Just how far is a return trip to Droitwich, and other business travel expense conundrums…

06 June


When employees are out-of- the office, the last thing you need is expenses getting out-of-control too. Is a round trip to Droitwich actually 453 miles? Was booking the junior suite for that sales conference really necessary? Is that faded scrap of paper a receipt for diesel, dog food or first class train travel?

Managing travel expenses are a significant problem for many businesses. According to insight from 1,000 small and medium sized enterprises(SMEs [1], employees fear of being left out of pocket for weeks after travelling for business which can effect productivity and longer-term retention. Business owners are also worried about the huge admin burden of tracking costs, processing claims and the impact big claims can have on cashflow.

Four troublesome business travel expense processes businesses SMEs need to deal with

1. Lack of controls– Not having a clear approach to travel expenditure and the ability to enforce it often means employees end up spending on things they shouldn’t. For example, buying premium fuel at a motorway station rather than more cost-effective alternatives.

2. Unexpected big claims – Employees may have needed to make an urgent long-distance trip or, they may have submitted several months’ worth of claims late. This can mean that the business may not have the cash to reimburse the claims straight away.

3. No evidence – Tracking travel costs can be a nightmare for employees; several trips a week on different transport, plus incidental costs such as parking, can create a huge paper trail and a resulting admin burden. Forgetting to get a receipt can mean the employee being left out of pocket or the business not being able to make an HMRC claim to get back the VAT.

4. Unnecessary costs – If travel expenditure isn’t well planned and controlled – for example, a driver travelling into London’s new Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) without a means to pay might rack up a fine of up to £100 a time – it doesn’t take long before the businesses hard-earned resources are drained.

Worried workers

Our insight identified workers in the business administration and utilities sectors said problems with business travel expense processes are contributing to a breakdown in their relationship with employers.

Half of business administration workers say they are up to £100 out of pocket every month from paying travel costs up-front with their own money. More than three-quarters of workers in utilities say that fuel is the biggest expense that they have to pay up front with 53% saying footing the bill in this way has soured their relationship with their employer.

Putting the brake on runaway business expenses

There are ways to streamline the expenses process that take the hassle out of managing business travel costs and eliminating the need for employees to pay for expenses out of their own pockets.

Solutions such as Allstar Plus, a unique ‘all-in-one’ business credit card and fuel card, can help prevent these headaches by allowing employees to pay for defined expenses such as parking and fuel whenever they need to, without using their own money. For the business, it can also help with HMRC travel expense claims, prevent employees spending where they shouldn’t, offer an extra line of credit to help manage cashflow and deliver the cost saving benefits of a fuel card to keep company fuel costs down.

Add to that the latest expense tracking technology, such as Visa Business Reporting from Allstar, which simplifies expense capture and claim through an app-based process, and both business owners and employees can quickly get rid of painful expense headaches.

Find out more about what Allstar Business Solutions can do for your business’s expenses process.

[1] Research for Allstar Business Solutions conducted by Charterhouse in March 2019 of 1,000 SMEs

Share this article