No matter what company you may decide to work for, there are always going to be rules and regulations to ensure that order is maintained. These rules and regulations are what you would policies, and just about every business has their own company policies which you will encounter.
So when employees need to travel to certain locations for business-related matters, there are still rules and procedures which they have to follow. So it’s up to companies to come up with the right travel and expense policies that will give these employees all the information they need regarding how business-related travels will be handled. This article is going to teach you how to come up with an effective travel and expense policy.
University Business and Travel Expense Policy
Travel and Entertainment Policy
Travel and Expense Reimbursement Policy
Reasons for Creating a Travel and Expense Policy
One of the main reasons as to why a company would need this type of policy is because there are some employees who are likely to book out-of-policy, which would then result in the company losing more money than it’s supposed to for business travels. Another good reason for having one is to make sure that employees are not satisfied with their experience when doing any business-related travels. One very bad travel experience can reflect how the company treats its employees. So it’s important to create a corporate travel policy that is not only easy to follow and helps the company control costs, but also one that factors in the needs of the employee.
Here are a couple of other benefits of creating a travel and expense policy
- Keeps the travel booking processed and organized. So long as your policy covers how the employees should book their flights or their lodgings, then they shouldn’t have any problems from the moment that they arrive at their destination.
- Streamlines the reimbursement procedures for those employees who are required to travel. There will be times where an employee may be required to use his/her personal funds for certain parts of the business trip. Naturally, they would want to be paid back for whatever business expenses they’ve made during the trip. So by giving them the details of how they will be reimbursed, these employees won’t have to worry about being paid what they’re owed. Just remember to point out in your policy that employees will only be paid back for business-related expenses. You don’t want to pay for anything that the employee bought for his/her personal needs now do you?
- Ensures that the company can save more. When you’re creating the travel and expense policy, you’re basically telling the employee just how much of the company’s revenue will be used during the travel. By stating what will be spent on and what is prohibited, the company can save a ton of money. Just be sure that you’re pointing those things out very clearly.
- Protects employees through clearly outlined safety procedures. When traveling, sometimes there are still dangers that an employee has to look out for. This is why you have to come up with the proper safety procedures that all of your employees will have to follow whenever they are required or assigned to participate in business trips. Giving them the details of these procedures will ensure that they are able to make it safely to their destination, as well as making sure that they have a place to eat and sleep once they arrive.
- It will make sure that employees actually arrive at the place that they’re supposed to be in. So long as you provide them with information on when they should start booking their flights and lodgings, what mode of transportation they should use for certain destinations, and giving them enough funds to make the trip, then you shouldn’t worry about your employees not making it to that oh-so-important business meeting, convention, partnership agreement, etc.
While your travel and expense policy might depend on the goals of your company, travel practices, or even your company’s culture, it’s best that you take note of all these benefits to ensure that you’re able to make a policy that will benefit both you and your employees.
Travel Policy Template
There are a ton of different variables that you’ll have to take into account when you decide to make the travel and expense policy of your company. If you’re the person tasked with writing the policy, you’ll find that this will not be an easy thing to do as you have to balance both the needs of the company and that of the employees.
So here are a couple of items that just about every travel and expense policy should have:
The expense categories that you will reimburse travelers for will constitute the majority of your travel policy. This means you’re going to have to list every travel and entertainment related expenses that your company is willing to cover, as well as all of the restrictions or guidelines for booking when it comes to those two categories.
For these categories, you’ll need to tell employees of:
- Any preferred vendors (airlines, hotels, car-rental services) that your company would prefer them to book.
- The company’s advanced booking requirement. this is the amount of time the employee has to book before the date of the actual travel. Majority of companies usually require the employee to book at least 2 weeks in advance. Although you do not have to follow the 2-week rule, it’s best that you give the employees more than enough time to ensure that they’re actually able to book everything they need for the travel.
- The website and mobile booking tool that the employee is required to use to search for travel bookings. There are some which are reliable, then there are some who you can’t trust. It will be up to you as to what you want the travel policy to point out which of these websites and mobile booking tool should the employee use to get good results.
- The process of payment. Are there certain categories for which employees should use a company card versus a personal card? Will all of the booking be completed through the mobile booking tool? This is what you’re going to have to answer within the company policy.
A good travel policy for companies clearly states what items the company is willing to reimburse those employees who have been assigned to undertake business travels. Some common items that you’ll want to place in the policy as non-refundable would usually be:
- Airline preferred seat upgrades
- Any toiletries and clothing purchased by the employee during the trip
Some of these items may be listed in the expense categories, but it’s more useful to have a full list of what won’t be reimbursed available to the employee as they’re going to have their own section within the expense report.
Expense Report and Reimbursement Process
While some companies choose to explain expense reporting for each expense category in their travel policy, there are those who decide to offer a separate section which will describe the expense reporting process. No matter what kind of approach you decide to take, there are always going to be a couple of common items that you’re going to have to address. Even if the expense reporting will vary depending on the company that you’re working for, the company travel policy will still need to cover the following issues:
- The kind of documentation the company is going to need the employee in order to properly reimburse whatever expense was made during the travel. This would be something like the receipt for the meals and lodging.
- The expected timeline in which the employee will have to submit expense reports once he/she has completed the business trip.
- The time it will take until the employee will be reimbursed once he/she has submitted the expense report.
- The consequences should the employee decide not to follow the travel and expense policy.
- Any pre-approval needed for any expense categories.
- The person who will be approving trip requests and expense reports, as well as that person’s contact information.
Just make sure that you cover all of these within the policy. Also, in terms of reimbursement, remind your employee that it’s very important that they have to keep the receipts of everything that items that will be reimbursed as stated in the company policy.
One of the most important goals that every company has to strive for is to ensure that safety of every employee who has to conduct business travels is protected. It’s important to delineate any travel safety procedures in your policies to help ensure that all of your employees remain safe during the travel. So here are a couple of things that you have to consider:
- Require your employees to submit their itineraries so that you know where they will be at the entire time during the trip.
- Ask your employees to give you their numbers as well as the number of their hotel room.
- Provide your employees with contact information in the event that they need to contact your company during special emergencies.
- Describing the information of the insurance that the company will be using for travel purposes.
In the event that you would like to learn more about how to create your own travel and expense policy or anything related to this particular topic, then all you have to do is go through our site, find the articles that contain whatever information you may need, and utilize whatever you have been able to gather to help you and your business out.