It was back in 2015 that two lines crossed on a graph and T&E accounting was given some new realities. For the first time, Millennials represented the largest share of the U.S. workforce. And while their impact on the workplace overall is well chronicled, their impacts on T&E accounting can’t be overlooked. Understanding Millennials and their attitudes is key to improving acceptance of travel and expense policies, especially as their numbers continue to grow.
Let’s begin with some definitions. Millennials is a term coined by two authors to describe children who were to graduate from high school in the years around 2000. Now it takes in those born from the early 1980s through the early 2000s. The Pew Research Center considers those between 20 and 36 in 2017 to be Millennials. It was Pew’s research that showed Millennials taking over in 2015 as the largest share of the US workforce from Generation X, which it defines as those 37 to 52 in 2017. (Baby Boomers are 53 to 72 in 2017, by Pew’s accounting.)
Millennials have been the source of extensive research, debate and even derision. A PWC whitepaper notes “Millennials value greater flexibility, appreciation, team collaboration and global opportunities.” Harvard Business Review has reported how Millennials are the “first connected generation” and the first to view work less as a physical place than a set of responsibilities. Others have commented that Millennials look not for work-life balance but “work-life blend.”
Impacts on T&E accounting
The blurred lines between business and leisure time created by the convergence of connectivity and responsibility mean that Millennials view business travel and who pays for it in different ways than the generations who preceded them.
For starters, they are more likely to extend business travel to include a leisure trip. One study found that 36 percent of “bleisure travelers” had done so in the previous month. Of bleisure travelers, the study found that 66 percent were willing to bend or break rules on expense reimbursement.
“Millennials love to care and share, making deviant spend an increasing challenge,” note our partners at Concur, who list the rise of Millennials along with visibility issues and the shortcomings of manual reporting as the three biggest challenges of managing T&E spend.
Concur’s recommendations? First, automate the process to increase operational efficiency. Second, achieve end-to-end visibility to improve policy compliance. Third, go mobile. This not only enables employees to handle T&E chores on the go, Concur says, it reduces processing costs by up to 65 percent.
Expense and mileage reimbursement together and on the go
SureMobile, the mobile application from CompanyMileage, allows employees to access their company’s SureMileage and SureExpense solutions in a mobile-friendly, secure format. Compatible with iOS, Android, and any HTML5-compatible browser, SureMobile puts the power SureMileage and SureExpense in the palm of a hand. Together they are powerful enough to save companies more than $1,000 a year per mobile employee.
With expense and mileage in a single app, companies can handle all of their T&E needs and take the guesswork out of mileage tracking. Employees can upload receipts from mobile devices and plan, submit, and update trips from anywhere. That’s especially important for Millennials, who are always on the go and always on their phones.