How To Manage Your Employees' Travel Expenses Report

Does your organisation need a Travel Expense Report?

If you have employees who travel regularly for work, a travel expense report is crucial to understanding how much your company is spending - and what you’re spending it on. On an individual basis, it’s a useful way for your employees to keep track of their expenses and claim them back; and on a corporate basis, it offers essential insights into your employees’ needs and how you can meet them without breaking the bank. 

Perhaps you have been managing this process informally until now, but as your teams spend more time on the road or in the air, you’ll need to create a more formal way to document this, known as a travel expense report.

What expenses can be claimed back, and how?

Normally, eligible expenses are set out in the company travel policy. In many cases, more junior employees pay their expenses out of their own funds and are refunded by the company later, while often more senior team members are given a company credit card. Either way, it’s important to keep track of the whole team’s expenses.

These can include:

  • Accommodation
  • Mileage
  • Air fare or train fare
  • A stipend for food
  • Entertainment
  • Others - miscellaneous business travel expenses

Some travel policies will also set a specific limit for each expense for example  €20/day for food, or specify certain providers with whom the company has agreed discounts. Approved expenses are usually processed separately to salaries, and are often processed twice a month, so employees don’t have to wait too long.

Create a standardised travel expenses form

To help your employees keep track of their expenses, you should have a standardised travel expenses report. Some larger global organisations have innovative digitised systems, but most companies still use a manual system where the employee fills out a form and submits it to the Finance department. 

They may or may not need a superior to sign off on the expenses - this should be made clear in the company travel policy.

Your travel expenses form can be a simple document; an Excel file is ideal as this will work with all operating systems. Check out this free example, which you can download and modify to suit your needs.

Keep the receipts

It’s important that your employees keep receipts for all the expenses they are claiming back. There are two reasons for this; one is that you will need to be able to show them to an auditor who comes in to look at the company’s financial records to prove you are monitoring this paying the correct taxes. 

The second reason is that while the vast majority of employees are trustworthy, unfortunately there are rare occasions when  someone will try to claim back expenses that are not valid or are inflated. Checking receipts submitted is one way to ensure all your employees are playing by the rules.

Keeping track of your travel expense reports

Keeping a close on travel expenses is important for your business. They can be a major overhead, and having a clear view of what’s costing you the most can help you make smart choices for your organisation. You can use the information to leverage discounts with brands your employees use a lot, and if your business is under pressure financially, you can ensure your employees aren’t overspending. 

How does your company manage travel expense reports? Leave a comment below and let us know.

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