Year after year, your budget for business travel has expanded. Maybe you’re attending more tradeshows and conferences in the upcoming year. You might have hired more sales representatives to crisscross the country. You may be sending employees for more off-site training.
Whatever the reason, with increased travel comes additional expenses.
Expense management is on your mind. With an expanding budget, you know you’ll need to manage expenses wisely. If your current system leaves something to be desired, dealing with increased expenses can be challenging.
These are some of the most common challenges you face when it comes to expense management. Fortunately, the key to overcoming most obstacles is already in your hands.
1. Policies Are Usually the Biggest Expense Management Challenge
If your expense and reimbursement policies are unclear, you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
Many organizations use ad hoc policies when it comes to managing expenses. You might deal with expenses in the most expedient way possible, which leads to inconsistencies.
Instead, be sure to establish clear policies and guidelines. Then, make sure you enforce those policies. Finally, employees should be able to easily find the policies whenever they have a question.
2. Employees Submit Expense Reports Late
It’s just a fact of life that, sometimes, your employees are going to submit their reports late.
Encourage employees to submit their expense reports in a timely manner by streamlining the process for them. The easier it is to put together the report, the faster your employees will have it done. Set a policy about when reports are due and enforce it.
3. Reimbursement Is Late
Late reimbursement is another common problem. This usually stems from issues with the reports your employees turn in. There may be missing receipts or questionable expenses. You may need more information.
Again, simplifying and streamlining your processes can help. The easier it is to submit a report, the more likely your employees will do it correctly. Clear policies also help employees submit only costs that can be reimbursed.
4. Unofficial Travel Bookings Cause Headaches
Another common issue is when employees go off the record to book their travel. They may not want to stay in the hotel you’ve designated, or they may want to fly another airline. They might be tired of waiting for the green light to book, so they take matters into their own hands.
This is problematic because you’re paying too much, and it may cause issues when you attempt to reconcile the account.
Once again, clear policies and streamlined processes will save the day.
5. You’re Paying Too Much for Travel
Are your employees searching for the best deals, or are they booking five-star hotels and the most expensive flights because they know the company is footing the bill?
Even if your employees are looking for discounts, you might still be paying too much for travel. Be sure to look for corporate deals and discounts. Look for other ways you can reduce travel costs and expenses too.
6. Data Entry Errors May Hold up Reimbursements
Whether it’s a typo from an employee or a moved decimal on your end, a data entry error can cause over-payments, underpayments, and late payments. Reduce data entry errors by automating as much of the expense management process as you can.
Expense management can seem challenging, especially in the face of rising costs and bigger budgets. With these tips, you can face the challenges head on.