Ways Travel Managers and Finance Teams Can Boost Collaboration

By Jessica Larkin

The travel space is in a state of constant innovation and continues to look for the best ways to get people from one place to another. But when it comes to business, employees, travel managers, and finance teams are often using outdated methods to book and manage corporate travel programs. In addition to improving life on the road for employees, a modern managed travel company can serve to boost collaboration and streamline processes for travel managers and finance teams. This rings especially when it comes to expense and reimbursement processes, budgets, and travel policy compliance.

Persona Overlap: Finance vs. Travel Managers

Let’s first start by taking a look at key areas of focus for travel managers and finance teams as it pertains to corporate travel. In many companies, travel managers and administrators are tasked with setting travel program parameters, working with finance teams on budgets, and managing the approval process with the goal of enabling employees to take control of their own travel within policy.

Finance teams are focused on the bottomline, budget forecasting, and ensuring expense reports and reimbursements are accurate and timely. They rely on policy adoption and compliance to keep business travelers from booking over budget and to help with accurate expense reports and job costing.

Compliance Adoption and Budgets

Travel policy compliance adoption and accurate budget forecasting go hand-in-hand. It is imperative for policies to be adopted not only from an employee safety perspective, but also to ensure forecasted travel budgets are managed. TravelBank enables travel administrators to roll policies directly into the system. Thanks to technology, historical data and real time market rates can be used as a benchmark to accurately forecast future spend and for reconciliation purposes.

It’s imperative for cross functional teams to discuss budget policies that are also conducive to employee productivity on the road. If a policy is too rigid, employees will be unhappy or compliance adoption will be difficult. Finding a happy medium isn’t always easy, but it is something to think about when discussions take place regarding budgets and policies.

Working Together to Reduce Spend

Advanced booking requirements are a common travel policy component that basically states travel should be booked as far in advance as possible in an effort to obtain the lowest cost. The adoption of these requirements has a direct impact on a company’s travel spend. However, it also enables a company to provide increased amenities for road warriors since hard costs, such as plane tickets, are less. From a collaboration perspective, finance and travel managers/admins should communicate regarding budget and customize settings to meet the needs of travelers without breaking the bank.

Budget Collaboration

We think a user friendly experience is crucial not only for business travelers, but for travel managers and finance teams as well. With the TravelBank app, company admins and travel managers can confer with finance teams to define hard caps or customize budget settings for travel-related costs, and build-in the appropriate amount of budget flexibility. TravelBank allows for customizable nuances, making policies easy to adopt and enforce through automated approvals and booking notifications.

As we’ve mentioned previously in our travel automation guide for finance teams, “When employees and managers work more effectively with the finance team, they can minimize duplicate expenses and streamline planning. Finance managers will appreciate automated reports that let them track how business travel fits into the proposed budget.”

By working together, finance teams and travel managers can ensure compliance while also making sure travelers are comfortable and have access to necessary amenities to do a stellar job on the road.

Expense Reporting and Reimbursements

Employees aren’t the only beneficiaries of automated expense management. Travel managers and finance departments also are able to streamline processes, thanks to technology.

Once an employee submits an expense report, managers are notified that a report is pending review and approval. Once the manager signs-off, the finance team is able to quickly audit the report and approve the reimbursement.

From a reimbursement perspective, employees are able to securely add bank details to TravelBank, allowing for expedited direct deposit and giving the time spent cutting and mailing paper checks back to the finance team.

Cross Functional Collaboration for Travel Management Success

There are many parallels and intersections between travel management and finance teams. As a result, cross functional collaboration is essential to keep a harmonious atmosphere that will keep your company productive, on budget, and compliant. As you look to the future of your managed travel program and baseline budgets and policies, the impact of technology-enabled solution can’t be overlooked.

The TravelBank team would love to set-up a time to discuss the current state of your travel program and future goals. If this sounds like a logical next step, please click here to schedule a meeting.

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