Now that business travel is back on the agenda, it’s likely that you’re seeing a lot of requests rom your employees for fuel and train costs. And if you’ve been on any international trips lately, you’ll have put the trip on business expenses.
It might have been a while since you last thought about the expenses process. After all, most of us have been at home and we’ve not had a chance to do things on the company’s dime. However, we’re moving towards picking up where we left off – and that means arranging teambuilding, business meetings, and social events on expenses.
So, what process do you have in place for claiming expenditures? If your current procedure could do with a refresh, read on for some ideas.
What is an expenses policy?
An expenses policy acts as a guide to the process for reimbursement. It covers the type of expenses that employees can claim for, along with details on how to submit a claim.
The policy will break down what’s covered in terms of staff entertaining, such as team drinks. This is useful for the team and for managers alike as they can keep track of big ticket events such as Christmas.
It also includes information on what can be claimed back during business travel, such as transport and accommodation costs. Here, there is usually an allowance for food too. You’ll also see a list preferred suppliers in the policy.
You need this policy because it’s important that everything is clear. New colleagues might not be aware of how to go about making an expenses claim, while established team members might have only just had the chance to attend business meetings away from the office. The policy sets out what they need to do and what they can be reimbursed for.
It’s also useful for the finance team as they can update financial forecasts and make sure everything is balanced. Additionally, your finance managers can make sure the easiest solutions, such as open banking and a proper invoicing system, are in place.
How to create a successful policy
If you’ve read through your last policy and decided it needs updating or you’ve not had a policy before and decided you need to introduce a formal process, here are some tips to make sure it works for everyone:
- Keep it simple
Remember who needs to see the policy. This isn’t a legal document that needs a lot of words. It should be a short, easy to follow process that covers the essentials. Take the team through the steps logically and briefly explain what happens after the expenses form has been submitted i.e. when finance are likely to be able to reimburse you.
- Make it clear
What can be claimed for should be made clear throughout. For instance, you could state that there’s a meal allowance of £30 per day and that anything else is to be paid for by the employee.
As a business owner, you can’t send a worker on a trip and expect them to foot the bill. This allows them to see what they’re covered for and where they’ll need to draw the line.
- Speak to the team
Ask those who go to business meetings what they pay for while they’re there. Find out what would benefit your employees. By doing this, you’re introducing a collaborative approach to the policy. Therefore, the team is more likely to follow the expenses process if they helped put the process together.
Does your expenses policy need a shake-up?