New studies predict increased business travel in 2014, according to NBCNews.com. With these changes on the horizon, tools for travel expense management will be more important than ever. Additional travel is likely to generate more data and paperwork for travel managers, unless a streamlined, automated system can be implemented.

One study, by the Global Business Travel Association, is forecasting a spending increase of 7.2 percent, to $288.8 billion. With this increased spending, using travel expense management software to uncover incremental cost-saving improvements can make a significant impact on a company’s bottom line.

In addition, reporting expense claims correctly will probably become more complex for small-business owners. According to a study by Best Western Small Business Travel, more than half of company owners will be mixing personal expenses and business travel by including leisure activities and bringing family and friends along as guests.

While mixing business and pleasure is not necessarily a problem, it’s important to separate personal and business expenses to ensure compliance with company policies and federal regulations. Trying to remember your expenses and locate crumpled receipts at the end of a trip is likely to prove frustrating and inaccurate.

More trips, more travel spending and more complex expense reports are all reasons to overhaul your travel expense management systems. By using such online expense reporting as Chrome River EXPENSE, business owners and employees can enter expenses as they go. When these tools are integrated with mobile devices, there’s no need to wait until the end of a business trip to keep up with expenses. For each expense, you can track the date, type, description and the amount in the spent currency, and then allocate the expense to the applicable matter or project code. Just snap a picture of the receipt with your mobile device.

We appreciate your feedback. Is your company planning to increase business travel in 2014? What steps are you taking to manage this additional travel? Please share your thoughts in the comments section!

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