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Spending smart on business travel

Now that technology provides so much assistance, organising business travel need not be a chore. Here’s how you can reduce the fuss – and the cost – of corporate trips.

The rigmarole of submitting expenses to accounts after a work-related trip will be familiar to most. Hours will be spent separating a pile of crumpled receipts into date order, before the details of taxi fares, subsistence meals, train tickets and mobile phone bills can be entered into an expenses form. It’s amazing in the digital age that this is still the most common way of processing expenses.

That was one of the findings of a report commissioned in 2014 by expenses software company Concur. In The Power Of Real-Time Insight, travel and expenses (T&E) costs are identified as the second most difficult operating expense line item for businesses to control (after maintenance and repairs). It found most companies wait for employees to manually process their expense claims after the fact, with spreadsheets used for any cost optimisation. Very few, it seems, have a real-time view of their T&E spend – despite the fact that a number of companies have a bespoke T&E system. Just as worryingly, the report stated: “Most companies don’t even know if their T&E spend is suitable for their industry or company size.” So what are the options, not only for smarter recording of expenses, but of spending smarter too?

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