented in the system to support checking an employee’s eligibility for the trip and giving him/her the options on organizing and managing the travel arrangements by organization or by self, thus enforcing the rules an organization has for business & training trips.
- Travel Cost Estimate: An overall cost estimate covering the transportation, accommodation, and allowances can be calculated and provided to allow employees and managers knowing the trip costs and planning it accordingly. The calculations are configured according to the travel guidelines, set out in the organization’s travel policy.
- Travel Approval Workflow: Among the steps to record and settle travel expenses is the approval process and it is supported through customizable workflow. The request routing to different roles, such as Line & Department Managers, Training & Travel Coordinators, HR Administrators and Accounts, the approvers can verify if all the requirements are met.
1. The travel privileges differ in the organizational hierarchy and the calculations are dependent on the
- assignment type, work or training,
- location, domestic or foreign,
- Duration & Distance, near or far,
- Commute type, for travel arrangements, and
- Grouping of employment grades.
An example is shown below where a work or training assignment could be taken In and Out of Country and within certain distance from the office, giving employees an option of daily commute.
2. The travel expense manager records the details of the trip for employees, including the
- Schema to differentiate between different types of travel,
- General trip data such as dates, reasons and destination,
- Options of receiving lump sum amount or arranged travel,
- Cost Distribution to different cost centers,
- Receipts to reimburse expenses incurred during travel,
- Additional Destinations employee stayed in,
- Trip Segments to split & record the Trip Legs,
- Deductions to reduce the payment of specific meals provided,
- Advances for amount an employee can receive,
- Comments to store any further detail.
The screenshots given below describe 1) a summary of the trip(s) taken on certain date(s), 2) an example of how the required data is maintained when a new trip is created.
1) Summary of the trip(s) taken
2) New Trip Creation
Note: The above slides were taken from the training material I prepared at another Travel Management implementation. The complete presentation, which provides step-by-step instructions on creating, modifying and displaying the request as well as accessing certain reports couldn’t be shared as it contains customer information.
Travel Management: Then, now and in future
The Travel Management implementation I supported recently and the one earlier were both amazing experiences. While we, the Consultant and I, shared our experiences, we also discussed the value SAP Concur provides for Travel Management and hope can explore it someday as well.
Have you helped some customers in managing their Travel related processes? What was your experience?