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Travel and Entertainment Best Practices

Travel and Entertainment Best Practices

Mary S. Schaeffer

ISBN: 978-1-119-19685-3 August 2015 190 Pages


Highly accessible and applicable, Travel and Entertainment Best Practices provides you with a comprehensive view of T&E procedures with authoritative tips, techniques, and advice from Mary Schaeffer, America’s most accomplished accounts payable expert.


1 Travel and Entertainment Expense Policy and Reimbursement Process: Not What It Was a Few Short Years Ago.

Trends Affecting T&E Expense Reporting.

Other Issues Affecting the T&E Expense Process.

Other Bad Practices That Plague T&E.

Outsider’s View.

Worst-Case Scenario.

Best-Case Scenario.


Who Handles T&E?

2 How Corporate Travel Is Booked.

Pre-Trip Authorizations.

Role of the Travel Agent.

Corporate Travel Offices.

Corporate Intranet Portals.

Online Corporate Booking Services.

Third-Party Corporate Booking Portals.

Making the Selection: Third-Party Travel Service Provider.

Bare-Bones Approach: Employee Self-Booking.

Demise of the Saturday-Night Stay and Other Costly Issues.

Other Booking Issues.

3 T&E Expense Report Approval Process.

Who’s Watching the Store?

Approval Process in a Paper World.

Traveler or Supervisor: Who Should Return the Approved Form?

Approvals in an Electronic Process.

Electronic Processing without Immediate Approval.

Electronic Processing with Immediate Approval.

Approvals: Paper versus Electronic.

Something to Consider.

What about the Receipts?

Inquisitive Managers and Receipts.

4 The T&E Review and Reimbursement Process.

Cash Advances.

Other Cash Advance Problem.

How Common Are Cash Advances?

Expense Reimbursement.

Last-Minute Reimbursements: The Demanding Employee.

Reviewing and Checking T&E Expense Reports.

Spot Checking.

Checking: An Important Consideration.

Recommended Best Practice: Checking Reports.

If Management Won’t Agree to Spot Checking.

When Spot Checking May Not Be Appropriate.

Policy Compliance.

Policy Compliance Exceptions.

5 Accountable or Not: The Tax Implications of Your T&E Plan.

An Accountable Plan.

Reasonable Amount of Time.

Tax Implications of an Accountable Plan.

A Nonaccountable Plan.

Advantages of an Accountable Plan.

Tax Carrot/Stick.

Receipts under Accountable Plans.

T&E in a Paperless World.

Pertinent IRS Publications.

Another Reason to Eliminate Cash Advances.

6 Paying for Corporate Travel: T&E Cards.

Employee Use of Own Credit Card.

Company Card with Employee Paying the Bill.

Company Card, Employee Payment, Corporate Guarantee.

Company Paying the T&E Card Bill.

One Card Approach.

Hybrid Approach.

Which Approach Is Best?

Issuance of Company T&E Cards.

7 Receipts, Documentation, and Other Issues.

Per Diems.


What about Electronic Receipts?

Disaster Recovery: Lessons Learned from Charlie and Katrina.

Other Delicate Issues.

8 Communicating Requirements: The T&E Policy and Manual.

What Kind of Policy Do You Want?

Your T&E Policy, Internal Controls, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Access to the Policy.

A Two-Minute Assessment of Your T&E Process.

T&E Policy: Good News and Bad.

Administering the Policy.

T&E Policy Best Practices.

Policy Synopsis.

Creating Your Own T&E Policy.

Keeping the Policy Current.

Enforcing the Policy.

9 Sample T&E Policy Manual.

Section 1: Policy Approval.

Section 2: T&E Policy Statement.

Section 3: Policy Purpose.

Section 4: Exceptions to the Policy.

Section 5: Employee Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 6: Preferred Method of Payment.

Section 7: Supervisor Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 8: Accounts Payable Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 9: Receipts.

Section 10: Who Pays When More than One Employee Is Involved.

Section 11: What’s Covered.

Section 12: What’s Not Covered.

Section 13: Cash Advances.

Section 14: Airline Service.

Section 15: Denied Boarding Compensation.

Section 16: Unused/Voided Ticket.

Section 17: Rental Cars 94

Section 18: Ground Transportation.

Section 19: Use of Personal Automobile.

Section 20: Preferred Hotels.

Section 21: Lodging Receipts.

Section 22: Meals and Incidentals: For Employee Only.

Section 23: Expenses for Meals for Others.

Section 24: Travel Expenses of Spouse/Personal Guest.

Section 25: Entertainment.

Section 26: Non-Travel Business Expense Reimbursement.

Section 27: Whom to Call with Questions.

Section 28: Other.

10 Solutions to Day-to-Day T&E Operational Problems.

Uneven Policy Enforcement.

Tough Tactics to Get T&E Reports Submitted On Time!

Less Harsh Methods of Getting the Laggards to Turn in Reports On Time.

The Rush Check Issue: Is It the Employee or the Supervisor?

Approvals: Dealing with the Foot-Dragging Manager.

Where Do I Sign?: Managers Who Approve Anything.

One-Size Policy for All: Dealing with Noncompliance Issues.

Fraud Or an Honest Mistake?

Unused Tickets.

The Reservation Game.

Rogue Travelers.

When an Employee Departs.

When an Employee Is Fired.

11 T&E Fraud: How to Prevent It.

Review of Occupational Fraud.

Is Expense Reimbursement Really a Problem for the Average Company?.

Scanning Fraud and Receipts.

Where Employees Learn How to Steal.

Dealing with Fraud: Two Extremes.

T&E Fraud Prevention Best Practices.

Detecting Expense Reimbursement Fraud.

What to Do When Expense Reimbursement Fraud.

Last-Ditch Collection Efforts.

Gift Card Problem.

Not-Pretty Gift Card Solution.

Alternative to Gift Cards.

12 Automation: Third-Party and Home-Grown Systems.

How T&E Expenses Are Reported.

Excel-Based Models.

Why Automate?

How Automated Systems Work: Overview.

Automated Systems: Design Requirements.

Receipts in an Automated Environment.

Reimbursement Payments in an Automated Environment.

Companies Offering T&E Automated Services.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Outsourced Operations.

SAS 70.

13 Pertinent Issues for International Travelers.


Foreign Exchange.

Foreign Exchange Tips.

International Travel Advisories.

Value-Added Tax.

Paperless T&E World.

Maximizing Your Returns.



Do-It-Yourself VAT Recovery.

14 Negotiating the Best Rate from Suppliers.

The Basics.

A Matter of Policy.

Where Do Your Travel Dollars Go?

All Travel on a Company Card.

Focus on Your Biggest Savings.

Don’t Overlook International Travel.

The Contract Is Not Set in Stone.

Don’t Promise All Your Business.

Overlooked T&E Savings Opportunity.

Other Savings Associated with Your T&E Card.

15 Best Practices for the Entire T&E Process.

Appendix A GSA Per Diems.

Appendix B VAT Rates for Selected Countries.