Creating a travel and business expense policy

09 January

| Creating a business expense policy

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A travel and business expense policy is crucial for every company – small, medium or large. 

This document keeps everyone on the same page with regards to the types of claims that can be made, as well as how much can be claimed back. In other words, it functions as an essential guide for staff and controls company costs in the process.

While simple enough in nature and purpose, creating a business expense policy nonetheless requires careful consideration. It is up to HR staff, fleet managers and company decision makers to produce crystal-clear policies and subsequently circulate them throughout the company. Here, we examine what must be included when building these documents from scratch.

What you need to cover when creating a business expense policy

The best way to construct a comprehensive and effective travel and business policy is by analysing the separate stages of an employee’s typical journey. This way, you’ll be able to ensure everything is accounted for; minimising confusion or potential clashes of interest. 

First, you’ll need to outline a list of permitted places (or perhaps, a list of unpermitted places) where your employees can travel. Then, you should take care to outline exactly what constitutes a business travel trip and how the expenses process works for staff.

For example:

  • If staff are going by car, what’s the maximum amount of fuel they can reclaim?
  • If staff are using public transport to travel, does the company book the trip for them? Or can they book themselves?
  • Can trips need to be booked at specific, off-peak times (as a way to cut costs)?
  • Can staff use their own personal cards and claim back? Or should they use a company card for all travel-related transactions?
  • How should staff record all their expenses as they go? And how are they refunded?
  • Do staff need to have every trip signed off before they depart?
  • Are there expenses available for food and water?

Answering these questions can go a long way to forming a well-defined business expense policy.

Ensuring your business travel and expense policy actually works

After drawing up a document that addresses all the key areas, you’ll need to take the necessary steps to ensure that staff actually read, understand, digest and follow this information.

You should take care to:

Make the document accessible
Consider the best ways to circulate and promote your business expense policy so that people can’t miss it (intranet, paper format, post etc)

Make the document clear
Too much jargon will prove distracting and complicated. Elaborate on any points you’re trying to make and use language that staff can understand.

Incorporate the law
There are rules and regulations surrounding expenses – especially when it comes to claiming back. Consulting these laws helps you piece together an abiding document.

Maintain and update regularly
You can’t just sit on your business expense policy – it requires regular consultation in order to remain relevant and functional. Always be sure to remove old versions whenever you analyse and refresh.

Creating a business expense policy involves careful consideration of several factors, but an Allstar card can help to make writing business travel rules considerably easier.

Designed to help you master your fuel management, Allstar cards allow staff to quickly and easily record all fuel expenses, with a HMRC-friendly invoice available to submit when you’re ready. Explore our range of cards today to discover more about saving on your expenses.

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