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Corporate Travel Management – 3 Min Read

The business travel expense reconciliation checklist

Sajit Chacko

Sajit Chacko


Tripeur Travel Desk

The expenditures associated with business travel go beyond just securing corporate flight tickets and accommodations. Organizations must also perform crucial post facto responsibilities like collecting invoices, manual reconciliation, and travel reimbursements. 

When travel occurs, employees encounter incidental expenses apart from the initial booking process. We have observed that business travelers typically incur an average of around four hundred transactions on unexpected costs during a routine business trip. 

This high transactional volume and inadequate systems to effectively manage them are the primary reasons businesses suffer reconciliation and reimbursement delays. 

In other words, post facto travel reconciliation becomes complex and more prolonged than necessary when the expense management process is full of redundancies and inefficiencies. 

As a result of these inefficiencies, the travel desk, CFO, travel admin, and management suffer from a gross increase in their workload. This workload increase, in turn, affects travel reimbursements causing the traveler to undergo the associated financial repercussions. 

A simple solution to mitigate this rising problem is transitioning from dated traditional systems to more effective modern expense management solutions. 

This article explores why an expense reconciliation checklist can help businesses simplify and improve travel reconciliation while significantly improving T&E visibility.   

What business travel expense looks like

Apart from the flights and hotels, business travelers typically incur expenses in the form of rental cars, cabs, fuel, tolls, food, beverages, equipment, event tickets, parking, and other unexpected costs. 

For an employee to get their travel reimbursements on time, they must manually collect all the expense receipts and individually enter them into an outdated system. Only then can the financial department view the expenses and perform reconciliation. 

Until then, they are entirely in the dark about the overall trip expenditure. 

How to ensure smooth travel expense reconciliation

Businesses must explore better options to make business travel expense reconciliation manageable, accurate, and quicker. 

Here are some of the ways you can try to smoothen your expense reconciliation. 

Capture expenses in the booking process

To dramatically decrease the overall costs of a trip, travel managers should capture as many expenses as possible during the initial booking process. Doing so enables you to book several travel aspects early on. 

In turn, it enhances the traveler’s overall experience by subjecting them to lesser trip transactions. As a result, the reconciliation process is simplified, with lesser bills to process. 

Additionally, capturing all aspects of the booking process helps businesses save money because most travel expenses are cheaper when booked in advance. 

Remember, by capturing expenses in the booking process, you reduce the volume of invoices for reconciliation. Businesses should additionally eliminate all redundant steps and enforce automation for a much smoother and more efficient process. 

Automation expedites expense claims by sending approval requests to the designated managers for swift approvals.

Work with e-receipts

Collecting, maintaining, and producing hard copies of travel invoices for reimbursements is tedious and repetitive. Any unfortunate loss or damage of the hard receipts creates additional problems for the traveler and the finance team. 

Here the responsibility falls on the employee to acquire a duplicate invoice or forgo the reimbursement entirely. The finance department can record the lost invoice amount in an appropriate cost center only when the employee obtains and produces the duplicate invoice.

An excellent alternative to this messy and inefficient process is switching to an expense management platform that supports e-receipts. These systems allow travelers to take pictures and submit invoices when they occur through a convenient and user-friendly mobile app. 

Once the e-receipt is uploaded, travelers need not hold on to the physical copies. The system automatically codifies all expenses at the end of the trip and forwards them to the finance department. 

Allocate a per diem

A per diem is an allocation of funds for the traveling employee to spend on travel categories such as food, lodging, fees, tips, and other incidental expenses. Allotting an appropriate per diem reduces the manual processing of each unanticipated expense and ensures the traveler stays within budget. 

Travelers on a per diem are more inclined to select cheaper options for their costs to stay within their daily budget. 

Speed up the claims approval process

Achieving this requires addressing all redundancies and inefficiencies in your claims approval processes. Every unnecessary stage of soliciting approvals that hinder and prolongs reconciliation and reimbursements should be eliminated. 

The lesser friction there is in the claims approval process, the smoother it is for employees to receive their repayments. 

Automate expense claims processes

The best solution to effectively address manual processes’ pitfalls is engaging in a dedicated online travel and expense management system. 

By employing an automated system, you eliminate unnecessary back-and-forth communications between travelers, travel desk, admins, managers, and C-suites at every stage of the travel process. 

Providing travel stakeholders the means to track and manage expenses accurately in real-time eliminates the need for tedious manual invoice collection and post facto reconciliation.

Establish and make bookings within the travel expense policy

Your travel policy is an essential tool that can help you curb your business travel expenditure. You must establish a hard-coded set of policies addressing all business expenses to keep employees within the allotted budget. 

By doing so, employees know how much they can spend on each travel category. 

Businesses that rely on verbally communicating their travel policies to their employees without an official expense policy framework cannot expect complete policy compliance from their employees.

For a travel policy to work, you need utmost compliance from your employees. Ensuring your employees stay on track and adhere to using the platforms and tools designated for travel bookings and management is an excellent way to maintain visibility and keep costs down to a minimum. 

When employees make purchases outside the allowed parameters of the travel policy, the prices may be higher, increasing the unnecessary additional work for the finance team to sort out all compliant and non-compliant transactions.

Simplify travel expense reconciliation with Tripeur

Tripeur’s system eliminates the burden and responsibility of the travel desk by keeping all stakeholders aware of the travel policy. 

The system maintains real-time logs on all travel expenditures and provides employees real-time T&E visibility to precisely what travel expenses they are entitled to and their limitations. 

Our platform aims to provide complete expense visibility by providing managers with the functionality of email and WhatsApp approvals accompanied by automated expense reports. This expense summary details whether or not the traveler is maintaining compliance with the company’s policies. 

Additionally, these reports empower the finance department to perform accurate and prompt reconciliation and duly release reimbursements. 

Tripeur’s automated expense management solution simplifies travel expense reconciliation like never before. 

Contact us to learn more about how our user-friendly expense management platform has helped businesses shift from outdated systems to more robust modern-day processes.

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