October 25, 2021

Best practices you should use to manage your travel expense audit

If you have a sophisticated corporate travel policy to designed to keep control of travel expenses, then full marks; you’ve taken a significant step down the effective expense management road.

However, if you’re not auditing the numbers going through the process, then you’ve no idea if the policy is working as you’d intended.

Audits can be complex; we get that. They can involve a considerable number of relatively small amounts of money. Insignificant on their own, they can form a substantial amount when taken together. And another danger is that an over-complicated policy, which seemed fine when it was drawn up, can lead to accidental non-compliance.

What’s needed is a system capable of dealing with minute detail quickly and accurately. What’s needed is technology, in the form of an expense management app.

Best practices for your travel expense audit

1.     Automate it: Many of the tools for an effective rolling travel expense audit are rolled up into the best expense management app, like the one we’ve developed and continued to improve over almost two decades at ExpenseOnDemand. With a range of tools that can be built into a package to suit your organisation, it’s possible to create an expense management system that does everything you need and nothing you don’t, al at the lowest possible price. (It’s even free for the first 30 days…)

2.     Audit before approval: Rejecting a non-compliant expense claim is so much simpler if it hasn’t already been paid. Clawing the money back is time consuming and causes resentment when you have to do it, and can lead to bad practice if it slips through the net, and the claimant tries to repeat it in subsequent claims.

3.     Don’t miss any: You’ll need to audit everything. If an innocent error creeps through, there’s every chance that the claimant will believe they’ve acted correctly, and repeat the error in subsequent claims. At that point, Item 2 applies again

4.     Consider corporate credit cards: If business expenses are all on corporate credit cards, then the data’s all in one place ready for the audit process. What’s more, having the card in a smartphone’s virtual wallet means users will become familiar with having card and expense management app in one place

5.     Time it correctly: Claims need to be made within a ‘claims window’ of a clearly defined time after the event. Delaying a claim, and rolling it up with a later one simply because the claimant forgot, isn’t acceptable in the audit process. It can skew any reports generated from the claims data and make it more of a chore for the auditor

6.     Integrate it: The spend-claim-approve-reimburse cycle is only part of the expense management theory. Having taken the automation road as advised in Item 1, it’s time to turn around and look at what happens after the claim. How is the claim incorporated to the right part of the organisation’s finance records? A good expense management app will allow integration with the finance package you use in your SME. ExpenseOnDemand integrates seamlessly with

  • Quickbooks
  • Tally
  • Xero
  • Sage

This ability eliminates the need for duplicated data entry, since claims can be fed directly through to the right part of the accounting structure, and therefore attributed to the appropriate cost centre, department, project, region, or office.

7.     And finally, don’t over-spend on it: ExpenseOnDemand is a finance-friendly expense management app which allows you to pick and choose the features you need to support your travel expense audit process. We could explain them to you here, but it’s far better to get hands-on experience with a visit to the pricing page on our web site here. Check it out; you’ll be pleasantly  surprised…

Picture: Free_lancer | Dreamstime