We rang in 2020 with all the excitement that a new year and a new decade would bring. We expected corporate travel would continue to grow, surpassing the $334.2 billion in spend it reached in 2019, according to the U.S. Travel Association. But 2020 had other plans.
Now, business travelers find themselves grounded, with in-person meetings and events replaced by Zoom calls and webinars. But what happens when employees are in the habit of filing an expense report each time they're out on the road? Is expense reporting also grounded while employees work remotely? Or is it a free-for-all?
If your organization didn't already have an expense policy for remote working in place, you may have been caught out by the demands of COVID-19. Going forward, it's essential to make sure you have these policies ironed out.
But ensuring employees are compliant with policy is no easy feat, which is why non-compliance is widely accepted within many organizations. On average, 20% of T&E spend is out of policy (or one in every five expenses is in violation). That figure may seem high, but consider where it can all go wrong. For example, a team lunch that goes over budget but still gets approved by a manager. Or, a miscellaneous expense that gets filed under a category the employee knows isn't closely scrutinized, like a taxi fare.
In this new remote-work world with travel expected to start and stop, it's even more important to implement the right technology to uphold your organization's expense policy as it evolves.
Where do you start?
- Put in place an expense management system that automatically controls adherence to policy at the point of purchase. This will help your company manage expenses before they happen rather than reconciling them afterward.
- Ensure your expense system educates employees about policy rules. If they aren’t aware of the policy, how can they make sure they follow it?
With economic pressures hitting companies of every size this year and heading into 2021, now is the time to guarantee that employees understand and follow policy.