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Why it’s important to review travel expense policies and procedures

Travel expense policies and procedures are not documents that are meant to be permanent and static. Failing to review and update these documents can lead to expense mismanagement, employee frustration around out-dated policies, a lack of compliance or even employee litigation.

Furthermore, the details of the policy may shift as the industry changes, the law changes or new issues or challenges arise and they should be flexible and able to adapt to the changing needs of the business and the travellers. Policies and procedures should be reviewed and refreshed to remain: accurate, complete, coherent, in compliance and up-to-date. They should also be reviewed and adapted when presented with data that suggests the need for a change. Below are three key steps for reviewing and revising policies and procedures.

Lady with notepad

1. Determine revision cadence and duties

Whether it’s reviewed quarterly, annually or bi-annually, establishing a firm cadence for revising the policy is the best way to ensure that it remains up-to-date. The business should determine within whose duties the policy and procedure revisions are. In many companies, this is a duty assigned to Human Resource departments. In others, the Legal department oversees it. Regardless of which department owns the responsibility, who is responsible for the revision and when the revision will happen should be clearly defined.

2. Review and revise policies to ensure that they’re complete, up-to-date and accurate

Policies should be reviewed to ensure that they’re complete, meaning that there aren’t any missing elements as a result of a new change or initiative. They should also be revised to be timely. For example, if there were new systems implementations, the appropriate changes should be made to ensure the policy is relevant. The policies should also be reviewed for accuracy – particularly as it relates to legal or tax compliance, as regulations and laws change, the new guidance should be updated accordingly.

3. Communicate and redistribute

Once policies and procedures have been updated, communicate the new changes to your business and redistribute the updated versions to employees. One best practice is specifically highlighting the revisions and new guidance in the update, rather than simply sending the update that could leave people uncertain as to what precisely changed.

How can software with automation capabilities help you review your policies and procedures?

One benefit of using automated travel and expenses software is that it’s customised to respond to and comply with your policies and procedures, which relieves leaders from having to manually review and enforce the policy for every given expense. Instead, leaders can determine a periodic check-in cadence to revise and review. Once the policy is updated, communication and guidance can be distributed and the software can be adjusted to automatically comply with the new procedures, saving leadership from having to send reminders and rejections to submissions that don’t comply with the new policy.

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