Finance News & Insights

New trend in biz travel will have CFOs excited

As CFO chief, you’re always trying to hammer home the importance making more economical choices when employees are traveling for business. Well, good news — it looks like the message is finally starting to sink in.

A positive trend

A recent survey by cashback app Dosh shows a promising new trend in more cost-conscious road warriors:

  • 47% ate at less expensive restaurants
  • 43% skipped room service
  • 42% searched for cheaper itineraries
  • 28% changed their travel dates to secure better rates, and
  • 16% entertained clients at less expensive places.

From the pros on the front lines

Of course, if you’re having trouble getting your road warriors to comply with your T&E policy, the above stats probably don’t mean too much. If you need help in this area, we’ve talked with the folks on the front lines – Accounts Payable pros – to get their tips and tricks that got even the most troublesome business travelers in line.

Take a look at the four best ones we’ve come across:

Tip 1: Allow some once-banished expenses

Cover in-room movies? No way! That expense report gets bounced back.

Maybe it shouldn’t be. One expert we know worked with a company that, like many others, refused to foot the bill for an in-room rom-com.

That was, until it did a survey of expense reports and found that the employees who stayed in and rented a $15 movie cost their company a whole lot less than the ones who hit the town and racked up big bar and restaurant tabs.

Employees were happier because they could spend their travel time the way they wanted, A/P didn’t have to kick back reports and the company saved money.

Tip 2: Focus on your ‘super-users’

Whether you change your T&E or policies or your expense reporting procedure, you know there’s always an adjustment period. And that usually means extra work for Finance, as it corrects folks who are still doing things the old way.

Next time you have a change in the works, try this: focus on all your employees who travel more than five times a year.

They become your “super users.” That will give you an idea of what you need to focus your training on when you roll it out to your less-frequent travelers. And you’ll be confident that people you get the most expense reports from will know what they’re doing.

Tip 3: Schedule automatic email reminders

You and your staffers know all too well how some employees can drag their feet about submitting their expenses for reimbursements. Not to mention there can be times when your A/P staff is getting slammed by reports.

There’s a way to take control of the flow. Try sending automatic email reminders to travelers a few days after they return from business trips. It doesn’t even have to be much work for your team. Gmail and Outlook lets you schedule them in advance so your staffers don’t have to break the flow of the days to give that little nudge that will get those reports in.

Tip 4: Add an extra training tool

Sometimes no matter how often you and your finance staff goes over the right way to do something, employees still just don’t get it. There’s only so much time and effort you can devote to getting employees in line.

One A/P manager was having that problem when it came to new T&E software. So he found a free online program that let him record both his voice and actions on the computer as he went through the software. That way he could walk travelers through step by step as they followed along.

Each new traveler gets a link to the video and a PDF file.

Result: A/P is seeing fewer errors and more time for other work.

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