When you send an employee off on a business trip and there are factors like reimbursement to consider, one of the big concerns from an employee perspective is just how long it will take for an expense report to be approved. The length of the approval process ties in to how quickly all those expenses incurred under the employee’s own money will finally be reimbursed by the company. Depending on the length of this process, it can be a real point of contention between employees and management, and may even discourage employees from taking business trips. In more extreme cases, it may be a significant enough negative that an employee feels it’s no longer worth it to work at the company.
Expense report software can have a big impact on the length of time it takes for approvals. In some cases, a running expense report can be looked at by the finance department as it happens, which can go a long way towards speeding up the process. But for people that are looking for something even faster, there is another financial management technique to consider, and that is an in-house pre-approval process for business trips.
With a pre-approval process, an employee that knows that he or she is going on a business trip with familiar activities and results can apply for a travel budget in advance. He or she can outline the exact specifics you’d want to see in this kind of request, but in general, estimates of cost, travel allowance, and other anticipated expenses can all be filled in, along with the duration of the trip and the purposes.
Once this report has been filled, your finance department can give pre-approval, meaning that expenditures during the trip will be immediately reimbursed as they happen. However, when the employee returns, an expense report still needs to be filled—if it wasn’t already during the trip, using expense report software. That actual expense report will be compared with the pre-approval application, so you and your finance department can look over the estimates versus actual expenses.
This is good not just for financial security and fraud purposes, but it also provides very good data that can be put towards even better financial decisions in the future. Employees that make accurate pre-approval reports that are in line with actual expenses can be rewarded or consulted for advice. Employees that have a wide margin of difference between estimate and final expenses can be investigated.