World leader in the chemical distribution market: the group stocks and distributes chemical products to large industrial companies and SMEs in areas such as pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, water treatment, food, paint, plastics, aeronautics, etc. The group manages 530 sites in 74 countries and employs more than 15,000 people, including 750 in France. On average, 250 users submit an expense report each month and has an annual travel budget of two million euros.
The issue: Modernising the expense claim management system
Like many companies, Brenntag France had previously used Excel spreadsheets to manage its employees’ expense reports. “On the one hand, we didn’t have detailed travel statistics and this process presented a real tax risk because we sometimes had difficulty collecting all the expense receipts. The monitoring process was not sufficiently rigorous, so we had to review our expense report management. ” José Lafont, Administrative manager, Brenntag France explains.
Traveldoo – a clear winner following Brenntag’s evaluation
Business travel expenses represent an annual budget of two million euros for the company, and approximately a third of the company’s 750 employees submit an expense report each month. These are mainly sales advisers, but also include support managers, heads of department and management team members. In order to acquire a robust management platform for business trip and expense reports, José Lafont carried out a market research study and an invitation to tender, with the three providers that he felt best met his requirements. Traveldoo was selected as the leading provider for several reasons: “Traveldoo was the only solution that offered us what we called a 3-in-1, i.e. using the same website for train ticket, plane, hotel room and car hire reservations, as well as an expense report management system and advanced reporting and statistics. ” continues José Lafont.
As the first users of the platform, managers led by example
Traveldoo was rolled out in three phases. The first implementation phase was for members of the management committee, around 15 people. José Lafont explains his decision: “We wanted to start at the top of the pyramid. Rolling out the system in reverse order may seem surprising at first glance, but it is much easier to roll it out to all employees once the managers themselves are using the platform to make their train, plane or hotel reservations and do their expense accounts. There is no reason for employees not to benefit from it themselves, if their managers are using the platform without needing an assistant. ” Following the success of this first implementation, a second wave was carried out for another 40 managers, before being rolled out to all employees in September 2016.
A successful implementation supported by the Traveldoo team
Today access to Traveldoo is open to all Brenntag France employees who have to travel, or who wish to be reimbursed for expenses. José Lafont has chosen to set up a relatively simple workflow, with a single validation level, no second line management level, and no absence management. From an IT point of view, the Traveldoo implementation has proven to be very simple: “We set up the tool according to our travel policy. We carried out this configuration with the support of the Traveldoo team. The implementation was quick, just four months between the official launch of the project and the introduction of the platform. At the end of the project, we had two months’ support from the Traveldoo team to finalise the process and carry out any skills transfer to be totally autonomous using the platform and, where necessary, to further develop our workflows. “
Automated data flows
Each night, user profile and line management data are updated on the platform., Traveldoo then automatically generates a file containing all the daily manager-validated expense reports available to the Brenntag ERP. An automated software process retrieves this file to integrate the data into SAP, so each morning, the previous day’s expense reports are available for the accountants. From then on, the ERP can generate the financial management file to make the payments.
In terms of reporting, each month the accounting department extracts from Traveldoo all the monthly expenses and expense reports, as well as details of all bookings via the travel agency. Using this data, the organisation can access monthly expense reports with a breakdown by cost centre and by function.
Traveldoo’s mobile app appeals to users
In addition to the web platform, Brenntag France employees have access to the Traveldoo mobile application, this has proved particularly popular with managers who have to validate their employees’ expense reports and travel reservations. “The application is also used to scan receipts that are attached to expense reports,” explains José Lafont.
All expenses paid with the company’s corporate cards are imported into the system by the simple, automatic integration of the bank-generated file. “All expenses appear in the user’s profile with no additional manual data entry. employees consult their expenditure records to allocate these to their expense reports and complete their expenses (VAT). For each expense, we ask the employee to take a photo of the invoice with their smartphone; the application then uploads the corresponding photo to the platform. “
A solution that removes all tax risk in expense claim management
Although the time savings are evident for the employees, José Lafont has not carried out an in-depth ROI calculation on this metric. “The main advantage which justified the launch of the project was the elimination of identified tax risks relating to expense report management. In this respect, the project has fully achieved its objective. ” In addition, Brenntag was able to reduce travel agency costs, as all orders now go through Traveldoo.