Do you find yourself spending more time than you’d like reviewing and approving employee business travel expenses? You’re not alone. Travel and expense policies are often too vague or confusing, leaving employees struggling to know how to claim expenditures. Sometimes an organization will completely lack a policy, or it will be out of date. This leads to duplicate claims, questionable expenditures and occasional fraud, not to mention the ridiculous amount of time your finance team is spending on reconciling all the details.
An expense policy needs to cover a broad range of possibilities, but still be concise, direct, and easy to find. This can be challenging for many companies, which is why so many travel and expense policies leave much to be desired.
Elevate your T&E policy
You know the basics of what to cover (business travel, corporate cards, personal issues, and administrative guidelines), but what about the nitty-gritty? Business travel and entertainment expenses are not always straightforward, and it’s important to cover possible scenarios or questions that may come up. Here are a few examples from our popular expense policy template to get you started.
What your company expects in order to process reimbursement
Before, during and after any type of business travel expense, employees need to know exactly what is needed to get reimbursement. Receipts are obviously a must, but what about other items, such as attaching the expense to a job number or client code? Or does there need to be a list of who was present at a meal or a deeper explanation for what the expense was for? These expectations must be clearly articulated in your policy.
Who pays when more than one employee is present
An employee, a manager and an executive walk into a bar...start of a bad joke? Not exactly. There are times when a team is meeting a client for lunch or drinks. Who is in charge of paying the bill? Establishing the protocol upfront relieves any chance of an awkward moment when the check arrives at the table.
Preferred suppliers and booking methods
Is there a preferred airline or booking site you want your employees to use? Does a trip need to be booked within a certain time period? Make sure it is clearly stated in your policy. What if there are multiple flights going to the same location? Is it required that employees take the cheapest flight? Or can they opt for the most direct flight or the flight at the best time? Clear policies take the stress out of business travel expense management.
And this is only the tip of the iceberg. A best practice expense policy covers everything from corporate cards to personal add-on trips.
Not sure where to start?
Feeling overwhelmed? We’re here to help. Use our expense policy builder and get the guidance you need to create a complete, easy-to-use and understandable expense policy customized to your company.