The APQC Blog

Three Reasons to Use Fewer FTEs in T&E Expense Reimbursement

Organizations that use fewer full-time equivalents (FTEs) to process travel and entertainment (T&E) reimbursements are ahead of the curve. 

By using best practices such as automation and shared services centers, top-performing organizations require a fraction of the FTEs for the expense reimbursement process compared to their bottom-performing[1] peers. Those organizations have:

  • shorter cycle times,
  • lower personnel costs for the expense reimbursement process, and
  • lower total costs for the expense reimbursement process per T&E expenditures.

APQC research demonstrates that top performers use .17 FTEs or fewer to perform the process of expense reimbursements per $1 million T&E reimbursements, while bottom performers use 1.79 FTEs or greater to do the same (Figure 1).

Number of FTEs Used for Expense Reimbursement per $1 million T&E Expenditures

Figure 1

Using fewer FTEs results in about a tenth of the costs facing those firms using more FTEs for the expense reimbursement process (Figure 2).

Total Cost of Expense Reimbursement Process per T&E Disbursement

Figure 2

The amount of FTEs a finance organization uses greatly affects the cost of its expense reimbursement process. Organizations using automated receipt settlement software to check expense receipts against totals—with both the receipts and expense reports digitized and sent to accounts payable departments—require fewer FTEs to review receipts and have less errors in the review process that later need to be fixed manually. Indeed, 60 percent of all costs related to accounts payable stem from labor and benefits. It follows that organizations using less FTEs have less labor and benefits costs. Additionally, with the time and labor saved by automating the expense reimbursement process, organizations can allocate finance function employees to more value-added activities.

See more information about automating the expense reimbursement process:


[1] “Top performers” represent the performance level below which 75 percent of all responses fall; “bottom performers” represent the performance level below which 25 percent of all responses fall.