Travel & Entertainment Expense Tips

Travel & Entertainment Expense Tips

T&E expenses are by far one of the largest expenses in a company's budget. Although most companies would like to adopt best-practice procedures, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Effectively managing these expenses will make it easier for employees to understand the expectations of what is acceptable, and will aid in streamlining the company's cash flow.  Below, we have compiled a few tips on what to include in your process. 

Simple Works - Everyone is more likely to remember and comply with a process that is straightforward and simple.  If your system is too complex and requires a lot of time, forms, and pre-approvals to comply with your T&E policy, this may open up a window for more mistakes.  A quick, simple submittal and approval process can help ensure it is done and done right. 

Define Your Parameters - Having a fair and definitive policy is the start of any best-practice expenses process. Employees should have clear parameters as to what and how much they can spend and what relevant information should be included for those types of expenses.  Companies have an obligation to create a policy that aligns with the expectations of the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), and that the expenses being reimbursed are genuine.  Ideally, it should be clear, fair and appropriate.  The key is to review and update your policy regularly – then, publicize it internally and explain it clearly. 

Timeframes - Setting published timeframes for submitting expenses, approval, and payout is necessary.   Even if employees have to wait a certain period of time for reimbursement, transparency will give clear understanding as to what these timeframes are, including the expectations for the relevant information to be submitted prior to approval and payout. 

Compliance - While we encourage swift approval of expenses, it’s also crucial that managers have the courage to push back on inappropriate or non-compliant expense submissions.  Make your approvers accountable for the application and enforcement of your policy.

Technology Bliss - In these days of mobile and global workforces, technology has made it easier for submitting expense reports. If your company's corporate culture requires you to adopt a process that makes it easier for employees to engage electronically, find a procedure that can work for those always on the move.  The beauty of having access on a mobile device is that it’s faster to submit and approve expenses on the go.

Ultimately, each company should identify what procedures will work with their organization and for their employees.  The consistency and correct application of your plan will be what defines your level of success.

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