Travel Management Apps to Look Out for in 2019

Why You Might Want to Try a Automated Travel Management App in 2019

Venkat

February 12th, 2019 Travel Management  

In an ideal world, going on a business trip sounds exciting–business class tickets, overflowing champagne, luxury hotels, fancy restaurants, and the works. In reality, business trips can take a toll on both the traveler and the travel manager. There’s always the case of eleventh-hour bookings, sold-out hotels, and, more often than not, businesses end up paying a lot more than the estimated amount.

Outdated finance processes result in ineffective travel expense management and an incredible waste of time and resources. Travel management apps help you take back control over this tedious process.

The role of travel management apps

Travel management apps help business book tickets and accommodation, and create accurate itineraries. They also provide travel expense guidelines and ensure that all travel expenses adhere strictly to the budgeted amounts. The solution captures the expenses incurred during the trip, and makes it easier for employees to submit reimbursement claims.

Using emails and spreadsheets for travel management is a common mistake every growing business does. Often, key information doesn’t reach the relevant person. There are difficulties in enforcing travel policies, there’s a lack of spend visibility, and it takes a lot of time to get things done when you use manual processes.

Poor management of business travel increases your spend and creates a lot of last-minute chaos. Having a travel management application in place ensures that everything runs as smoothly as possible.

Features to look for in travel management apps

Travel management products often allow users to do the following:

  • Request business trips
  • Create travel approval workflows
  • Book hotels and flight tickets
  • Create a real-time itinerary
  • Manage travel expense reporting
  • Ensure compliance
  • Sync plans and meetings with calendars
  • Manage corporate credit cards
  • Store travel documents
  • View travel expense reporting and analytics

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 customize 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.

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.

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.