Corporate travel is a careful balancing act. There’s a lot to consider, such as your schedule, budget, and preferences. It’s vital you stay comfortable, productive, and safe throughout your travels. At the same time, you must avoid mistakes that cost your company revenue. For example, more expenses can result in the business making less profit than it should.
Understanding Business Travel Expenses
Business travel expense is employees’ expenditure to perform specific duties outside the office. Being on a business trip entails working different hours than you usually do. So, you will have more expenses than when working locally. Before heading out in the field, make sure they answer all your questions. They should have a plan and guidelines on your expenditures in place.
The travel manager will need to calculate business travel expense reports. So, be sure to provide all expenses. In addition, your employer will need them to calculate the IRS per diem rates. Hotel Engine discusses everything you need to know about the IRS Per Diem Rates for 2023.
Staying as financially organized as possible is vital during business travels. Below are nine dos and don’t of business travel expense reports.
1. Do Pay with Your Credit Card
A credit card has a 30-day payment period. So, the pay-off period allows you enough time to receive payment from your employer. If you find they’re taking too long, inform them earlier rather than later. That way, you don’t accrue any late payment charges.
Additionally, spending gives you a chance to build your credit score. Not to mention, you may also gain reward points if your credit card or employer offers them.
2. Don’t Round-Up
If an item costs $58, don’t convert it to $68. An extra $10 might seem small, but over time can have a huge impact on your company’s wallet. If you get into the habit of taking advantage, it can also look poorly on you. The outcome is that it erodes the trust between you and the organization.
3. Do Keep Documentation
Most companies want evidence of all expenses incurred. As such, asking for receipts after every purchase would be a good idea. In case there are no receipts, ensure you note down every expense. Keeping track of your transactions simplifies everything. It makes it easier to present everything to your employer after a trip.
4. Do Categorize Expenses
You should classify expenses into smaller units for easy understanding. For instance, you can categorize the amounts spent on hotel stays under accommodation. For amounts paid on air tickets, put it under travel, and so on.
5. Don’t Forget Your Mileage
Organizations typically reimburse employees based on miles if they use a car to travel to their destination. The reimbursement can cover your car’s fuel and wear and tear. The rule of the thump is to subtract the miles you usually cover on your regular commuting days.
6. Do Submit Your Expense Report on Time
It is good to submit your expense report as soon as you return from your trip. You may lose records and receipts that support your expenditures. So, handing them in right away ensures this doesn’t happen.
7. Do Understand Your Company’s Policies
It’s best to understand your company’s policies on travel expenses before embarking on your trip. This will help you avoid inevitable mistakes in advance. If you have any questions, contact the person who handles travel in your company.
8. Don’t Forget To Tip
Most companies normally reimburse employees for reasonable tips. For example, it’s normal to tip taxi drivers, servers, and baggage handlers. But remember to document all the tips given on your receipts.
9. Don’t Take Advantage
Going on a business trip means no one is around to monitor your moves and how you spend money. Although you may have the right to spend as much as you want, try to be considerate. For example, purchasing a glass of wine for $100 would not sound reasonable. Whereas buying a glass of wine for $15 is more appropriate.
Providing expense reports can prove daunting when your job involves a lot of traveling. Therefore, it is essential to take the necessary steps to make the reimbursement process seamless.
As an employee, you should understand the company policies concerning travel expenditure. Submit all expenses related to your travel and avoid unnecessary spending. Both you and your employer will feel better staying on the same page every step of the way.