Travel requests are forms that need to be signed off in order for an employee to travel on company expenses. Approvers might include department heads, other top brass, and team members from the finance department. The forms may be printed paper sheets, or soft copy versions passed around online.
A travel request workflow is one of the most essential workflows for companies whose employees often need to travel for business.
Challenges of NOT using a travel request system
The lack of a proper travel request workflow poses the following challenges:
- A request & approval process that uses spreadsheets and emails is difficult to manage with scale and is not transparent.
- Also, when you use emails and spreadsheets for travel management, there’s every chance that key information doesn’t reach the relevant person.
- No control over travel costs, budget approvals and limits required
- Poor management of business travel increases your spend and creates a lot of last-minute chaos.
- 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.
Here’s an example – the requester specifies the purpose of travel along with the travel plans, estimated cost, and cost center. The travel request is automatically routed for approval to the appropriate signing authority or authorities, based on the estimated total cost and travel advance requested.
How to streamline the travel request workflow
1. Define your goals
Start by defining your workflow with a name and a purpose- “Travel Request Workflow”. Identify the goals of having a travel approval workflow. Find if you want to cut back on time, improve efficiency, or make the process transparent. Also, consider the cost of implementing such a process.
2. Plan and map your process
Come up with strategies needed to achieve the goals and have a broad roadmap for the process. Identify the individual tasks, your teams and systems need to do in order to execute the plan.
3. Design the travel request form
The default travel request form in Kissflow Finance has been designed to capture requester details, travel details, project details, travel itinerary, accommodation requirements, and expense/ticket details. You can add or remove fields based on your requirements.
4. Define the travel request workflow
Once the form is ready, you need to design the sequential path of tasks that need to be completed. You can assign data entry and approval tasks to individuals. You can also automate approvals based on pre-defined criteria.
5. Set permissions
Once the workflow is ready, you can assign stakeholders and set permissions. Roles and responsibilities are assigned to individuals based on their tasks in the travel request workflow. You can even hide fields based on the confidentiality of the information and the access granted to employees.
6. Implement the process
After everything is set, you can publish the approval workflow. Employees can initiate travel requests and managers can approve it.
7. Improve the workflow
Once the system has been implemented and running for a while, it collects enough data to give you insights into how the approval process can be made faster and more efficient. You can find the average approval time, the time taken by individual users to complete their tasks, and other such information to know what needs to be done.
Essential features of travel approval requests
The travel request is automatically approved if all of the following conditions are met:
(1) Estimated travel cost is specified by the requester
(2) Estimated travel cost is less than the maximum travel cost allowed
(3) The travel advance requested by the requester is less than a predefined value.
Even if a single condition is not met, the travel request form is sent to the manager for approval, and then to the respective department head. Once the approvals are given, the request is sent to the admin team for making the travel arrangements and the finance team for providing the travel advance.
How Kissflow helps in travel request
With Kissflow Finance & Ops Cloud, you can streamline all your key finance processes like travel requests, expense approvals, and budget requests. Get improved control over finance approvals and see your efficiency soaring. Sign up for a free trial and see for yourself.