Uber for Business helps Uber save time and money on travel expensing
Uber’s Global Travel and Expense (T&E) team manages systems and processes for 27,000 employees across 60 countries, and you can count on one hand the number of people they have to do it. Scaling, automation, and efficiency are the name of their game.
In the earlier days of Uber, employees were required to manually expense rides if they were traveling for work. As the company grew, the T&E team knew they needed a better way to support employee ground transportation on the road. They began using Uber for Business in 2018 and have since increased overall usage, use cases, and collaboration with the Uber for Business team.
In 2022, Uber’s T&E team supported a business travel program of 14,000 employees who submitted 74,000 expense reports.
“The global footprint [of Uber] comes with complexities. Anything we do—as it relates to tools, systems, products, or programs—we have to focus on scale,” says Justin Reyhl, Senior Manager of the Global Expenses team. “How can we automate and be efficient? Uber for Business hits that mark.”
Control, visibility, and time savings
The administrative ease Uber for Business is one of the main benefits for Uber’s T&E team. Tasks like sending invitations to employees to join the corporate account are automated. Plus, says Reyhl, “One of the key features is the Workday integration, which allows us to scale with an ever-changing headcount. It really takes the burden off our team.” This integration automatically updates data like employee status daily, creating seamless access to the business account for those who are traveling.
The platform also provides transparency, allowing the T&E team to monitor employee usage and locations while on the road. The latter is especially important for duty of care compliance, says Reyhl. Additionally, the granularity of data helps inform targeted communications to employees, whether to specific teams or top travelers who may not have linked to the Uber corporate account.
Another value add of the Uber for Business platform is its expense integration. Expensing contains hidden costs and can be a massive drain on company resources. A 2022 study the Global Business Travel Association found that the average cost of processing one expense report is $58. It also found that 1 in 5 expense reports contains inaccuracies—which costs an additional $52 to correct.
Uber’s T&E team knows this pain point firsthand and has done its own analysis to assess the financial and time-savings impact of its Concur integration. In 2022, automated e-receipts saved Uber $170,000 in employee hours.
Reyhl adds that in addition to just saving time, the integration reduces the error risk that comes with keeping physical receipts and manual reporting. It also lessens the burden on managers and the T&E team as a whole, since expenses while traveling are clear and visible.
Plus, the sustainability metrics of the Uber for Business platform helps Uber track progress toward its green goals with transparent data on company-wide emissions. Uber also recently expanded its travel policy to include no- and low-emission ride options, such as Uber Green and Comfort Electric, giving employees the choice for eco-friendly transportation when they’re on the road for work.
Improving employee linkage rates
To make sure Uber employees are aware of and using their travel benefits, the T&E team works closely with the Uber for Business implementation team to make sure individuals are connected, or linked, to the proper business profile. Beyond streamlining the employee experience, this ensures that the T&E team gets visibility into usage and spending.
The T&E and Uber for Business implementation teams use a variety of strategies to increase linking. For example, if an unlinked employee tries to expense a ride with Uber, the T&E team reaches out to suggest they connect. Recurring email campaigns also remind people to join. And T&E takes advantage of dashboard product features, like the capability to re-invite an employee with one click.
As a result, Uber has achieved a 75% employee link rate. The average rate at organizations with a similar size and billing structure is only 10%. Although communicating with employees is a little easier because the product is internal, Uber for Business Senior Implementation Lead Grace Barliant asserts that all Uber for Business customers can positively influence how many of their employees connect to their corporate account. “Clients can really take ownership of the product,” she says, “and have a hand in increasing their link rate. This not only provides overall visibility, but it allows companies and their people to really take advantage of the benefits offered by Uber for Business.”
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