A travel booker’s guide to managing T&E

Keeping track of your travel budget and managing multiple travel expenses across travellers can be a time-consuming process. But, according to Flight Centre Business Travel – it doesn’t have to be this way. 

In a white paper, Flight Centre Business Travel provides a few steps that will help travel bookers to save time while also saving on travel costs. 

1. Consult all stakeholders

Confer with all stakeholders in involved in the travel and expense management processes. This include you, the travel booker, as well as travellers, representatives from management, procurement, finance, HR, legal teams, IT, sales and your TMC partner. Know who the travel process serves and how.

2. Understand the scope of total travel spend

Assess your current situation fully. You can’t hope for savings if you don’t understand the scope of your total travel spend, from significant expenses to smaller items that fly beneath he radar but which add up to substantial amounts, such as extra baggage fees or airport parking. Where applicable, you can also pull in the spend from MICE to enable to the company to pack a bigger punch when negotiating deals. 

3. Update your travel policy

Once you have a better handle on your spend, determine whether you are getting the maximum value out of it by ensuring your travel policy is up to date and comprehensive enough. A travel policy offers guidelines for bookers and travellers on issues such as preferred suppliers, budgets and allowances, booking classes and rules as well as payment methods. Clarify accountability and approval channels. When you push inefficiencies out of your travel and expense work flows, you minimise demands on employees. 

4. Align your expense policy

Travel expenses cause a great deal of discontent if guidelines are not in place. Clearly state which T&E items the employer covers and stipulate when travel and entertainment expenses are for the employee’s own account. Include guidelines about expense claims, required supporting documentation and the deadlines for those claims. Stipulate the consequences for employees not complying with these policies. Companies generally use one of two methods, namely a fixed, per diem allowance to simplify record keeping, or a reimbursement system where travellers provide receipts and request a refund. 

5. Assess technology needs

Organisations are increasingly automating their T&E management activities and you need to keep up with the latest developments in travel technologies. With the manual entering and itemising of expenses, mistakes creep in and errors are costly. Technology has enabled companies to take great strides forward regarding expense management. Systems that automatically populate charges from suppliers, credit card companies and receipts, for example, lower the risk of missed or incorrectly entered expense, as well as the risk of fraud. 

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