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Travel and Entertainment

While soaring fuel costs are making many companies cut back on travel, there are trips that simply cannot be eliminated. And for these necessary trips, the travel and entertainment budget is often a large chunk of discretionary spending, making it one of the easiest places to cut back. Managing the travel and entertainment expenses can affect the company’s bottom line, so how do you find ways to keep these expenses in check?

Clear travel policy
Set a company travel policy with specific guidelines on how to spend company money while on the road. Then trust in your employees to make smart decisions while traveling. It's easier for employees to make the right choices when they know what is expected of them.

Consistent travel standards
If the company policy is to fly coach, stick to that and have everyone fly coach. Having management travel in a different style than the rest of the company can cause tension and lead to overspending on travel company-wide.

Online booking
Travel agents are a thing of the past for many companies. Discounts are getting easier to find online due to increased competition. Plus, a range of travel options can be presented and approved before expenses are incurred, making sure wise choices are being made.

Report sampling
By auditing a small sample of your expense reports, you can find ways to maximize the benefit of your T&E dollars. These internal audits can help determine the hotel chains and airlines where your company books the most business -- and this data can then be used to negotiate a discount. The audit process can also uncover inconsistencies and target red-flag or rouge spending behaviors that may point to misuse. The goal of the auditors is to help pinpoint places to save money without negatively effecting the employees' perception of travel.

By promoting responsible travel as part of your corporate culture, you can have budget-friendly travel expenses as well as satisfied employees.

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