How Manual Expense Management Affects Your Travel Policy

3 min read
Nov 25, 2022

Every manager and entrepreneur wishes for their employees to play by the book and comply with the active business travel policy. But some believe rules are made to be broken, and you may also be unknowingly encouraging non-compliance by managing travel expenses manually.

You designed your business travel policy to provide your employees with clear guidelines when travelling for business purposes and hoped this would be enough to achieve your goal: minimizing business travel related costs.

Instead of making things easier and clearer, manual management of travel expenses became time consuming and bothersome, delayed expense claim resolution and negatively affected your accounting team, business travellers and bottom line.

Your travel policy is ineffective because...

Your travel policy is too long

Your corporate travel policy should be a clear guideline for your employees - easy to read, understand and comply with. Avoid writing a lengthy policy and aim to make it as short as possible. The shorter your policy is, the easier it will be for your employees to remember when they spend money preparing or on a business trip.

Your travel policy is not properly enforced

Having a short, clear and straight-forward policy is, unfortunately, not enough. You need to take action to enforce it and avoid purchases that fall outside your guidelines, asset misappropriation, human error and delayed approvals. When relying on manual expense management, expect the worst - a time consuming mess that will only increase your costs.

Travel policy compliance checks take time

When the only way to check if travel expenses are compliant with your policy is to do so manually, the time your team needs is delaying the travellers' reimbursement. On the flip side, if your financial team rush checks the claims or the receipts this can lead to an increased risk of expense report non-compliance and reports not being audited.

Challenges when manually reporting travel expenses

If there is a way to ensure that business expense claims comply with your travel policy, it certainly isn't by managing these expenses manually. What you need is an automated and customised expense management software. This investment will save you both time and money on the long term and increase employee satisfaction by giving them extra time to spend on more appealing tasks.

The three processes below emphasise the need to switch from manual to automated travel expense management for increased compliance with your corporate travel policy.

The travel pre-approval process

When it comes to reducing business travel costs, the pre-approval process is vital. Managing the bookings and expense submissions manually is time consuming and postponing these tasks can lead to increased acquisition prices. When travellers make the purchase and expense it, you can no longer take action without affecting the relationship between you and your employees or having to pay more for your failure to enforce a pre-approval process.

On the other hand, automated travel expense management enforces the pre-approval process for you and ensures that your employees only make purchases within your corporate travel policy.

Travel expense entry

Do employees submit receipts manually in an excel spreadsheet? Then you can expect all sorts of receipts that are out of your travel policy, no matter whether your employees know that you aren't paying attention or whether they simply don't know any better.

Using an expense management mobile app means that expenses are created immediately - and automatically checked for compliance. This way, your employees will always receive notifications and remain aware of what is and isn't compliant, even when they are on the go.

Travel expense approval

The employees responsible for manually approving travel expenses are always busy with numerous reports which often have to be approved under pressing deadlines. They need to ensure that the reimbursement claims are valid which takes a lot of time and can be frustrating for both the travellers and approvers. With an automated solution, all this fuss with travel policy compliance disappears because the approval process takes place at the point of receipt entry.

So, why sabotage your budget and policy compliance when you can invest now in a long-term solution with multiple benefits for you and your employees? Think about the time, money and energy you can save, and your employees' increased satisfaction! Everyone will be pleased with the built-in compliance that comes from a well implemented travel expense management software.