Traveling is necessary when conducting business. You must go where the customers are, and this costs money. A conservative estimate for staff travel expenses in many companies is around 10% of their budget. If your company is one of approximately 70% of all companies that sends people on the road, you are looking for ways to trim expenditures.
Many experts agree that you should closely monitor traveling employees spending habits when traveling. You must give particular attention to addressing excesses. You can find excesses in several areas; padding legitimate expenses, creating fake expenses, claiming the same expense twice, and simply choosing the most expensive options because, why not, the company is paying.
How then do you control the blow-outs when your people travel? Reading and implementing the following four suggestions provided below is a great way to start.
Manage Travel Costs
- Consistently communicate expense policies
- Develop mobile methods of reporting expenses
- Let employees see how much they spend, where and how
- Don’t rely on finance managers to challenge claims
You have to be amazed at how often communication solves your business problem. Getting a handle on excessive travel expenses is no different. You should put a program in place that frequently communicates the company policy on travel expenses.
Maybe a quarterly newsletter could be distributed among managers and their travelers to highlight areas that need improvement. Top-level managers should often meet to discuss monitoring expenses.
Most companies have expense software in place to make reporting easier for travelers. You can look at ways to enhance the experience by developing mobile methods of reporting. People on the road could upload receipts instantly, eliminating the need for saving paper receipts. Road warriors could request approval before any spending occurs.
Show employees exactly how excessive spending affects the company. Let them see how much money they spend and on what. Show a breakdown of who’s spending what so that employees can compare what they do with their peers.
You will find that many do not even realize their excesses. The realization of looking bad compared to peers provides strong motivation to change spending habits.
When your company relies on finance managers to monitor and challenge the legitimacy or wisdom of certain expenses, you will lose money. For many understandable reasons claims that are questionable will go unchallenged. Top-level leaders need to play an active role in addressing this issue.
Not all excessive spending is abusive spending; however, it can still hurt the company. You should take measures to monitor and eliminate all unnecessary travel costs. After all, if they are upwards of 10% of your total budget, and you can reduce them, and then more money is available for another area. Start with the four steps outlined above and watch things improve.
Is your business spending too much on corporate travel? Calculate your potential savings using our Travel Savings Calculator below: