So it’s time to add business travel to your list of expenses. This is an exciting time for your company. It speaks of expansion, new educational experiences, and a solid foundation for your business to grow. As exciting as it is, it doesn’t hide the fact that business travel is very expensive. It’s difficult to find the funds, particularly if your business is still small.
The good news is that business travel doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. There are many solutions for business travel budgeting that companies of all sizes should try.
1. Sit Down with All Relevant Parties
Create a budget committee including the head accountant, someone from management, and a representative from each department. Discuss the needs of the budget, including the allotted funds, number of trips that can be taken, protocols for trips, reasons to take trips, and ideas for training. This panel will help you keep your travel budget on track and unified across the company.
2. Separate Group Travel
As you prepare, separate group travel policies from your individual policies. Group travel can be tricky. It’s difficult to coordinate airline tickets, hotel reservations, ground transportation, and communication across all parties. This is all much more expensive than individual travel, which will take a little more planning. Take into account that you may need a third party agency to arrange for group travel, but that it will make things much easier for you.
3. Consider the Types of Expenses
Carefully consider the different types of expenses you’ll be facing with business travel. These will include hotels, airplane tickets, food, ground transportation, and any accompanying fees.
Determine which expenses you’ll cover as a business and which the travelers must cover for themselves.
4. Write Travel Policies
If you have any hopes of keeping your budget under control, you’ll write a series of travel policies for your employees to follow. These policies will dictate the allotted funds and how the funds will be tracked. It will serve as a solid guideline for travelers to use when on the road.
5. Track and Control Travel Expenses
Derive a plan to track and control your travel expenses as much as you can. You don’t have to be a miser with these expenses, but you should set limits and create methods for reporting those expenses. Draft up expense sheets so you can carefully check each of the expenses made to prevent overspending and employees cheating the books.
6. Hold Training Meetings
The best way to get your employees on the same page as your budget is to hold the occasional training meeting to teach them your policies for travel, as well as the proper procedures to take when reporting expenses. There should also be discussions about being safe on these trips and avoiding liabilities for the company. Safe, frugal travel is the goal, and holding regular meetings in combination with consistent communication is the ideal way to keep your business expenses on budget and your employees on board.