5 Uses Of Travel Expense Management Software

In today’s competitive era, a lot of organizations still manage their travel expenses in a very unorganized manner. The traditional way wastes employee time and productivity and increases the stress of Account payable and Finance team in managing the process manually. To gain competitive advantage, organizations need to move to travel expense management platform that integrates travelers, approvers, travel desks, travel agents, accounts payable and finance on one portal to reduce miscommunication and streamline the process. Unnecessary trips and wasteful cancellations are decreased, travel is only with authorized vendors and travelers function within the recommended procedures and systems. This saves both time and money. Below mentioned are few benefits of an efficient Travel Expense Management Software:

Structured Travel Policy

Earlier when accounting for travel expenses was done manually, it was difficult to keep track of all the expenses and cost incurred. With the travel expense management software, the travel policies will be very clear and erroneous payments can be highlighted. Common travel expenses including hotel and food ought to be written down clearly. This helps in preventing issues in the future.

Expense Visibility

The finance and accounts payable team can get a clear visibility on the spend made. They will have all the related information available in the system with details of the same. They can easily know which department is spending how much and can put budget control wherever needed.

Efficient Processes

Entering expenses manually into a spreadsheet can be really tedious and can tend to be inaccurate. It becomes difficult for the accounts payable and finance team as well if you have several hundred employees in an organization. This is where the travel expense management software comes into the picture. The software allows employees to report their expenses in the system which automatically follows the workflow and goes for approval. Post approval it goes to the relevant department for authenticating and processing the payment. The entire process is seamless, automated and quick for employees and internal departments.

On-Time Employee Reimbursement

If you take too much time to reimburse your employee, it will lead to growing resentment. It could also lead to employees hesitant to go on business trips and maybe even flat-out refuse, which would ultimately affect the business. The software allows the employees to report their expenses on the go and it immediately goes for approval and payment. The entire process is quick and automated which saves a lot of time and helps to reimburse employee expenses on or before time.

Employee Travel Expense Trends

With a spreadsheet, it is difficult to say if a particular employee’s expenditure is atypical to the normal pattern. The software helps to capture data and analyse the trend based on historical data. Management can run multiple reports and get analytics to help them make business decisions. For ex. It is easy to look up different trips and find out whether inflation is bringing up the expenses or if the employee is skirting along the edge of allowed expenses. Both the Travel Expense Management Software and the Procure to Pay Software helps bring financial control in the organization saving a lot of cost and time.

The Truth About Government Travel Advisories, Warnings and Alerts

If you’re like most people and you believe that government travel advisories, warning and alerts represent the most accurate advice for business travellers then you are terribly mistaken.

Here are the key elements that all business travellers and travel managers need to know regarding the validity and application of government travel alerts and travel related advice. Knowing and understanding these few simple issues will save your company unnecessary travel delays and disruptions under almost any circumstance. The main points to always consider in the wake of a renewed or updated advisory, warning or alert is the target audience, specific government resources, commercial relevance and the avoidance of evacuation scenarios.

The primary demographic for government advisories are first time travellers, backpackers, families and anyone else with little to no prior travelling experience and preparation or the lowest possible denominator. It is this group that governments aim their advice and analysis towards with the belief that if this group is adequately informed, then all remaining demographics will be covered. Unfortunately this results in an artificially low benchmark for all travellers not within this group.These other groups depend upon travel for business productivity, management and administration and the more likely to have their travel plans altered unnessesarily due to many government alerts. This is in part due to corporate risk avoidance (in the belief the government travel advisories are adequate) and insurance companies benchmarking many of their travel policy exclusions on that of government travel advice (again, in the belief the government are catering to their needs too). Unless you are a first time traveller, significantly inexperienced or lack appropriate business support while travelling, then the majority of government travel advice does not apply to you.

Detailed examination of dedicated resources aimed at travel related advice and content typically reveals little more than a handful of “specific” resources. That is, someone or department dedicated solely to the collection, analysis and dissemination of commercially relevant travel advice. Most government resources are “shared” services when it comes to travel intelligence and advice with general non-government travel a very small increment of their overall mandate. Smaller countries have no dedicated resources and simply “share” the advice from coalition partners or more populace countries, further diluting the relevance to their citizens. Most continuous travel advisory services, provided by a government, are little more than a chronology of publicly available media updates. While resources are limited in the first instance, it is the lack of commercial experience that constitutes the greatest flaw to government travel advisories.

What little resources there are that are aimed at travel intelligence typically lack any direct commercial experience. Therefore, all their apparent advice is predicated more on the interests of the government (resulting in censorship, omissions and politically correct publications) than that of any business sector or commercial demographic. When you have soldiers, government agents and police officers commenting on matters relating to commerce and business travel, you get little actionable advice due to their inability to put into commercial context the impact events may have from a purely commercial perspective rather than a transnational or political viewpoint.

Behind closed doors, most governments admit they do not maintain nor posses the resources (assumed by most of their citizens) for large scale evacuations from any corner of the globe. Regrettably many travellers have grown to assume that complete failure to take responsibility for their own safety and security while travelling will always be compensated by the government’s ability to swoop in and save then if they should so choose. This is wrong and very dangerous for those with such a belief. For those governments that would even consider an evacuation of their nationals (not very many) they will often go to great lengths to advise their citizens to leave or make personal arrangements long before any government is forced into acting. Landing troops or foreign government elements in someone else’s country is always the choice of last resort and highly prone to complications, even if it were possible.

Anything published by a government will always have the country’s national interests such as economy, trade and diplomatic relationships carefully considered before release. Anything that may threaten such strategic goals is likely to be withheld, including government travel advisories, warnings and alerts. Now that you understand the importance of being self sufficient and discerning when it comes to government travel advice you will waste less time placing priority on such updates and focus on more commercially relevant inputs. As a result, your company travel risk management process will be far more resilient and less impacted by the stop/start affect created by government updates, warnings and alerts. You may also now identify gaps that need to be filled by insufficient commercial content from government sources.

Government travel advisories, warnings and alerts focus on the wrong target demographic, lack the appropriate resources, have little commercial relevance and seek to avoid last minute acts such as evacuations. Now that you too are aware of these limitations you should be better positioned to make business decisions in the wake of crisis, emergency and dynamic events that affect a location and your business travellers. Business travel risk management is a commercial process and can only be achieved with appropriate commercial products and services.

Teleconferencing Services Save Businesses Money on Travel

The cost of business travel is out of control these days. Hotel rooms aren’t cheap. Rental cars and flights aren’t cheap either. Also consider the opportunity cost of other work that an employee could be getting done if they weren’t sitting in airports waiting unproductively. All of these costs combined add up to a pretty penny. Don’t you think it is time you looked for ways to save the company some money?

One of the ways you can do this is by harnessing the modern technological capabilities of a quality teleconferencing service. These services have come a long way over the years. Most of them now integrate the internet along with voice services so that parties can share various forms of information and collaborate much better. In fact, a lot of meetings can be conducted in an even more productive manner than if they were to take place face to face.

By using a teleconferencing service, your company can avoid not only the cost of travel, but also save the lost office time that the people would otherwise lose due to that travel. These days employees care even more about their time than they do about their wages. You can save them the strain that the travel time puts on their business schedule as well as their personal lives. Just ask one of your employees and you will find that the majority of them would prefer to conduct meetings this way instead of traveling.

There are certain situations that a conference call could not replace. For those situations you are still going to have to spend the money on traveling. If you think about it though, there are probably some instances where you could have saved hundreds if not thousands of dollars by subscribing to an ultra-reliable teleconference service rather than visiting a person in the flesh.

Virtual meetings conducted through a conference service have some distinct advantages that you aren’t going to get with a face to face meeting. For starters, the entire thing is recorded. You don’t have to worry about missing something that was said. You can always replay the meeting in its entirety. You can include people in the meeting that otherwise wouldn’t have been able to make it because the meeting is only a phone call away.

Meeting attendants are far more receptive to this type of meeting because it frees up so much of their other time to do other important work oriented or even personal tasks. It helps you cut out the bull and get down to business. When you are conducting one of these meetings, people are far more inclined to stay on topic and not drift off on tangents. Everybody just wants to get their work done and move on. I can think of few ways that are as positive an impact on productivity.

If you aren’t familiar with the capabilities available in a modern teleconference service these days, I suggest you investigate them. You are going to find that the meetings are way more efficient and productive than you think they will be. You will actually save a ton of money while you are increasing productivity and accomplishing company goals. Check it out and see for yourself. I am sure the possibilities of what is out there will surprise you.