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Managing business travel expenses

By Dorrit Kang

It is inevitable to visit clients in person or attend at least a few business meetings for every employee in your company. As a result of the domestic and foreign business travels your employees and you go through, there will be an increasing need of tracking and managing the expenses, which is also extremely important to your company.

Using paper forms to record each business travel expense is one basic way, but on the other hand, managing and storing these as they pile up would be harder, and searching for one single entry amongst your business travel expenses would also be problematic. Moreover, digitizing these records might also become a problem when you have to input everything manually. Therefore, this solution is in no way convenient or efficient.

Using third party expense management software could be a solution, but on the other hand, since each company is different, there is no way to track some types of data that you might need, such as having different rates for certain service areas, fuel rates, or covering percantages of different expense types.

What your company needs in this situation is a centralised database where all the expense reports would go.

Build an expense management form online.

With Ragic, you can create a form for travel expense reports, so that your team can fill it out online from wherever they are. This way, all the entries will be stored in a single location – your database. This also cuts down the amount of time spent turning in paper forms to accounting and waiting for them to process.

Search through your expenses faster.

Anybody who has dealt with physical archives know that it's a huge time sink sifting through shelves of binders and folders. Even more so when your paper documents are disorganized. If you have already digitized your expenses on a spreadsheet, this would still be a non-solution, as making queries on spreadsheets don't get you faster results.

On the other hand, having a centralised database would help you get to entries immediately, by making queries with a simple keyword input, or by creating a filter to get results in a specific category or timeframe.

Online approval for travel expenses.

Expense management often contains the process of approval, which has to go through a direct supervisor, and the accounting department. When dealing with paper forms, travel expenses get less attention, as they are often buried beneath issues that are more urgent, therefore employees wind up getting their expenses reimbursed much later. To prevent this, setting up online approval for your travel expenses within your expense form would be the best way for a streamlined approach.

These are some of the ways of having better travel expense management in your team. Feel free to sign up to your free account in Ragic to install the free expense report template shown in the screenshots.

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Keeping business data on Excel is not only a big productivity drain, it's error prone and provides no adequate trail of audit. As your team grows, managing data with spreadsheets become increasingly painful.
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