5 Ways to Better Manage Your Company’s Travel Expenses...
Expansions, mobility, and globalization have resulted in increased travel expenses for companies nationwide. The challenges presented by each can be categorized as one of the following: unclear travel expense policies, poor expense visibility, inefficient processes, delayed employee reimbursement, and overlooking employee travel expense trends. In order to more efficiently manage and overcome these challenges, you will have to regain control of your company’s expense accounts. Here are a few tips to help you along the way...
Dealing With Unclear Travel Expense Policies
Some travel expense policies can seem confusing for employees. There are times when they are uncertain on what is considered an acceptable payment which will undoubtedly become problematic.
Anticipated travel expenses, like hotel, food, and gas, should be written out as clearly as possible so that it is easily understood by everyone. If you have a partnership with certain chains or a preference of businesses, include an easy to navigate reference sheet to help save time and keep things as simple as possible. You can expect some of your employees will look for cheap hotels to save money but in the end, they pay more than they would have if they chose to do business with one of your partnered companies.
In a technology world, consider implementing a mobile app that contains this information so that it can be easily accessed by employees no matter where they are. This allows them to pull up relevant policies and any information they need to keep them from getting into situations where it looks as if they have altered their reports. Simply not having the right data to make the right decisions while traveling has created this situation many times in the past.
Being Able To Run Expense Reports
Are you aware of the top spending categories in your travel expense accounts? Do you know how much your employees are spending on food daily? If you are not keeping your eyes on this information, you can run into quite a few obstacles when it comes time for auditing and optimizing. It is important that you structure your reporting so that you can easily access a variety of reports. This should not require several programs to adequately compare data sets or determine what caused the numbers to be off. One panel view will give you an at a glance look at the most important information.
Replacing Inefficient Processes
Are you still manually entering your expense information into a spreadsheet? This can make it harder to stay on top of costs, especially if you have a ton of employees sending you their information. And it only gets more challenging if you are having to deal with paper receipts, as they can often be difficult to read or do not accurately break down the costs. You will need to completely overhaul the way you are managing your travel expense processes to truly see a difference. Get rid of the spreadsheet and invest in an automated system to do away with your manual data entry. Streamline how your employees are entering their expenses-- this will keep you from looking at another paper receipt. This process will make things much easier for both you and your employees.
Quick Employee Reimbursements
What is your turnaround time for employee reimbursement? If you address travel expenses after business trips, you won’t want to leave your employees waiting for their refund. This could cause them to be angered and not wanting to go on trips for your company moving forward. There are a few factors that can cause a delay in employee reimbursement such as waiting too long to process an expense report or leaving out key information. Audit your existing processes so you can catch what problems have slowed down reimbursement checks. You may consider limiting the time that employees are able to submit their paper or have a quick list of approved expenses. This can include a specific amount for hotel and food expenses that will always get approved, these reviews can be automated. The system will take care of qualifying employee expenses for you so that you only have to review some cases. Limiting the amount of cases that require your direct attention can make reimbursing your employees easier and more efficient. You may also choose to hire a bill management system to speed up the process.
Finding Employee Travel Expense Trends
Spreadsheets and other similar systems will reduce your data visibility to one single point in time. You won’t be able to tell if your employee’s expenses are unusual compared to their typical expenditures as you won’t be able to see their history at the same time. Some employees could be slowly padding their accounts or have a random, unanticipated expense. You will need to be able to see trends collectively at one time for both the company and the individual employee.
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