Travel and Entertainment Accounting Outsourcing
Travel and entertainment are among the necessary but completely controllable expenses for most businesses. The only thing they demand more than money is attention to detail and elaborate planning. In simplest words travel and entertainment expenses can be defined as the cost incurred when an employee of a company is travelling for business purposes. These may include attending conferences, meeting new clients, visiting production sites, or simply carrying out meetings with offices located in different locations. The expenses that may be incurred on such activities include lodging, transportation, meals, and per diem. Taking clients to dinners, or site visits, or sporting events etc. are also part of this expense category. Most companies have a reimbursing rule, whereby the employee keeps receipts of all the relevant expenses which are later reimbursed by the company through an account specifically kept for such reasons. At other times a pre-decided budget is allocated to the relevant team or employee to be expensed at such requirements.
Top challenges in travel and entertainment expense management
With globalization and mobility becoming an essential part of any modern day growing business, travel expenses have started to become a bigger burden on the finances, especially for organizations already struggling with cost management. The primary challenges faced by today’s business in this regard are:
For starters, there is a definite need of trust between the employee and the company, but that does not discount the need of proper pre-planning and estimation of potential costs for a particular trip. For instance, does the company know how much it costs per day to travel to a particular destination, and whether the employee tasked with travelling is keeping the costs to a minimum or taking the liberty to indulge? Then there is almost always a business plan or deal available with the travel agents that can reduce these expenses over a large number of trips, and it is a matter of concern whether your company is aware of any such available opportunities and availing them?
Unclear policies within the organization:
Unless you have made it crystal clear that which expenses can and cannot be charged to the company account, your employees are bound to run into trouble. Travel costs, the estimated budgets, and the expense heads that can be included as the company’s responsibility need to be clearly communicated before any such travelling assignment is designated. As mentioned in the previous point, if you do have any partnership with a hotel, airline, transportation companies etc. communicate that to your employees too. They might look for cheaper options and still end up paying more than they would need to with your partner organizations.
Delayed re-payments to employees:
This can become a make or break factor for your company’s business prospects. If your employee is not sure on how long will it take for the expenses to be reimbursed to him or her, they might be a lot less interested in carrying out the desired activities, or even going in the first place. Missing key information, time lag in processing of receipts, checks clearance, or general approval delays can all factor in causing your employees resentment and your company losses, even at times which could have been very fruitful had your employee been motivated.
Keeping records of all travel trends:
All employees don’t have the same proclivities nor the same interests. One trip might have cost you an arm and a leg and another one might have been finished in just a fraction of the cost. Then there can also be emergency and unforeseen expenses. To keep the expenses streamlined, you also need efficient and accurate expense records of all travels of your employees. The very fact of absence of any such record keeping can become an incentive for your employees to over indulge or skim extra money. Better safe than sorry.
How Travel and Entertainment Accounting Outsourcing can help you?
As mentioned at the start of this article, it is not just the monetary cost that is controllable here but the immense amount of time that goes into the proper management of travel and entertainment expenses that you can do away with. Like any other accounting operations, this expense head also requires qualified and skilled personnel that come at a heavy cost. Then there is the inevitable need of relevant software and the team to operate and manage that. At Intersoft BPO you can get the perfect technical and human resources providing you the following services:
- Keeping timely and accurate records of your company’s travel and entertainment expenses
- Providing regular metrics and analysis of expenses and strategies to control them
- Maintaining your contacts with external companies and utilizing available cost reduction offers
- Approving reports with your company’s travel policies and ensuring that accurate claims are being met