The tedious work of travel planning can make even the most excited employees groan in misery. The planning checklist for a business trip is much more involved than the average person may think.

  • Determine travel dates
  • Check for the least expensive airfare
  • Confirm flight and seat availability
  • Check with management for permission to book the trip
  • Re-check flight and seat availability
  • Book the flight
  • Print the receipt, fill out the expense form
  • Get management reimbursement approval
  • Submit reimbursement request

Then employees must do all of these steps again for a rental car and a hotel, being sure to keep all the paper receipts for filing another expense reimbursement form when they return.  

Travel planning does not have to be so arduous. There are ways to automate and expedite the process without disrupting business processes or rules.  

The following three steps can make your travel planning more efficient:  

  1. Consistency is king. Make sure all of your employees follow the same travel planning process. There are employees who have their particular preferences, but it is important that everyone abide by your business rules and use your preferred travel providers. Enforcing these rules will give your business more negotiating power.

  2. Clean up approval processing. Adding automated pre-approval steps based on your business rules simplifies the approval process and requires only a review by the authorized manager to sign off. There should no longer be a need to go back and forth with the traveler to determine whether the trip criteria are valid.

  3. Credit cards made easy.Leverage automated credit card transaction downloads and scanned receipts to make organization and submission more streamlined and a lot less confusing.

The benefits of improving your travel planning process make it a win for everyone involved:  

  • Business travelers can get on with their real jobs and not have to worry as much about approvals, reimbursements and organizing receipts

  • Managers can quickly examine and approve travel requests in minutes instead of hours

  • Accounting departments have all of the documentation they need to properly record travel and expenses

There is no need for anyone to toil over travel planning and management. Moving toward travel expense automation will allow you to keep your business focused on what is important.

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