After employee salaries, travel expenses are typically the biggest expense for companies, especially if your employees must visit different locations throughout a single workday. For being such a big source of company spending, it would be illogical for you to not have a travel management program in place. Yet, many businesses lack a formal process, or if they have one, it’s usually unsophisticated.
With a modern travel management process, you’ll have a means to efficiently control, track and report on travel-related expenses across your company. This will help you to reduce costs and ensure that you are seeing a return on your investment into employee travel costs and expense reimbursement.
The Makings of Successful Travel Management
Managing this very expensive and important aspect of a company, especially these days, calls for responsible handling of the whole process from the moment an employee decides they need to take a trip to the moment they’ve been reimbursed for it. To help this become a reality, you need a few ingredients:
- Trust in your employees to manage their travel, stay within company policy guidelines and follow proper approval processes. You don’t want your managers and supervisors wasting time micromanaging employees to make sure they’re doing everything right.
- Visibility into how travel expenses are being managed. Everyone from the employee taking a trip to your administrators and accounting managers approving those costs should know how the system works.
- A straightforward process that works and meets everybody’s needs. If your process is too complicated or cumbersome, people simply won’t use it.
- When you have visibility into how your company manages travel expenses you’ll be able to measure the impact of your activities. For example, you can determine where money is being wasted, where you can save money or where your travel policy needs a little work.
How exactly can you create an environment where these qualities can flourish? There are a few key items you should focus on.
Policies & Workflows
If you lack formal travel policies and approval workflows, now is the time to fix that. And, once you have them, you should take steps to automate them as much as possible. With the right platform, you can set parameters for creating and reporting travel information so that the system, rather than your employees, ensures everyone remains compliant with your policies.
Set flags for exceeding daily per diems, for when duplicate trips are submitted, for when an employee attempts to request reimbursement for a trip that has been rejected in the past, for when a travel expense report was submitted late or a host of other situations that may violate your travel policy. By using technology to automate your policy, you give employees more freedom to manage their own travel without worrying about noncompliance or misunderstandings.
Automating approval workflows will also take some of the burden for travel management off your employees’ shoulders. If you are still manually managing approval of trips and expenses then you likely deal with inefficiency on a daily basis. A travel management platform will centralize and streamline everything: employees can submit trips from within an app, expense reports can be automatically sent to the manager or supervisor who needs to review and approve it. The system will automatically notify the next person in your approval workflow when they have trips pending their approval. No need for emails or remembering to follow up.
Data on Spending & Expenses
If travel expenses are handled via several different workflows in your organization, then you are unable to analyze and garner any sort of insights from spending behaviors. Once you can consolidate travel management onto a single platform, you’ll be able to track trips and travel expenses and generate consistent reporting. When you can easily determine how much is being spent, why it’s being spent and who is spending it, you can implement changes to more effectively manage funds and reduce wasteful spending.
Keeping all travel data organized in a central place is also incredibly helpful during an audit. Should the IRS come knocking at your door and asking about your employee mileage reimbursement program, you want to be able to provide comprehensive travel and reimbursement records that meet the standards of an accountable plan. This can be difficult to do if you aren’t proactively managing travel.
Collaboration Between Admin & Accounting
A travel management program should benefit the whole company, serving the needs of everyone who interacts with the system. Typically, one of the biggest gaps in the travel management chain is the break between the admin approval process and your accounting department who actually needs to be the one who issues mileage reimbursements.
To streamline the whole process, you need a software solution that unites these two groups of people. If your travel management platform integrates with accounting or payroll systems, then there will never be a break in the approval process that requires manual intervention. It’s easy for someone in accounting to sign off on travel reimbursement requests, and they have much more visibility into travel expenses. Uniting admin and accounting removes a major bottleneck in the travel management process, making it more seamless.
Manage Travel More Efficiently With CompanyMileage
If you’re looking for a solution that helps you incorporate the ingredients of successful travel management into your organization, look no further. SureMileage by CompanyMileage helps you automate your approval process with its novel approach to mileage expense tracking. Employees report their starting points and destinations and the system calculates the driving distance between them. So, rather than verifying the miles that were driven, it calculates the expenses to be reimbursed.
Once travel data goes into SureMileage, supervisors can review and approve expenses and send them to Accounting for reimbursement. We integrate with all major accounting and payroll systems, so the whole process is as straightforward as possible. SureMileage is an end-to-end solution that solves all the issues you’re currently experiencing with your old travel management process. Request a demo with CompanyMileage today and see our system in action for yourself.