Streamlining Travel Expenses with Digital Receipts and Expense Management Tools

Written by Reace

February 13, 2024

Managing Travel Expenses

Even for a single traveller, business travel expenses can be numerous and complicated. Aside from the pre-booked costs of flights and accommodations, you must factor in on-the-go food and drink purchases, client dinner meetings, and unexpected taxi rides, to name a few.

How your company manages travel expenses will be determined by its travel and expense policies, which clearly outline what and how much your employees can spend company money on.

However, whether travellers manage their own expenses or employees follow a standard policy, the process of claiming travel expenses can be extremely complicated – and sometimes costly.

To budget efficiently and effectively, businesses must be able to record and track all business expenses incurred during travel. The goal of business travel management and expense management is to keep track of your spending while on business trips and ensure that every expense is handled correctly.

Most businesses struggle with managing travel expenses, which can quickly spiral out of control without proper management.

What Is Travel & Expense Management?

Travel and expense management involves optimising travel booking costs for business-related employee travel and expense reimbursement, recording these costs in accounting systems, reimbursing submitted employee expense reports with supporting receipts on time, and deducting taxes for business travel.

Travel expense management software or tools can assist you in streamlining and automating the process of organising and tracking business travel expenses. Employees can submit work-related travel expenses and request reimbursement. Managers can identify expenses that do not adhere to your company’s travel policy, making claims management easier.

Let us go over why travel expense management tools are important in today’s corporate travel world, what factors to consider when selecting the right tool for your company, and what solutions are currently available on the market for small to medium-sized businesses:

Travel and expense management comprises gathering all travel-related expenses in order to deduct them (and not pay taxes on that amount). Business travel, including flights, hotels, and ground transportation, is fully deductible in most countries.

Expense management software is a type of application that automates much of the receipt-to-reimbursement process. Firms can use this software to manage travel bookings, automate expense report submission, streamline approvals, expedite reimbursements, and track expense claims in real time.

Digital receipts are digital copies of paper receipts that can be scanned, emailed, or uploaded to software. Digital receipts and expense management tools assist users in capturing, storing, organising, and reporting business expenses.

Expense management software can also automate the process of categorising, authorising, and reimbursing expenses, as well as producing reports and insights.

Managing Travel Expenses

Why Is Travel & Expense Management Important?

Business trips necessitate extensive planning from both managers and employees, including meticulous expense tracking and hours of manual reporting.

Manual tracking is extremely error-prone, relies heavily on an extensive paper trail of receipts and invoices, is easily manipulated, and takes far too long to process employee reimbursements.

The most effective way to modernise a clunky tracking system is to use technology to streamline and automate routine business travel management activities.

Along with automating your processes, expense tracking software should simplify data input and review, reduce manual labour, and provide complete visibility and transparency for both the employer and the employee. Above all, it will present cost-cutting opportunities and control expense tracking automatically.

Here are some more reasons why your business will benefit from investing in a travel-expense management tool:

  • Ensuring employees follow your company’s travel and expense policies is time-consuming and often a huge burden for those in charge of travel expenses. A travel expense management tool works in conjunction with your policies to make it easier to approve or reject travel expense claims, reduce expense fraud, and enforce compliance.
  • From a business standpoint, travel expenses must be managed properly in order to be considered legitimate business expenses – both for tax and audit purposes. Without tight control over the process, your company may miss out on several tax breaks or incur additional costs.
  • Travel expense management software makes it simple for employees to submit receipts and relevant documents, ensuring that your company is fully prepared for tax filing and audits.
  • Business travel necessitates a large budget, and in order to effectively manage that budget, you must first understand how much you have and how much you are spending.
  • Employee satisfaction- Best of all, travel expense software simplifies and simplifies the lives of your business travellers. It will assist them in determining what expenses they can claim back and the best way to track them. They will be able to submit their travel expenses with a single click and receive faster reimbursements.


The Challenges of Travel and Expense Management

The main challenges of travel and expense management are:

  • Getting employees to submit business expense reports on time in order to be reimbursed
  • Obtaining receipts for amounts greater than a certain dollar amount
  • Enforcing corporate travel and expense policies
  • Obtaining and keeping track of the best travel rates for flights, hotels, and car rentals
  • Ensure that personal and business expenses are not reimbursed at the same time. Timely approval of expense reports by designated approvers.


Examples of Expense Management Tools Available In 2023

  • Zoho Expense is a cloud-based software that allows users to scan receipts, track mileage, create expense reports, and reimburse employees.
  • Expensify is a mobile app that allows users to snap a photo of their receipts, and automatically extract and categorize the expense data. It also features a smart card that can be used for business purchases, and a pre-accounting system that can sync with accounting software.
  • Wave Accounting is a free accounting software that also offers a receipt scanner app. Users can scan receipts with their phone, and upload them to Wave, where they can be matched with transactions, and categorized for tax purposes.
  • QuickBooks Online is a popular accounting software that also offers expense tracking and receipt scanning features. Users can connect their bank accounts and credit cards and import transactions automatically.
  • FreshBooks is an invoicing and accounting software that also offers project-based expense tracking and receipt scanning features. Users can assign expenses to specific projects, and bill them to clients.
  • Sage Intacct is a cloud-based accounting software that also offers time-saving automations and integrations for expense management. Users can scan receipts with their phone and submit them for approval and reimbursement.
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