Choosing A Travel Expense Tracker: The Pro’s Guide


January 11th, 2019 Travel Management  

At some point, every business struggles with managing their travel expenses. Whether you make everyone responsible for their own details, or try to impose standard policies, claiming travel expenses can be extremely high and the process is extremely complicated. Everyone’s eager to find a way to make the process better, control costs, and reduce the back and forth.

The job to streamline the effectiveness of this area often falls on the finance department. But many finance heads are not equipped to handle the legacy of paper forms, spreadsheets, and emails to handle business travel and expense processes. Outdated travel expense tracker results in ineffective travel expense management and an incredible waste of time. That’s where you need a streamlined, automated business travel management.

Let’s consider a real-time case. Your new sales rep just came back after a 10-day business trip with a wallet full of barely visible receipts. He staples them to the back of a hand-written form and drops it into a receipt collection box. It gets to the finance manager’s table and its contents are piled upon stacks of hundred other receipts. Meanwhile, finance manager is up in arms to get the approved reports to close the books for the month.

If this scene has ever unfolded in your office and you knew there had to be an easier way, an automated business travel management system might be for you.

What Is a Travel Expense Tracker?

A travel expense tracker is a portal where all employees can submit travel expenses and claim reimbursements. The system helps identify expenses that don’t comply with the organization’s business travel policy, making it easy for managers and the finance team to approve or reject a claim.

Once the expense claims are approved, the travel expense tracker categorizes the expenses and the employee gets reimbursed.

Why Do You Need a Dedicated Travel Expense Tracker?

The problem with a conventional pen-and-paper system is that it’s prone to human errors, expense frauds, an exhaustive paper trail, and travel reimbursements that take weeks to get to the employee’s bank account. Most of this comes back to the manual nature; there’s a need for human intervention, right from submitting travel expense reports to identifying non-compliant claims to reimbursing employees.

To escape this drudgery, you need a fool-proof, automated travel expense tracker that takes care of the entire travel request process, right from submitting expense reports to processing reimbursements.

Things to Look For in a Travel Expense Tracker

It’s easy to get distracted with lots of bells and whistles from a travel expense management system. However, it’s best to focus on what you need. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a travel expense tracker. However, you do need something that:

  • is easy to use
  • supports multiple users
  • accommodates your approval hierarchies
  • ensures business travel policies are adhered to
  • is accessible from everywhere
  • grows as you scale
  • helps you cut down on costs with insightful reports

Looking for a Travel Expense System That Works for You?

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Benefits of Streamlined Business Travel Expense Tracker

  1. Compliance with travel policies
  2. Visibility into financial health
  3. Tax deductions and audits
  4. Happier employees

Compliance With Travel Policies

Ensuring that corporate travel policies are adhered to takes a huge burden off the finance team’s shoulders. It makes it easier for them to approve or reject a travel expense claim. This will also help reduce expense frauds and enforce compliance.

Visibility Into Financial Health

Finding where your money goes helps you plan out an effective budget for business trips. When you track how much money goes out with the help of a travel expense tracker, you get a better picture of the cash flow. You can identify areas where you’re spending unnecessarily and make insightful decisions that can help you cut down on costs.

Tax Deductions and Audits

Claiming travel expenses must be handled in the right way in order for an organization to mark them as a legitimate expense. Without tight control over the process, you may be missing out on benefits. In addition, records and audit trails need to be present to show that you’ve properly managed to claim travel expenses and haven’t opened up yourself to claims to mishandling funds.

Happier Employees

You can make your employees’ lives a lot easier by making it simple for them to submit their travel expenses and get faster reimbursements.

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Automate Your Travel Expense Management System Now.

How Can You Automate Travel Expense Management?

The tracking of expense claims and reimbursements can be a time-consuming and labor-intensive process unless expense management systems are used. Starting from travel requests to getting reimbursed, there are plenty of tasks that can be automated.

Introducing automation at every step of this tedious process can not only save you time but help you run a more efficient business. According to a study, businesses can save up to 70 percent of the time they spend on expense reports by automating travel expense processes. You can either use a dedicated expense tool or build your own with a tool like KiSSFLOW to automate most expense management processes.

Here are a few tasks you can automate to make travel expense management a breeze:

Travel Request

Start by thinking about a portal where your employees can raise a request for business trips. This can be a form where most employee details like name and reporting manager are pre-filled. Employees only have to enter details specific to the trip they’re about to make.

⋙ You’re just a click away from creating your own customizable employee travel request form template in just 15 minutes!

Travel Approval

Once employees submit their requests, they are sent for approval by one or more people. This is where having a well-defined corporate travel management policy comes handy. You can choose to auto-approve travel requests based on certain criteria. Perhaps, a one-day local trip doesn’t need to go through the lengthy approval process.

Submitting Expenses

Employees can capture expense receipts and upload them as and when they happen. This saves them a lot of time when they come back. All they have to do is ensure that their expenses don’t violate the business travel policy and submit it. There are even finance management tools to capture information from a digital copy of the receipt and categorize the expense accordingly.

Expense Approval

By setting up an approval hierarchy, you can ensure that relevant information reaches the right person at the right time. You can even choose to auto-approve expense requests in certain cases. For example, if the claim is less than $20 and the expense category falls under food, you can choose to approve this claim automatically, thereby saving a considerable amount of time.

⋙ You’re just a click away from creating your own customizable employee travel expense claim form template in just 15 minutes!

Reimbursing the Employee

After approval from the finance team, you can set up an automatic travel reimbursement process where the money gets credited to the employees’ bank accounts directly.

Pro Tips to Streamlining Your Travel Expense Management

While claiming travel expenses can be dreary, there are a few things you can do to make it less daunting. Following a streamlined travel approval process can help you save time and avoid costly mistakes.

  • Use a Travel Expense Tracker
  • Automate Whenever Possible
  • Avoid Paperwork
  • Eliminate Double Entries
  • Set Up Online Reimbursements

Use a Travel Expense Tracker

When your salespeople are out there closing deals, it can be frustrating for them to spend just as much time collecting receipts for food and travel as they do connecting with customers. It’s crucial to make the process for claiming expenses as easy as possible to that requesting reimbursements doesn’t become a full time job. A travel expense tracker with a mobile app comes in handy so employees can submit expenses even when they’re on the move.

Automate Whenever Possible

There are a lot of manual holes in the travel expense process. From paper receipts to keying in data on a spreadsheet, there are many chances to create a more automated system. Whether it is automated approvals for a particular amount or creating journal entries immediately, you can find many ways to introduce more smooth functioning.

Avoid Paperwork

Paper receipts not only fade and become illegible with time, but they’re also easy to lose. So, it’s always better to scan the receipts and back them up in the cloud. This saves you a lot of time during audits and you don’t want to be at the mercy of archaeological work to decipher the lost ink on paper receipts.

Eliminate Double Entries

Connect your expense reporting system with your other systems like accounting software to avoid manually entering the same data twice. This not only saves you time but also eliminates human errors.

Set Up Online Reimbursements

When the finance team approves a claim, you can expedite the reimbursement process by setting up an ACH payment or a direct bank transfer and sending the money directly to the employee’s bank account.

⋙ Looking for a customizable travel management software? Check out the list of top travel management software solutions!

How Can KiSSFLOW Help You With Travel Expense Management?

Instead of trying out and evaluating multiple solutions to find the perfect system, you can leverage the power of workflows to automate travel expense tracker. A good place to start is the pre-installed apps inside KiSSFLOW, which you can use to set up your processes. Use the travel request app so employees can submit their travel information online with minimum inputs.

Once an employee submits a request, you get to decide the approval hierarchy. The direct manager is usually the one who approves the request. And perhaps you want to add an approval from the Head of Finance if the reimbursement exceeds $2,000.

Based on the policies you have defined, the system helps you identify expenses that don’t comply with your travel policies. By limiting the manual work, you can increase efficiency and expedite reimbursements.

Automate Travel Expense Management

Create a Custom Solution With KiSSFLOW. No Coding Required.