Get Rid of Needless Expenses in Business Travel
With the globalization of business, travel has become an absolute necessity for many companies. It has also become a major strain on their budgets especially when companies are struggling to keep expenses in line with revenue.
To make it work, managers often look to cut costs by downgrading accommodations or other large expenses. In many cases, however, those kinds of decisions hurt more than they help. They subtly communicate to clients – and even their own employees – that the company does not belong in the highest circles of business, where the best deals are made.
The key to keeping business trips above the profit line is to focus on needless expenses that can either be eliminated entirely or severely reduced without anyone noticing.
With the goal of maintaining the highest possible standards while traveling at the lowest possible price, here are some needless expenses that can be reduced or eliminated with better planning.
1. Paying the highest cost of airline tickets
The best prices for air travel are always months in advance. The closer the time comes to the actual flight, the higher the price will be. Companies that plan their travel schedules in advance have a much better chance to catch the lowest prices for the same quality plane seats, but they will pay much more later.
Of course, some business trips require emergency spending. If a product needs personal attention for maintenance or training, there is little that can be done about it. But many trips are known in advance, such as conferences and trade shows. Those have fixed dates, and tickets can be purchased ahead of time.
A company that plans in advance which conferences and trade shows to attend will be rewarded by having the opportunity to save on air travel and possibly on the accommodations as well.
2. Failing to account for hidden costs of travel
Many decisions in travel planning continue to impact the bottom line of a company long after the trip has taken place. For one thing, the effectiveness of the worker in the period before and after the trip has to be taken into account. An overnight flight, for example, may look cheaper on the account sheet but it makes the employee less productive upon return. The lost productivity time never shows up on an expense report but failing to take it into account leaves the company in a weaker position.
Eliminating needless expenses means calculating hidden costs. What kind of planning will allow the travelers to return in the best position to contribute effectively? Which deadlines will require the input from a traveling creative and which products will a manager need to see before he or she leaves to ensure that the travel period does not impede progress of a product or campaign?
The better a company gets at weaving travel into the fabric of the company’s operations, the more clearly it will be able to find and eliminate the hidden costs of travel.
3. Missing out on VAT returns
With Value Added Tax (VAT) reaching as high as 20% in some EU countries, that’s a substantial chunk of cash to leave sitting on the table. Unfortunately, the manual labor involved in filling out the forms, handling all of the receipts – which come in multiple languages and various sizes – makes it nearly as hard to claim as it is valuable.
It won’t surprise anyone who has worked to file a claim that some $50 million in VAT is left unclaimed each year. That’s because the process is often viewed as not being worth the effort. The solution, however, is simple.
With an automated app such as Way2Vat, the process can be simplified so much that the process can be reduced to just a few minutes. The app makes it easy to scan all of the necessary expense receipts so that no one needs to worry about managing them later.
The result is also an enormous benefit to the people who plan for expenses in subsequent trips abroad. With all of the operating costs neatly organized, it is easy to see if any of them fall into the category of needless expenses. Those that do can go, and those that are needed can be calculated more accurately.
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