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The puzzle that is employee spending: How to manage it effectively

By Kace O'Neill | |5 minute read
The Puzzle That Is Employee Spending How To Manage It Effectively

The economic climate in Australia is impossible to keep up with. It’s rapidly changing, which requires organisations to be on their toes when it comes to the financial strategies they employ.


This requires cohesive plans around managing travel and expenses (T and E) without compromising efficiency or employee satisfaction.

A recent study from SAP Concur has revealed the findings of the changing spending habits of employees between 2019 and 2023, examining how Australian organisations are adapting to emerging challenges.

Key research findings include:

  • The average expense cost increased by more than 20 per cent across air travel, car rental, entertainment, gas, office expenses, and parking, reflecting inflation and rising costs.
  • The average cost of train travel decreased by more than 30 per cent, making it a competitive, cost-effective business travel alternative.
  • Air travel decreased across both total spend and volume of transactions, demonstrating a shift in business travel behaviours nationwide.
  • Total parking spending decreased by 18 per cent; total car rental spend increased by 6 per cent.
  • Office spend increased by 50 per cent between 2019 and 2023, reflecting the change in working environments.

Jonathan Beeby, managing director at SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand, said: “Recent spending trends have highlighted a shift in behaviours and working conditions that reflect broader economic and social changes.”

“The evolving nature of work has changed how and where employees are spending company money, forcing executive leaders to rethink how they approach T and E management and drive greater agility and adaptability in corporate policies.”

When it comes to managing expenses, Beeby believes that AI-enabled management solutions can be a crutch for organisations to lean on. Here are the five ways new technology can assist organisations through this process:

  1. Automate and streamline expense reporting processes to reduce the time and effort required for manual entries and approvals.
  2. Detect patterns and anomalies in spending, enhancing compliance and preventing fraud.
  3. Empower businesses to keep pace with the dynamic nature of T and E management and adapt to new spending behaviours and regulatory requirements with greater agility.
  4. Equip executive leaders with predictive analytics to gain insights into future spending trends and make more informed decisions about T and E policies.
  5. Simplify the reimbursement process to optimise spending, achieve cost savings, and enhance employee satisfaction.

“Modern T and E management solutions integrate real-time data and predictive analytics to identify cost-saving opportunities and recommend the most economical and sustainable travel options available,” Beeby said.

“Australian organisations must adopt solutions that offer greater flexibility and detail in tracking and analysing expenses to better understand regional and global spending trends and use this to their operational advantage. With the right tools and approaches, companies can achieve a balance between controlling costs and supporting their employees’ needs in an evolving market.”

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill

Kace O'Neill is a Graduate Journalist for HR Leader. Kace studied Media Communications and Maori studies at the University of Otago, he has a passion for sports and storytelling.