Cutting all costs in a bid to survive

The last 18 months has been a rough period for many companies, as most attempt to keep a competitive edge whilst maintaining a healthy profit margin

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More and more companies are struggling not just for credit but to maintain a competitive edge. The combined effect has increased demand for controls on business travel and expense spend. Diners Club has vast experience in detecting over expenditure and the means to curtail it once identified. “We provide our corporate clients with very sophisticated on-line MIS tools which can highlight, for example, non-compliance in class of travel or size of car or staying with non-approved hotel chains,” says Tom Edgerton.

These tools of course are ideal in a downturn. But they’re equally effective when an economy recovers, as inevitably it will. Edgerton says Diners Club Global Vision MIS tool now provides clients with very clear spend information and allows them to drill down rapidly into subsidiary, cost centre or actual cardmember spending at will and wherever they are.

“They’re practical tools based on real-world client experience – and they’re proving hugely popular.”

Tighter controls have restricted when and how employees travel – and a number of Diners Club clients now only allow ‘revenue producing’ travel. “Also,” says Edgerton, “when travel has taken place, reduced airfares, reduced hotel rates and stricter controls on per diem spend related to meals and other services have also lowered the cost per trip. That means more and more companies are looking at ways to control their expense spend.”

Are these changes fundamental long-term ones? Or will they become less important as the economy picks up again? “We expect,” responds Edgerton, “a number of controls put in place by clients that will continue going forward as these are sound business practices. But at some point to turn the business and the economy around, companies have to get their employees back on the road to meet with customers. The demand for increased information on spend trends to monitor expense won’t diminish.”

Meanwhile Diners Club clients have made policy and spending restrictions changes as well as making intelligent, creative decisions to do more with less. And that has driven increased joint projects with customers to automate, for example, back-office information feeds of card information into Automated Expense Reporting tools and ERP systems. Other ‘best practices’ can come in the form of improved client communication, better and more automated customer service, new technology tools for the cardmember and the program administrator. “The feedback from our client meetings and forums keep us on track with where we should be going with our technologies and products,” says Edgerton.

But just how will needs in the travel expenses sector change most radically in the next five years – and how will Diners Club itself change during this time? The trend toward global consolidation of spend data for global companies should continue, predicts Edgerton. “But you will see a consolidation of spend data that will allow companies much greater leverage in negotiating vendor agreements with major airlines and hotel chains, for example.” The need for a consistent card program in all those countries will narrow the field as to which Global Expense Management company a client can work with. This also includes an on-going commitment to regulatory change– which in these turbulent times is always a significant pressure.

It’s useful to remember that Diners Club remains one of only a handful of card providers that offer corporate payment solutions in more than 50 countries. Edgerton concludes: “With over 100,000 multinational, local corporate and small business clients globally we are well positioned to service clients, wherever they operate in the world.”

The Diners difference – choose from a variety of modules:
– Corporate cards – flexibility worldwide with cardmember benefits while travelling;
– Diners Club Business Account – managing SME company expenses effectively with employee corporate cards;
– Diners Club Travel Account– centrally billed account for airline spend for companies whose employees travel extensively but don’t hold a corporate card;
– Diners Club the trainline Statement Account – secure and quick booking of rail tickets (certain countries only);
– Management Information System Global Vision – keeping an eye on business trip expenses, wherever and whenever they occur.

For more information please contact Tom Edgerton on Tel: +1 224 405 3196 or email