Corporate travel encompasses mixed emotions. In one way, it can generate revenue. And on the other, the challenge of the entire travel and expense process from filling expense reports, auditing, to reimbursement; it’s troublesome and a hassle. The key to making the process effective is to ensure that the expense process follows the best-industry standards, saving time and money, not to mention improved experience for everyone involved in the expense reporting process. So, how do you create the best-in-practice expense reporting process?
The following are three steps that can benefit both the company and its employees:
Review and Audit
Start by giving your travel and expense process a thorough review. Don’t just stop at the defined policies, evaluate other documentation such as actual expense reports or reimbursement procedure. Make a note of any improvements in the processes being followed or anything from the process, to the technology, and anything in between being used. Go beyond reviewing, and know about the points of frustration that employees are experiencing when filling expense reports, auditing, or processing expense reports. Figure out the step in which the employees are facing problems, what they think the cause of these struggles are, and note if there any suggestions for improvement. Sometimes, you will be surprised by the feedback you receive, and learn about the bottlenecks.
The employee expects faster reimbursements for their expenses. But, if they don’t understand what information or documentation is needed to get reimbursed, the process becomes notorious. Keep your expectations simple, and clearly state what documentation is needed for reimbursements. Take the time to review expectations and corporate policies with managers and finance, so all who are involved will have a clear understanding.
If there are any preferred vendors, ensure your employees are familiar with them. Additionally, if there are certain expenses that do not count as business expenses, make a note of it. Put a time limit on claiming expenses, you don’t want an expense to show up after a year which would require you to go back and search through the year of records.
Plug Any Gaps
Any ambiguities in the expense management process can leave space for confusion, miscommunication, and even fraud. Spend time reviewing receipts to see if expense reports are matching, and if not, see why there is a mismatch. Implement a corporate policy to get tighter control of travel and expense management.
Are you making it easy for employees to submit expense claims? Is it easy to process reimbursement requests? Consider implementing mobile-friendly expense report software to make sure employees can capture expenses even while they are on the go.
Making expense process effective and easy will not happen just by understanding the best practices. Infact, you need to have a good expense reporting solution to make all the difference.