Want to know how your peers manage day-to-day challenges in travel and expense? Concur is sharing the best practice stories of its clients about everything from travel booking to policy enforcement. From the technology industry to the education field, the process varies – this is how they do it.
Company: Nexus IS, Inc.
Industry: Advanced Technology in Voice and Data Communications
Overview: Nexus designs, builds and supports complete end-to-end technology solutions that integrate four distinct yet complementary architectures: collaboration, data center, borderless networks, and managed services.
How they do it: Expense Reports
By Christina Murphy, guest blogger
I work with a great group of people. Everyone is innovative, creative, intelligent, driven, and family oriented. I am treated like family at this company and it makes me feel good about coming to work every day. I don’t just have a job; I have friends and family here at Nexus.
As an Advanced Technology organization, we have our own set of unique needs from our business travelers. My role is to support those employees before, during and after every business trip.
The best practice I found in managing expense reports is to make sure your organization has a travel and expense policy handbook that’s crystal clear and easy to communicate to all levels of the company. It’s also very important to not play favorites with employees, like making policy exceptions for some and not others. When it comes to making those types of decisions, I recommend leaving it up to the executive management to decide.
At Nexus, our expense reporting process is really quite simple. An employee’s manager reviews expenses before they come to the back office for a final audit. They are paid out on a weekly basis via ADP payroll. I approve everything during the week, up until Friday.Then I close the batch at 5 p.m. and send it off to human resources to submit payment requests.
I give the final audit on the reports, based on our Travel & Expense Policy guidelines. If a report is questionable or out-of-policy, I send it back to the employee for further explanation. Sometimes there are cases when an employee’s expense report needs to be routed to a vice president or our COO if a single line item on the report or the total amount exceeds the policy threshold – at Nexus, our executive team prefers to monitor the high dollar reports and review them before I give the final audit, which Concur is set up to do automatically for us.
My review of the reports comes at the tail end of the approval process. I often catch mistakes that are out of policy and can be missed by other levels of management. This has proven to be a successful process.In a perfect world, we expect all our managers to thoroughly review their employees’ expense reports, but that doesn’t always happen. Inadvertently, things can still be overlooked.
The most common mistake I catch is an employee not attaching itemized receipts to accompany their meal and entertainment expenses. While it’s clearly outlined in our policy handbook, it is a bit difficult to make everyone in the organization actually take time to sit down and get to know this policy in detail – especially ones who are constantly on the road.
Tricks of the trade
The trick is to make sure you have a great relationship with employees as the travel coordinator. It makes it much easier to explain policy and get it enforced when your employees know you, like you, and respect your position in the organization. I don’t want them to look at me as the “Expense Police” – rather someone who is upholding company policy, yet is always there to help.
Christina Murphy has been a corporate travel coordinator for Nexus for more than five years.