Since the dawn of the coronavirus, many businesses—corporate and non-corporate alike—have had to learn to work from home, which serves to create the biggest decline as regards travelling amongst corporate businesses. This has affected the market in a way we never anticipated—the impact cannot be denied. The need for a deeper study into the travel and expense (T&E) market was necessary, and some of the results proved to be positive.
It is no news that the pandemic has caused many enterprises to suffer financial loss, giving many chief financial officers more than they bargained for. CraftResumes is an affordable CV writing service that can do your perfect Curriculum Vitae. Desperate times have called for desperate measures. The CFOs are now left with no choice but to review the employee spend strategies, as well as other expenses. With that happening all over the globe—with everyone watching their employee spend—it serves to create fresh opportunities for the entire corporate T&E market.
Duke Chung, the CEO and co-founder of TravelBank spoke to PYMNTS on the subject matter. He spoke about a number of negative patterns arising as a result of the work-from-home business environment.
Earlier this year, the business travel volume was reducing slowly, but by March, it took a dramatic step and plummeted. It has become necessary for small businesses to adopt new strategies that will help them cope—on the grounds that travel isn’t a wise choice anymore, still, some of them remain hopeful for what lies in the future for when travel returns. In as much as CFOs have now had to adapt to the new way of life, they still have to make preparations for when things return to normal, and travel resumes again. They will have to review the employee spend and consider business trips once again.
Many CFOs across the globe are now in talks with T&E technology suppliers, as though they also proceed to take advantage of this time and change their FinTech partners and review their expense management. As big businesses make these big changes, small businesses are also considering new ways in which they can manage their employee spend.
As Chung explained, the new progress of corporate card innovation is one of the things that encourage SMBs to review their employees spend money. Before the corporate cards saw its growth, businesses were more prone to rely on their employees paying for company expenses—with resolutions coming through expense report management and reimbursement processes.
With the arrival of new commercial cards, new and smaller businesses have taken it as an opportunity to acquire a corporate card product, which has never been available for them through the regular traditional banks. These emerging products are also making it easier for firms to select cards attached with rewards and features best suited for them.
Now, these cards are regarded as equals with the expense programs. Chung explained that when small businesses are looking to grow into an even larger company, there is one factor that they must put into consideration. And it’s the fact that corporate cards used today may be different for them, simply because their needs are different. They would have to note this when threading the path they decided to take and even review their corporate cards.
Small and start-up businesses that have adapted into the new work-from-home system are now welcoming their new business models and the flexibility it holds. The vendors where employees spend company cash are also welcoming the flexibility. The coronavirus, still reigning today, has changed the company’s spend categories for expense reports, and so has the work-from-home system, as confirmed by Chung.
A lot of CFOs have taken it upon themselves to reduce the tension arising from the logistical and psychological sectors, instead of rental cards and restaurants. This now has employees working from home to remain productive, even during this period in time, where there is a lot of pressure on the financial sector all around the world. As part of the efforts by the employees, they are expected to oversee any cost that arises from the internet service they use at home, as well as the wireless bills every other thing that creates a place of work at home.
This has resulted in TravelBank setting forth new work-from-home features, which allows the businesses to work with some vendors who discuss discounts for them—these are the businesses now overseeing the costs arising from their firms’ services and products, for their workers who work from home. As this continues, the vendors can now take advantage of the process to start their own business in AI — which is quite lucrative. They can now take advances to launch their B2C brands into the level of B2B, easier than it has ever been since forever.
These vendors are now able to participate in corporate spending, even though a lot of them remain consumer businesses built on a foundation of consumer spending. Such an opportunity has never arisen before, which is surprising because no one expected the pandemic to bring something positive into the lives.
Duke Chung—co-founder & CEO of TravelBank
We don’t know for sure how SMBs’ and corporates’ expense category will function when the pandemic begins to leave us and the work-from-home law gradually begins to lose its roots in the business world. Although, Duke Chung has predicted that we may never see the business world in the state it was before the pandemic stormed us. Business of this, there is a possibility that the B2C brands might even reach the level of the spending volumes seen in corporate expenses.
T&E providers will also see new opportunities to implement a new direction—this includes the introduction of new features to uphold a continuous shift in employees’ spending and working strategies. The most important thing though, as Duke Chung tried to explain, if there are employees working from home all over the world, how would their expenses be managed in their individual environments? Questions like that will help us plan better, if we are to support this.