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Making the Most of Corporate Travel with Expense Report Software

corporate-transportationCorporate travel policies are outlined to provide clear guidelines for travelers, saving organization’s money by cutting down excessive spend. Organizations should make the policies easy to adhere in order to achieve compliance. Creating an easy-to-use travel and entertainment expense policy can enable organizations to have a clear picture of what’s happening with employee expenses. It is difficult for employees to remember company policies when making purchases. In addition, lengthy policies are overly restrictive, making it more difficult for employees to comply with Travel and Expense (T & E) policies.

Although the policy is clear and understandable, enforcement is still required. Certain protocols and measures need to be in place to make it easy for companies to prevent expenses being submitted and approved. Companies with an automated solution can reduce their reimbursement cycle time and improve compliance while making the auditing process easy. Additional measures should be enforced to prevent out-of-policy expense claims from being submitted.

The following are three biggest reasons for why manual expense reporting does not work for achieving compliance:

1. Pre-approvals

A pre-approval process ensures compliance with the defined corporate travel and expense policies. Organizations that rely on manual travel and booking process can easily bypass out-of-policy expense claims as no prior approval is required. Expense software complemented with corporate cards and travel booking tools can mandate pre-approval process for any expenses being claimed by the employee. Travel policies are defined in both booking tool and the expense solution, making sure that approvers receive pre-trip approval request. This approach would make sure that employee expense claims are always in compliance with T & E policy.

2. Expense Entry

When expenses are entered manually, users can enter any amount on a purchase. This may be a legitimate purchase or an out-of-policy expense claim. Automated solutions can incorporate corporate travel policy into the expense tool and set business rules. The rules can automatically enforce parameters for expense claims and define whether to avoid expenses from being submitted or flag as out-of-policy. Therefore, when an employee enters an out-of-policy expense, the system can automatically flag or allow travelers to give reasons behind it. This would improve policy compliance and continuously remind employees about the policy parameters.

3. Expense Approval

The entire process should come through the approver who is responsible for verifying and validating expenses that employees submit. Approvers may have to verify hundreds of reports that require expense approval, and the reports will come from various countries, roles, and departments, which impacts the way expense policy applies to them. It is practically impossible to expect employees to understand and remember every facet of the corporate travel policy and it is highly unlikely to recall the nuances of the policy as it applies at the global level. Also, approvers don’t find time to refer back to the corporate travel and expense policy to verify and validate each expense claim. As a result, chances are there that many expenses slip through the cracks, which would inadvertently pass through the approval process.

While automated online expense report solution helps enforce compliance at the point of expense entry. This would also make an approver’s job much easier and prevent out-of-policy expense claims from being submitted. Secondly, the automated solution would flag suspicious expense claims so approvers can make decisions. In this way, expense report software makes approver job easy.

While 100% policy compliance isn’t possible in organizations, relying on manual expense submission and approval processes would result in major challenges for companies. Implementing an online expense report solution can pay you more by eliminating out-of-policy expense claims.

 

James Maron is an author at SutiSoft, Inc. He shares his views on SaaS and Cloud-based business management solutions.

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