Aberdeen Group recently completed primary research into enterprises' experiences implementing expense management automation (EMA) solutions. A major finding: far too many companies have neglected to carefully track, manage and optimize employee-initiated expenses on travel and entertainment (T&E).

Furthermore, even after early adopters of Web-based EMA tools streamline their T&E expense processes, many still hesitate to discuss their situations publicly because they have just begun to understand these costs. Aberdeen, however, sees the opportunity to better manage employee-initiated expenses as too big to keep quiet about.

These expenses can account for one in five operational dollars a company spends, but for many firms reimbursements have been mired in manual, paper- based procedures, resulting in lengthy and costly process cycles and prohibiting any real spend analysis.

Web-based EMA solutions let companies quickly and consistently collect expense information, enforce company policies and contracts, and gain insight into the highly maverick T&E arena. As such, EMA solutions are being used as strategic tools in total cost management efforts, especially important in today's post-Enron, cost-conscious climate.

T&E reimbursement affects companies of all sizes in all industries, yet our research shows that less than 20 percent of businesses have a Web-based solution in place. We invite readers to download the free abridged version of the new Aberdeen research report, Best Practices in Expense Management Automation (EMA), which includes top lessons learned by leading companies tackling T&E.

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