Skift Take

Small businesses have their share of inefficiencies when it comes to travel and entertainment spending, but the gap in small business versus large corporation spending in Concur's numbers is also a function of more transactions by road warriors at small businesses.

Concur, the travel tech company, culled 2012 data from its 20,000 corporate clients, and discovered a glaring discrepancy: small business travelers were spending a lot more per quarter on flights, hotels, dining, and entertainment.

But don’t draw the conclusion that employees at small businesses are necessarily reckless, big spenders. You should understand that small business travelers also crunched more transactions per quarter than their counterparts at larger corporations because of the varied nature of these business segments.

“The reality wasn’t that small business travelers weren’t spending in frivolous ways, but that small business activity levels were different,” Robson Grieve, Concur’s executive vice president of worldwide marketing, tells Skift.

In other words, Grieve explains, small businesses undoubtedly have smaller sales forces than large corporations so the small business sales people tend to be more active travelers.

For example, Concur found that small business flyers accounted for 2.25 air-ticket transactions per quarter in 2012 while road warriors working for large corporations were responsible for 1.64 flight-transactions per quarter.

There were also other differences in the ways employes at small businesses and large corporations filled out their respective expense reports.

Grieve explained that sometimes employees at small business would even place their Google Adwords buys on expense reports — something that an employee of a large corporation would be loathe to do.

Concur, of course, would like to attract new accounts from small businesses, but the numbers are more complicated than merely painting a portrait of small-business inefficiences.

Here’s Concur’s infographic on its findings.



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