Managing employee travel expenses can increase the productivity of your employees and can increase management’s visibility into expenses in a timely manner.
Below are three ways to help control and manage your expenser eporting process.
Tip 1: SIMPLIFY the process.
Automate expense receipt entry to assist users as they create reimbursement requests.
What does this look like? Provide an entry screen that is uncomplicated and straightforward. Your system should also offer as many default settings as possible.
No traveler wants to feel like they work in Accounting (or like they’re at the doctor) when filling out expense claims. So make it as easy as possible to submit expenses.
Default general ledger accounts as often as you can to keep entries simple for every traveler. Shield them from detailed coding, too. You can do that by using words and pictures rather than numbers or other codes. It’s much easier for a traveler to click on a picture of an airplane rather than type “01-Air” to begin their entry.
Consider reducing the number of decisions that travelers need to make while completing their reimbursement request. This will make them far more likely to complete their expense reports as quickly as possible.
Better yet, provide options to complete the report as they are traveling. Give them the ability to take a picture of their receipts and automatically keep track of expenses as they are incurred.
Tip 2: EXPLAIN your organization’s travel policy guidelines.
Publish your T&E policies on your intranet or another company forum often visited by your employees. It’s better to explain policies upfront rather than surprise your travelers with rejected expense claims.
Your guidelines should also be an integral part of the expense management system. For example, if a receipt is required for all expenses over $25, your expense reporting system should require an explanation if your employee bills for $30 or fails to attach a receipt image to their expense report.
If your organization does not reimburse travelers for anything over 90 days old, then your expense system should enforce that policy for you 24/7. A combination of built-in rules and up-front automated documentation of transactions should ensure that your expense policies are followed on autopilot (and in the most streamlined way possible).
Tip 3: EDUCATE your travelers.
There are two aspects to the education for your travelers. The first is that they understand how their travel choices affect your organization’s bottom line. Cost always matters!
As an example, airline ticket prices vary by time of day and day of the week. Work with your travelers and your travel agency to use the most cost-effective means of transportation whenever possible.
Here’s another example. Having a traveler work in the airport for just one hour can potentially save you hundreds of dollars on some days, or depending on their arrival time and the hotel’s check-in policies. Considering different travel options can often save a substantial amount of money.
The second aspect of educating your travelers relates to your expense reporting system. Provide appropriate training for both the expense reporting solution and your internal travel expense policies. Ideally, they should be integrated into one system anyway.
The goal here is to make everything as easy to understand for your business travelers so that they can focus on why they’re traveling in the first place—we assume it wasn’t to file tedious expense reports.
It really is that simple
These three simple tips really can help you better control and manage organization-wide T&E headaches. Just simplify, explain, and educate.
Of course, that’s much easier said than done across a vast organization with different moving parts and entrenched legacy systems.
Now all you need is modern expense report software to support this plan.
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Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.