NOVEMBER 28, 2018
In most companies, business trips occur on a regular basis, and every trip brings new bills and receipts. One person can travel a couple times a week, and there is probably more than one employee traveling frequently. How to handle this volume of travel expense claims and paperwork?
The number of business trips may vary depending on a business's industry and employee's responsibilities. But despite all differences, travel reimbursement process should be similar everywhere, most to the time. However, more often than not, travel expenses claims tend to be handled 'ad hoc' – chaotically, with receipts not assigned to a travel, leaving employees wondering when they will get their money back.
What if I told you, that you can go through a business trip reimbursement with a couple of mouse clicks? Currently, there is a number of tools available for use through a web browser, which can improve repeatable processes in your company. In the next part, you will learn how to go through a travel reimbursement checklist in 4 simple steps using one of these tools.
Lay out clear and simple rules on proceeding with travel expenses claim.
Why is it important to have rules? Think of your company as a ship. The ship's captain has experience and knowledge that makes him confident when leading his crew. But in order to safely arrive at a destination, the crew have to follow some rules. Imagine the likelihood of getting into uncharted waters and arriving at a destination delayed, when everyone on the ship acts on their own.
So, how to set the rules for travel reimbursement that are clear to everyone?
Here's our checklist:
Rules are set – what next? Use a tool which will facilitate going through processes like business travel reimbursement. Don't worry, you won't have to switch between a number of apps, emails and paper forms. Try: myflowboard.com
In order to go through travel expenses claims efficiently every time, you'll need to create a new process template with its two key components: a data form and a task list. First, set a person responsible for the travel reimbursement process from start to finish and define how long should it take to be completed.
In the next step, create a data form. The form will help you collect the required information, like the location, arrival and return dates or means of transport. Also, scans or photos of receipts collected during the trip can be attached by the requesting person.
The issue will not be handed over to processing if any of the required pieces of information is missing.
Think of all the small tasks that need to get done in order to process a travel expenses claim. Every task can be dependent on another one and can involve a different assignee. Dedicate some time to create a task list template, which will be used repeatedly in every travel expenses claim. After the process is started, FlowBoard will copy tasks from the template and assign them to specific employees automatically. Additionally, every task may have a due date set up.
Think about the best way of communicating changes in travel reimbursement to all your colleagues.
In the beginning, regularly check if all the employees follow the new rules. Be certain someone will forget about the new travel reimbursement process when they get back from the trip. If the company structure has changed, see if the process template needs to be updated with new task assignees. Constantly be checking if the process needs small changes - new fields in the data form, new tasks or longer due dates.
If your accounting is outsourced, think how it fits in your new process. Including accounting in your information flow, you may noticeably improve communication.
The above steps were created according to a set of good practices in office work organization. By applying them to your company you can notice:
Process members will be able to verify the information provided by the requester. Task list will make sure every little action is taken at a specific time.
Improvement in communication
Task assignees in a process have the required information from the start, which improves clarity and limits the need for direct communication.
Objective work evaluation
With reusable process templates, you can check if the processes are conducted according to the rules.
Workflow management tools like FlowBoard not only help you reduce delays and mistakes in the business travel reimbursement process, but also improve clarity and communication in your company.
A reusable process template will help you to evaluate work and identify bottlenecks in your processes – which often are the overburdened employees.