The biggest factor with sending employees off to other cities or countries in order to do your company’s work is that they will need to spend money while away. In many cases, they will need to spend money in significant amounts, not just for their own personal upkeep, but for other expenses, such as entertainment, or assisting a potential client with transitioning over to your product or service.
This often means that employees will have to make many snap decisions about how to use those finances while they are away. The decisions can be anything from small choices, such as where to eat that night, to larger choices, like how much of an entertainment budget is considered reasonable for taking a client out to dinner and drinks. A lot of these choices need to be made on the spot, before there’s even a chance to fill out an expense report.
But, with a little guidance beforehand and setting some regulations in place, you can help your employees when they travel. And this will lead to easier, faster, more reliable expense reports.
Set Limits On Meals
It shouldn’t have to be mentioned, but a small percentage of less ethical employees mean that it needs to be. Sometimes the best thing to do is enforce a rule about the maximum allowed budget for a single meal. Most employees, simply because of the hectic schedule they maintain, are likely to “splurge” or treat themselves to room service at most. Some employees however, may treat themselves to a fine restaurant dining at every opportunity unless explicitly forbidden from doing so.
Define Your Entertainment Budget
Depending on which country you go to and what business customs are present in the region, no deal is “sealed” without observing tradition and going out to entertain drinks and other amusements with a client or potential business partner.
This will vary one business preference to next. Some companies may want to set an individual limit on alcohol consumption and expenditure. Other companies may simply have a “No Alcohol” policy entirely to eliminate this factor.
Regulate Car Rentals
For more consistency and easier reporting of expenses, take the time to have preferred car rental agency and advise employees to stick with it when possible. Once you do, this becomes a more predictable, “fixed” cost since you will now know exactly what kind of rates your employees will be facing, rather than have them rent a car from whatever company they prefer.
Have A Travel Agent
If you create an arrangement with a travel company to handle the flight arrangements for your employees, you create another reliable, fixed cost for your expense report software. Leaving employees to sort their own air transportation can lead to wildly varying results, and some may take full advantage of the reimbursement, selecting first class flights for work. You definitely want to ensure that your actual transportation expenses are regulated, as a significant amount of the cost for travel is incurred right here.