Do you travel often? If yes, then you would probably know how tedious it is to manage expenses such as air tickets, hotels, cruises, and even food every time you go out.
How well does your company manage its travel expenses? Does it save money or is it simply a waste of time and resources? Some tips could greatly improve your ability to control costs and gain efficiency through travel expenditure planning. With global competition becoming fierce and companies looking for ways to cut down on their operational costs, cutting out unnecessary travel expenditures has become essential. If you want to get ahead in your career and take your organization forward, then you must start thinking more strategically from now onwards. By doing so, your company will see significant savings that would otherwise go towards wasteful spending.
To make things easier for you, we have come up with a list of tips that will help you in managing your travel and expense reports more efficiently. So without wasting any further time, let’s get started!
1. Travel & expense management software
In today’s world, we have so many options at our fingertips, where do we start? Where should we begin? One option could be to use travel and expense management software to manage travel expenses and keep track of various costs associated with your business. There are plenty of tools out there to choose from; some free, some paid. When choosing software, make sure they are updated regularly, compatible with Mac OS and Windows XP and higher, and offer a variety of features. If possible look for a web-based program that does not require downloading any programs to your computer. In addition, ask yourself if this tool would benefit your company further than what you currently have in place. Keep in mind that some products may work better for certain companies than others.
2. Track your spending
First things first – you need to log all the transactions and expenses associated with your travels before you can effectively manage them. You probably don’t like keeping large amounts of paper notes but rather prefer using computers to store data. However, you might find it difficult to enter the details into your PC’s spreadsheet program or other applications. This is when a handy travel tracking program becomes indispensable. You can either create an excel file manually or download a specialized application that allows you to import your flight information directly from the airline website. Once you have the necessary information entered, you can easily generate basic reports which include a breakdown of each trip by month, category, cost center, and amount spent. All these reports will provide you with valuable insight into how much you’re spending on travel every year.
3. Be aware of your company’s policies regarding travel
Some organizations limit the number of employees who can travel together within a given timeframe. For instance, some companies allow only two people per vehicle and one person per aircraft. You must know the rules and regulations set forth by your company regarding travel before booking tickets. Make sure to follow those rules closely since you don’t want to run afoul of legal actions.
4. Online payment system
Another way to improve your expense management process is to implement an online payment system. A good example of an online payment system could be PayPal, which makes sending funds convenient and secure. Another great advantage of using an online payment system is that you don’t need to worry about having to go to the bank monthly to collect money. If you are Muslim and want to perform Umrah, you need to get your Umrah Visa online, and take advantage of making the payment you need online. Depending on how much money you send to clients throughout the month, you might want to consider putting a little bit aside each time a client pays you. Consider setting up automatic payments from your bank account via the internet. You can set up recurring payments, and you’ll get notified immediately once someone submits their payment.
Another advantage of online payment systems is that you can receive credit card numbers directly over email without ever exposing them to anyone else. As long as you remember to sign up for the service with a valid email address, no one but you will know where you got your credit card information. However, it is always best to verify everything before actually receiving any sensitive information.
5. Keep track of everything
This tip may sound simple, but it isn’t if you don’t do it. You should start keeping track of anything and everything related to your job at least once per week. In addition to any work-related expenses you incur, you should keep track of what items you use throughout the week. While this seems like extra effort, it will save you tons of money over time without having to buy unnecessary products. By starting to keep track now, you have already saved yourself several dollars, and it only gets easier as time goes along. Be sure to keep track of where things go each day, how much they cost, and whether or not you need them again.
This will help you avoid buying duplicate items, and it also helps you determine what type of supplies you need more of. For instance, if you find that you spend most of your time working on projects that involve paper, then you might want to stock up on printer ink cartridges.
6. Keep receipts
When booking hotels, flights, car rentals, and meals, or buying office supplies always request receipts. Many companies offer discounts for their clients who pay upfront. Keeping your receipts will enable you to claim back any discounts offered by businesses, thus saving you money. It is also important to note that when claiming back discounts, you must provide proof of purchase. Receipts are very helpful because they show exactly what was purchased when it was purchased, and where it was purchased. Without these details, you won’t be able to prove that you bought something.
You should always try to minimize the amount of time spent traveling. The number of hours spent traveling is directly proportional to the overall cost of your trip. Try to reduce these hours by using smart means such as telecommuting and working at home. When working remotely, allow enough time to complete tasks at least once before leaving the office. This way, you can get maximum productivity without having to leave the comfort of your desk. Additionally, a good travel policy should also include taking breaks. This will enable you to unwind after long hours of sitting at a computer.