Many companies with a global presence send their employees on international business trips. Even with easy video conferencing and instant communication, there is no substitute for a face-to-face meeting with partners, employees, or potential clients. But international travel comes with many expenses beyond airfare. Travel and entertainment (T&E) covers a variety of expenses an employee can accrue while on a business trip. The process for expense reimbursement can be challenging — but there are better ways. Here are some tips to simplify your T&E expense reimbursement.
Common Challenges with International Expense Reimbursement
Many companies are still doing expense reimbursement the old way: their employees pay for their expenses out-of-pocket. When they return from the trip, they turn in an expense form with receipts stapled to the back.
This process can become time-consuming, because it requires several levels of manual data entry. First, the employee must find the receipts, and then enter the numbers into a spreadsheet or on a paper form. After submission, the payroll department must process the reimbursement request before issuing payment. Every level of manual entry presents an opportunity for error.
International travel is even more complicated as expenses are paid with multiple currencies that differ from the currency of the home country. This becomes even more difficult in countries that rely on cash payments or technology unavailable in the home country, such as Kenya’s mobile-money payment system, M-Pesa.
Integrate Mobile Technology into T&E
Advances in mobile technology often reduce human error. Using an integrated T&E system with mobile apps allows your employees to enter their expenses as they happen. The apps communicate with a centralized expense system that nearly generates expense reports automatically.
Unfortunately, many technological solutions export manual processes onto computers and smartphones. Designed to mimic the pen-and-paper processes, they don’t take advantage of the power of an integrated system. Employees like it, too, because this technology makes entering their expenses much easier by:
- Unifying travel and expenses on a single platform
- Ensuring that every department involved with T&E is on the same page
- Automating the process and letting it evolve as needs change
- Establishing a clear plan for adopting a digital strategy with targets along the way
- Capturing data to analyze your expenses to help with forecasting and planning
A More Efficient Way to Handle Expense Reimbursement
If planning a new T&E system that incorporates mobile technology into an automated platform creates an additional burden for your team, outsource it.
An experienced international payroll partner will be able to help you manage your employees across multiple currencies without requiring additional work for your payroll department. International payroll can be complex; rely on a partner who is familiar with local laws and local employee expectations. They will also help you ease your T&E headache with a single, centralized service that can be used throughout the world. To learn more about the benefits of partnering with a global payroll provider, contact Velocity Global today.