17 July 2019

Manage Your Travel Expenses Better With Virtual Payments

Business travel is steadily increasing and, according to the Global Business Travel Association, travel expenses will reach $1.7 trillion by 2022. This is definitely good news because it means that, in an increasingly virtual and technological world, great importance is still attached to face-to-face meetings when it comes to visiting customers or prospects.

The increase in business travel can lead to an increase in the burden for some departments that deal, for example, with the management of expenses.

Let's see what we can do to better organise this aspect of business travel.

Travel expenses: a critical point for companies

Even the best organised trip can face some complications that can jeopardise the planning of the budget allocated for travel expenses. As travel frequency increases, there are more and more aspects to be controlled and, as a result, there's a greater risk that something will go wrong, or that it'll not match the forecasts.

Let's see what companies can do to have greater control over travel costs, always ensuring the well-being and comfort of the employee on the move.

Is completing the expense report an inefficient process?

In many companies, the practice with travel is for employees to use their personal credit card to make all payments and then be reimbursed later by bank transfer or in cash, depending on the expense report they complete themselves. This mode is certainly not the best as it involves a series of steps that lengthen the entire process and make it inefficient.

All the more reason today, because we're talking more and more about 'bleisure' (the possibility of including moments and days of relaxation during the business trip) and therefore it can be difficult to keep meticulously under control all the expenses.

This can be a problem, especially if the employee decides to extend the trip for a few days to visit the city, perhaps letting their family and friends join them. It's important that the travel expenses are well separated from personal expenses, which is often quite complicated.

Yet, we may have a possible solution.

Why is bleisure so important to work-life balance? Find out here.

Integrate new payment instruments

Effective and efficient management is achieved through the use of virtual payment systems. These tools are more secure and allow greater control by the company. Virtual credit cards allow you to book all travel services through a single corporate account and to have, even in real time, accurate reports and information on expenses.

This allows you to have better control over the budget, but also facilitates the activity of the traveller who'll not have to waste time filling out long expense reports. Don't underestimate the fact that, in this way, the company will no longer have to ask the employee to use their salary to advance travel expenses, then finding themselves in a state of debt to him.

Sometimes this solution is not very attractive for small and medium-sized enterprises, because it's also perceived as a risk.

However, the advantage is that, by reimbursing the employee after the trip, the company doesn't have many options or responses, since the transactions have already taken place. Instead, by using a virtual system with a limited account that can only be unlocked by the travel manager or administrative manager, the valuation and decision moves to before the transaction takes place.

There's still some hesitation on the part of companies to change the old refund system, often because entrepreneurs are too busy and don't have time to adopt a new system, also considering the impact it can have once started. Sooner or later, you realise that it's an outdated travel expense management that really wastes time, resources, and money, so why not adopt an efficiency oriented policy right away?

In addition to virtual payments, there's other effective ways to optimise travel expenses and not exceed your budget, such as enrolling your company in a loyalty programme like PartnerPlusBenefit.

Don't just manage your travel expenses - make sure you manage all aspects of your flight by downloading our checklist below.

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