Recently, we wrote about what you should do when your accounts are in a mess, and as an extension of that post, we wanted to briefly discuss travel expense management.
Managing expenses, in general, can be very tedious (and a little messy), and when you introduce travel into the mix, it can be downright difficult. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Here we look at three simple tips to make travel expense management easier than ever before.
1. Introduce an expense policy
You might be of the opinion that you don’t need a fully-fledged expense policy. That you’re too small or too busy to start down the road of internal processes, rules, and regulations. But no matter if you’re a solo-entrepreneur, a small and growing business, or an established enterprise, it pays to put a policy down on paper before expense management gets out of hand.
Start by determining what you can and cannot claim as a travel expense by checking the allowable expenses listed by your country’s tax and revenue service. Once you understand what you can claim, allocate a budget to particular items, such as the means of travel, meals, and accommodation.
This makes filling out expense reports easier, and saves you or your staff from squandering valuable company resource on a night in a luxury hotel – as tempting as that may be.
And when you bring new employees on board, you have a ready-made policy in place, rather than starting from scratch.
2. Go paperless with your smartphone
In the days before smartphones, tablets, and the cloud, travel expense management was a game of memory and organisation. You had to remember to keep your receipts; remember what those receipts were for; and remember where you put them once you returned from your travels.
Today, the entire process is a great deal smarter and more streamlined. By using your smartphone and an expense management application such as Expensify or Receipt Bank, you can simply snap a photo of a receipt before discarding it. The app will grab all the important information (date, vendor, amount spent, etc.) and automatically deliver it to your cloud accounting software.
Data entry is kept to a minimum, and your purse or wallet won’t be stuffed full of receipts at the end of your trip!
3. Use prepaid business debit cards
A great way of budgeting better and exerting more control over business spending is to use a prepaid business debit card. These cards offer a secure and convenient alternative to using cash, or a typical business debit or credit card.
Simply load the card with money in advance of the trip and then use as normal. This ensures that you or your employee can only spend what’s available on the card, helping to maintain a budget while travelling.
And at the end of the trip, you can quickly review the statement to identify allowable travel expenses.
Need some help getting started?
If you’re unsure how to implement a travel expense policy, or how to set up and use the apps mentioned above, we can help.
Contact us today and speak with one of our friendly experts about introducing cloud accounting and travel expense management to your business.