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Approaches to corporate travel policy compliance

Corporate travel policy compliance is critical. Without compliance, businesses and Finance teams lose the ability to estimate travel spend, determine future budgets, adequately plan for emerging travel – and they also minimise their ability to quickly respond to government compliance requests. Broadly, there are two distinct approaches to corporate travel policy compliance: manual and automated.

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What is a manual approach to corporate travel policy?

One example of the manual approach to corporate travel policy compliance is to work with a designated travel agency who is aware of and familiar with the stipulations of the policy and can adhere to it when planning the trip. They can personally oversee the trip details and compare it against your manual or policy to ensure that it’s compliant.

However, one shortcoming of this approach is that it requires on-going collaboration. Additionally, if you make changes to the policy or procedure, you’ll have to communicate those changes to the agency and ensure that they understand the implications.

Why is an automated approach to corporate travel policy better?

Automation is the best approach to corporate travel policy compliance – specifically, using an automated process with built-in compliance. Automation software can be customised to respond to and comply with your policies and procedures, which eliminates the need to manually review and enforce the policy for every given expense.

Ultimately, there are three key benefits to leveraging an intuitive automation process.

1. The ability to integrate systems

For travel booking, an integrated travel and expense system can automate expense management, populating an expense claim with travel and accommodation bookings made within the system. This saves time for employees and finance teams, increases accuracy and gives better commercial visibility of spending. The integration allows for ease-of-use while maintaining the compliance requirements and reducing error.

2. Empowering employees and teams with data

Connecting expense policy to revenue-generating activities will enable you to take a dynamic approach to expense management, so that spending only occurs when a positive return is predicted. You will be able to calculate ROI and understand the impact on company profits. You can identify employees or expense items that don’t tend to contribute to profit and adapt policy and approvals accordingly. Similarly, employees will be empowered to book travel according to business outcome.

3. Allowing for flexible policy changes

As industries change, new government regulations emerge, or internal shifts occur in businesses, travel policies may find themselves in need of a review or update. Using automation software with built-in compliance technology can minimise the communication and confusion of policy changes by automatically restricting actions that are non-compliant. By simply limiting the ability to break the policy, and improving the ease in which the updated policy can be communicated to travellers, businesses save time and resources that would be otherwise spent on audits and reconciliation.

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