As your business grows, you will inevitably have employees who need to travel for work. Whether it’s for client meetings, conferences, or training, business travel can be a significant expense for your company. Fortunately, there are ways to control employee expenses and make business travel more effective.
Here are a few tips:
1. Set a travel and expenses policy
One of the best ways to control employee expenses is to set a travel and expenses policy. Your policy should include guidelines for airfare, lodging, meals and other incidentals.
Oraroo allows you to enforce such policies, providing flexible workflows for organizing and approval of both travels and expenses.
2. Use the services of a dedicated travel agent
If your employees are required to travel frequently, you may want to consider dedicating someone to organize travel internally or use the services of a corporate travel agency. This will allow you to negotiate discounts with hotels, airlines, and car rental companies. A dedicated person or agent organizing all travel in the company may also detect opportunities for savings such as carpooling, flying into a better positioned airport, or staying an extra night to get a cheaper flight.
Oraroo allows a dedicated person or agent to be included on the internal approval workflows, to organize travel and provide quick and reliable answers to all parties involved on the workflow. As such, managers can ensure travel will only happen when it is required, in the budget that was approved according to the company policies.
3. Use technology
There are many great travel apps and websites that can help you save money and time. Nevertheless, managers want to make sure internal travel policies are being followed and budgets are not overrun. In addition, when they are back in the office, employees do not want to spend time preparing expense reports with detailed justifications for items which were already approved when the travel was first organized.
Oraroo allows smooth transfer of data from an approved Travel Request to the subsequent Expense Report. All additional expenses can then be registered as they are made, allowing employees to take quick snapshots of expenses using the camera of their mobile phone and provide the necessary justifications later on. In the meantime, relevant data from receipts or invoices can be automatically pre-populated on expense reports using an automatic text-from-image recognition (OCR) process.
There are a lot of elements that need to be aligned in order to have Business Travels quickly organized while keeping costs under control. One of the most important pieces of this puzzle is having a clear and concise approval workflow in place.
Without a well-defined approval process, it can be difficult to keep track of who needs to sign off on what, and when. This can lead to costly delays and disruptions in your travel plans.
In Oraroo, the business travel approval workflow includes the following steps:
1. Employee submits a travel request, including all relevant details such as dates, destination, and purpose of travel.
2. Manager reviews the opportunity of this request and approves or denies it. At this step, a costs limit is set based on company policy and budget constraints.
3. If the request is approved, the travel arranger organizes the travel and proposes one or several options to the initial employee, considering the costs constraints.
4. The Employee accepts or selects the convenient option, while budget re-approval from the manager may be required in case of associated costs being higher than the limit set up .
5. The travel arranger performs the booking of transportation and accomodation for the selected option
6. During the travel, the employee collects receipts and invoices, storing in Oraroo their photo, taken with his mobile phone.
For Large Enterprises, such a workflow can be customized to fit the needs of tjhe organization. For example, the manager may want to ask the opinion of a project manager or get approval from a senior manager or board of directors. In addition to that, Oraroo can automatically initiate an Expense Report at the end of the flow, so that the invoices or receipts managed by the travel arranger can be also added there for accounting purposes.
The employee who initiates a travel request in Oraroo has the option of organizing their own travel (booking airline tickets, hotel, transport, etc.) or to have the trip organized by the Travel Administrators.
- Employee will organize by himself the business travel : his request will be approved only by the manager, Travel Administrators will not involve in any organizing procedure.
- Employee will not organize by himself the business travel : his request will be approved by the manager, and later on Travel Administrators will be notified in order to organize the trip and propose one or more options to the employee, taking into account the cost constraints .
For a case where the Employee does not organize his own travel, the initiation of a request is possible from My Calendar Screen. The employee presses the "+" button or selects the start date and the end date from the calendar, then chooses the type of request he wants to initiate "Business Trip Request". Further, it will be necessary to complete:
- A brief description of the mission;
- The purpose of the trip: the purposes are predefined by Travel Administrators, and the employee can choose an option from the drop-down list (eg: Visit to the Client, Conference, Training, etc.);
- Destination address;
- Travel duration: Date of departure and arrival;
- Travel Order Number (optional): generated by the employee by clicking on the magnifying glass button next to the field
After completing the above information, the employee forwards the approval request to the direct manager, who analyzes the appropriateness of the request and approves or rejects it.
Having a business travel approval workflow is important for the company, as it helps in:
- tracking and controlling the budgets and how they are being used;
- knowing what availabily your employees have for various company projects or activities, in the close future.
Employees can request an approval for business travel remotely, from wherever they are, just by using Oraroo platform.
For example, Justin works in Bucharest, he is a trainer who needs to support a training at a client's location, in a different city. He initiates his travel request in Oraroo, from My Calendar section, fills in the details for his trip and later on his manager receives a task, for approving or rejecting the request. If the manager agrees, a Travel Administrator receives a task for organizing a trip plan and itinerary, based on a given budget. When the plan is ready, will be presented to the employee. If the employee agrees, the Travel Administrator will finish the necessary preparations. Otherwise, he can reject the plan and ask a different one for his trip.
Employees can check the status of their travel requests at any time in My Calendar section.
As your business grows, so do your employees’ expenses. Managing employee expenses can be time-consuming and frustrating, but it’s a crucial part of keeping your business running smoothly.
Here are some tips for managing employee expenses:
1. Define what expenses are eligible for reimbursement.
Make sure your employees know what expenses are eligible for reimbursement. This will help them keep track of their spending and avoid submitting ineligible expenses. You should also have a clear policy on what receipts are required for reimbursement.
2. Use Oraroo as expense reporting software.
Oraroo, as integrated expense reporting software, can save you a lot of time and headaches. It can help you keep track of expenses, create spending reports, and automate reimbursement.
3. Review expenses regularly.
Don’t wait until the end of the year to review your employees’ expenses. Review expenses regularly to catch any irregularities. This will help you prevent fraud and catch errors early.
4. Implement spending limits.
One way to control employee spending is to implement spending limits. This can help you prevent employees from overspending on business expenses. 5. Offer employees guidance. If you have employees who are new to managing expenses, offer them guidance. Teach them how to keep track of their spending and submit expenses for reimbursement. By following these tips, you can streamline the process of managing employee expenses. This will save you time and money, and help you keep your business running smoothly.
5. Provide guidance to employees.
If you have employees who are new to managing expenses, give them guidance. Teach them how to keep track of their expenses and submit expenses for reimbursement. By following these tips, you can simplify the process of managing employee expenses. This will save you time and money and help keep your business running smoothly.
Employees can now also send by email the expense documents into their own Oraroo account. The email address to which the documents are sent is configured for each individual company.
An employee who has an email address defined in Oraroo, can send an email with files attached from that email address to the email address configured for the company. Depending on the number of transferred files, expenses are added to the My Expenses - Expenses not Reported section.
- An expense will be created for each file attached to the email;
- File types that can be sent via this email: .pdf, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .xls, .docx, .tsx.
- If the pdf files have several pages, an expense will be created for each page;
Employees can access these expenses and edit, add information or other attachments to describe the payments made. Later on, these expenses can be added to expense reports.
When expenses are incurred for the purpose of the company or are considered benefits, employees/service partners prepare expense reports.
Before initiating expense reports, expenses must be uploaded and detailed. With Oraroo, employees/servce partners can manage their expenses, which they can later include in expense reports that will be sent for approval to managers and expense administrators.
Each employee/service partner has its own expense management section called My Expenses, divided into 2 sections:
- Expenses not Reported : expenses that have been uploaded, but have not yet been included on any expense report;
- My Expense Reports : expense statements submitted for approval, approved or still in draft status.
The employee/service partner accesses My Expenses section and uploads the documents related to the expenses using the following methods:
The expenses can be uploaded from my computer or immediately after they're made, just by taking a photo with my mobile phone. And whenever I'm back in the office, I can review the results of the OCR text extraction that Oraroo is doing in the background, for that receipt.
- The expenses can be uploaded from computer: click on the "+" button to add a new expense (if several attachments from computer are selected, they will belong to the same expense - example: if we select an Invoice and a receipt related to that Invoice, both documents will belong to the same expense, being in fact related to the same payment);
- When Oraroo will be used from the mobile phone, users can take a picture on the spot of the receipts. Same rule applies also in this case, if several attachments from computer are selected, they will belong to the same expense;
- If employees/service partners have an email address defined in Oraroo, they can send from that address an email with attachments to another internally defined email address and for each existing attachment in the email an expense will be created in My Expenses.
Subsequently, each expense will be detailed before being included on any expense report.
Each company can set its own catalogue of Categories and Types of Expenses in Oraroo. The catalogue can be used in classification of expenses made by employees. Thus the company can analyze which are the most frequent types of recorded expenses or simply use the information for other reports or imports for internally used softwares.
- Categories of Expenses - the classification of expenses according to the purpose of making them. Example: Travel, Administrative Expenses, Other Benefits, Customer Reimbursable Expenses, etc.
- Types of expenses - each type of expense corresponds to a category of expenses (eg: type of expense : Transport - category of expense : Travel, type of expense : Vocational training courses - category of expense : Other Benefits, etc.)
Employees will upload documents to My Expenses section and describe each individual expense based on predefined fields in Oraroo. The edit screen of an expense is divided into 4 sections:
- Basic information : Expense Identifier, Description, Expense date, Category and Type of Expense, Total Value, Currency and VAT Value;
- Other additional expense information : Employee's Part, Company's part, Exchange Rate, Payment Term, Supplier, Associated Business Trip;
- Other additional information about Clients, Projects and Contracts : the expense can be associated with a specific Client, Project or Contract existing in Oraroo. At the same time, it can be determined whether the expense is Rechargeable to the Customer or must be Settled by the Customer (optional step, depending on the situation);
- Attachments : documents uploaded as proof of the expense and their type. Several attachments can be added, reflecting the same payment (example: Invoice in euro currency, paid with the employee's credit card and Bank Statement proving the exchange rate at which the payment was made).
After completing this set of information, the expense can be included on an expense report, together with other expenses, and submitted for approval.
During the detailing of an expense, it is necessary to specify the types of documents that are used to prove the payment. In Oraroo, a catalogue of financial or non-financial document types can be set. Subsequently, employees can determine the type of document for each document associated with the expense.
Tax invoices, receipts, tax receipts are considered financial documents, and account statements, payment orders non-financial documents. These are just some examples of document types, the company can set its own list depending on internal procedures.
An expense added in Oraroo can contain multiple attachments. Example: I made a payment with my credit card in EUR currency, but i need my money to be reimbursed in RON currency. I can attach the Invoice and the bank statement (2 attachments) to proove what amount of money i spent and what exchange rate was used.
For each uploaded attachment, the document type will be set as follows:
- From the Edit Expense Screen - Attachments section: for each attachment, a document type can be selected from the drop-down list - the bolded document types names are financial documents, and the unbolded document types names are non-financial documents;
- On the left side, above the picture that represents the attachment, there is a drop-down list of document types from which a document type can be selected – the bolded document types names are financial documents, and the unbolded document types names are non-financial documents;
There are special tools to manage the entire expense report approval process for employees and finance teams. In Oraroo, employees create an expense report, receive manager approval, and send the complete request to the finance team in a few seconds.
Once one or more expenses have been made, the employee uploads the documents related to those expenses and fills in the necessary information. Next steps are to select the expenses which will be included on the expense report, create the expense report and initiate the approval flow.
The expense report will first reach the employee's direct manager. He is notified and identifies the expense report approval request in the list of tasks. At the same time, he can view the expense report and all associated expenses and decide its approval.
The finance team is notified once the manager's approval took place. The team can now check the attached documents and decide whether or not that expense report can be recorded in the accounting and further paid. If the expense report is rejected, its initiator will receive a correction notice and after correcting, he will send back the right version of expense report.