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New to Nexonia? Click here to request a demonstration!
Recently, a number of different factors have influenced corporate travel. From the current geopolitical conditions to leveraging available traveler data, companies are seeking ways to streamline employee trips while ensuring the business stays on budget.
Next year is sure to bring even more changes, shifting the processes and strategies that organizations in every industry use to govern their corporate travel. Here are a few trends to look out for as we head into 2018:
Although travel saw a decrease in recent years due to technological disruptions like video conferencing, experts predict that face-to-face interactions on the part of employees with customers and partners will rise in 2018.
Issa Jouaneh, American Express Meetings & Events senior vice president and general manager, predicted that next year will see an increase in travel as part of talent competition, recruitment, and retention strategies. Travel that enables staff members to complete work and further the company mission from a desirable location may also become a more sought-after perk.
"As competition for talent heats up, employers will look to travel programs as meaningful benefits for employees who want to take advantage of business destinations, have a productive trip, and get home safely," Jouaneh said. "The line between traveling for work and leisure is continuing to blur for many travelers, and companies will find that developing programs that offer a more flexible work-life balance will attract prospective employees, and keep current employee morale high."
This type of approach can also allow businesses to hit two birds with one stone — not only can client and partner relationships be improved with face-to-face interaction, but when these meetings are in an attractive place, it benefits worker satisfaction as well.
While mixing business with pleasure may increase next year, this step won't happen without appropriate risk management and security planning. This is particularly true for organizations whose employees take corporate-sponsored trips outside of the U.S. — it's more critical than ever to consider the current conditions of the region to which workers are traveling.
Reporting on Advito's 2018 Industry Forecast, BCD Travel noted heightened concerns surrounding travel risk and security, especially given the current geopolitical situation involving the U.S. and other foreign nations. In addition, any changes to visa and immigration regulations which may impact employees' travel abroad should be taken into account with risk preparedness as well.
"Corporate travel departments must keep up with what's happening in geopolitics and understand how political upheavals, natural disasters, and terrorist attacks anywhere in the world could affect their travelers," BCD Travel noted.
Training employees on best practices for travel safety can help organizations manage any increased risk. Putting in place a risk management travel security policy is also helpful. This company standard should include a plan to support communication with travelers in the event of an emergency, as well as strategies for the business to locate and assist traveling employees should an incident take place.
Next year will also see an increased focus on the use of available company travel data. Forbes contributor Laura Parker argued that big data is continually on the rise. In an interview with Sam Turner, sales director at Hotelbeds Group and keynote speaker at the MarketHub Americas 2017 conference, Parker noted that this data can hold considerable potential for companies willing to put in the time and effort to analyze it.
As Turner highlighted, many organizations have more data than they know what to do with. However, pinpointing relevant information and ensuring that this data is accurate, measurable, and sufficient for analysis can help businesses identify important travel insights. These analysis results can then be applied to traveling planning efforts, including to keep companies' budgets in line while supporting employee and client needs.
"Looking to the future, the companies [that] will be able to drive real insights that create real added economic value will place a significant gap between themselves and their competitors," Turner told Parker.
Corporate travelers are increasingly demanding capabilities that make certain mission-critical processes easier from the road. As travelers continue to rely on their mobile devices while operating outside of the office, it only makes sense for businesses to offer robust features on these platforms.
Expense management will always be a top priority for corporate travel, and this is sure to continue into 2018. Now, however, legacy expense management strategies like spreadsheets simply won't cut it, and employees must have ways to track and report their spending from the road.
This is where a mobile expense management solution becomes a critical element to support employee travel. Such technology enables workers to leverage their mobile device to capture receipts and seamlessly track spending during their trip. In addition, expense report approvers can easily review reports for expense policy violations and more quickly approve them for faster reimbursement.
Mobile expense management will be critical next year, ensuring companies can eliminate unnecessary complexity and provide better support for employees. To find out more about how an advanced expense reporting solution can benefit your company, contact Nexonia today for a demonstration.Business Travel Trends to Look Out for in 2018VIEW VIDEO Gallery
Study abroad programs offered by colleges and universities across the globe can be incredible experiences for students and can provide educators with considerable career development opportunities. In fact, more students are taking part in study abroad than ever before - with a 10 percent increase seen annually, the number of international students is on track to reach 8 million by 2025.
When it comes to studying abroad, one of the first considerations to make is the cost. Whether students are awarded financial assistance or teachers support their travel with fundraising, it's important to track and organize expenses incurred during the trip. Here are a few key benefits that an expense reporting solution can bring for students as well as professional educators:
When students travel abroad, it's incredibly important to establish a spending budget and stick with it. For many students, this means not only accounting for things like food, lodging, and spending on events or supplies, but also calculating according to the local exchange rate. Any mistakes in these calculations can be disastrous for someone traveling outside of the country - imagine running out of currency in a far-away location with few resources at your fingertips.
An expense reporting solution can be incredibly helpful here. Many universities, like Yale, recommend that students keep track of their spending and save their receipts to make sure they are staying on budget. This process can be complicated with paper transaction records and messy spreadsheets, though. Instead, traveling students and educators can use a mobile-friendly reporting solution to organize their expenses and make sure nothing is unaccounted for. Such technology frees travelers from having to hang on to paper receipts and provides more visibility and automatic organization than a simple spreadsheet.
Financial firm Sapling noted that certain travel expenses - including those related to study abroad or professional travel for continued education - can be tax deductible.
"Unfortunately, students traveling abroad for educational purposes can't typically deduct the cost of travel," Sapling noted. "However, the students can still deduct other costs - like tuition, fees, books and supplies - incurred in a study abroad educational program."
In addition, travel by educators for the purpose of continuing their education or maintaining job status can be deducted as well, if the employer does not reimburse these costs. In this way, whether someone is a student studying outside of the U.S. or an educator attending classes or professional certifications away from their employer, it's important to track spending for tax purposes. This makes an expense reporting solution incredibly important for student and professional travelers, providing them with a simple solution to record and organize spending. Best of all, at tax time, all of the necessary information is easily accessible.
Sometimes tracking spending isn't about reimbursement or tax deductions, but simply about showing where and how money was used. This is true for students who receive financial assistance through family members, scholarships or other programs, as well as for educators who fundraise to support their travel.
An expense reporting solution offers a streamlined way for students and teachers to demonstrate how they used their funding and prove that the money raised or provided was put to good use.
To find out more about how an expense reporting solution can benefit students and educators traveling abroad, contact Nexonia today.3 Benefits an Expense Reporting Solution Can Bring for Study Abroad ProgramsVIEW VIDEO Gallery
Tracking and accounting for spend is critical for any type of organization, but it's especially important when the group is a nonprofit. There are several critical rules that these groups must follow in order to achieve and maintain their nonprofit status, and when it comes to employee or volunteer spending, one of the most essential guidelines to keep in mind has to do with the organization's accountable plan.
In short, an accountable plan helps a nonprofit track and organize spending related to the group's activities or other outreach. Transactions completed by organization directors, other employees, or volunteers must meet the requirements of the nonprofit's accountable plan to prevent the group from having to pay taxes on these expenses and enable individuals to qualify for reimbursement.
According to financial firm Raffa, accountable plans should include several requirements:
These requirements help ensure that spending is accurately tracked, that workers or volunteers are reimbursed quickly where appropriate, and that records can show that expenses are tied to the organization and its mission.
Expense reporting and the associated reimbursements that take place according to the requirements of an accountable plan allow nonprofit leaders and volunteers to exclude these sums from taxable income. As legal firm Nolo pointed out, not only are these expenses tax-free, but they don't have to be reported to the IRS so long as they are incurred for the purpose of the organization and can be accounted for correctly.
An accountable plan doesn't just bolster expense tracking and reporting for nonprofits - it can also help eliminate fraudulent activity.
"These strict rules are imposed to prevent directors and employees from seeking reimbursement for personal expenses (or nonexistent phony expenses) under the guise that they were work expenses," Nolo noted. "An accountable plan doesn't need to be in writing (although it's not a bad idea). All your nonprofit has to do is set up procedures for your employees to follow that meet the requirements."
As Nolo recommended, it's good to record your nonprofit's accountable plan, including its requirements for tracking and reporting spending. This ensures that everyone who incurs expenses associated with nonprofit activities is on the same page and understands what their responsibilities are according to IRS standards for taxable income.
It's also important to keep the plan's time periods in mind. Expenses should be reported within 60 days of the transaction, and any money exceeding the cost of the expenses should be returned in less than 120 days, Nolo stated.
In order to meet these deadlines, employees and volunteers need a streamlined way to track and report their spending, and organization directors must be able to quickly approve reports and support fast reimbursement. An advanced yet simple-to-use expense reporting solution can provide the capabilities today's nonprofits need to align spending with their accountable plan and ensure quick and accurate reimbursement.
To find out more about how an expense reporting solution can benefit your nonprofit's accountable plan, contact us for a demonstration of Nexonia Expenses today.How an Accountable Plan Impacts Nonprofit Expense ReportingVIEW VIDEO Gallery
Your nonprofit organization's mission often requires fundraising and spending on the part of your volunteers. Your group must have an easy way to account for expenses and make necessary reimbursements.
But what's actually required when it comes to nonprofit expense reporting, and what best practices should your organization leverage to improve this process? Let's take a look:
As nonprofit knowledge network Mission Box explained, your organization can leverage an accountable plan for expense reimbursement. Such a plan not only shields the group from having to report payments or pay taxes on them, but also prevents the reimbursed volunteer from having to include these monies in his or her taxable income.
In order to qualify as an accountable plan under Internal Revenue Service standards, the policy must only encompass spending related to the nonprofit. Volunteers must report spending within 60 days of it taking place. It's also their responsibility to return any extra funds within 120 days of the expense. These rules prevent reimbursements from having to be taxed and also protect the nonprofit against fraudulent reimbursement of personal expenses.
When expenses are reported as part of a nonprofit accountable plan, the following information should be included:
With this information in hand, report approvers can ensure that expenses are recorded and organized according to the accountable plan, that reimbursements will not be taxed, and that approval and repayment can take place as quickly as possible.
In addition to outlining and organizing details about spending to support fast reimbursement, your nonprofit should also look to break down its expenses into different categories. This ensures that employees and managers have the most visibility possible over the organization's spending, and your group can account for how donations and other capital were used.
Accounting and consulting firm McKonly & Asbury explained that nonprofit spending categories can include:
While an accountable plan isn't a requirement for nonprofit expense reporting, the alternative typically involves repaying volunteers using a fixed allowance or stipend, resulting in individuals having to report and pay taxes on this income. As a result, many nonprofits are utilizing accountable plans to support better organization and visibility into group expenses.
One of the easiest ways to streamline your nonprofit's spending and reimbursement is to leverage an advanced expense reporting solution that automatically captures and provides all the information managers need to quickly approve reports and disburse repayment. Volunteers can easily complete reports from their mobile device, and your organization's leaders can access and approve reports in a much more streamlined manner.
To find out more about enhancing your nonprofit's expense reporting processes, contact us for a demonstration of our industry-leading expense reporting solution today.Nonprofits: What's Required to Report Your Volunteers' Expenses?VIEW VIDEO Gallery
For most corporate employees today, business travel has become a way of life. In fact, according to PayStream Advisors 2016 Travel and Expense Management Report, 40 percent of businesses have a workforce that takes part in travel at least one week a year, and another 24 percent of organizations noted their employees traveled for at least four weeks per year.
With so many enterprise-sponsored trips happening, it's important that company leaders and traveling staff members have a simple way to keep track of and report their travel expenses. This is where an automated expense reporting solution comes into play. Such technology can make the lives of travelers and their employers much easier, thanks to a few key benefits. Let's take a look at three top reasons why companies of all sizes are flocking to these solutions:
Now that the vast majority of organizational workers take part in business trips throughout the year, having a company travel policy has become more commonplace. This policy lays the ground rules for everything from booking travel to reimbursement for expenses, and ensures that traveling workers and their companies remain on the same page.
A travel policy is especially important when it comes to tracking and reporting expenses, as well as paying employees back for the money spent on corporate travel. In the past, it was difficult to align expense reporting practices with the company travel policy - in fact, according to a study from Aberdeen Group, improving compliance with company travel procedures was a pressure faced by 49 percent of organizations.
Thankfully, an automated expense reporting tool can alleviate this challenge. By creating a single solution for inputting receipts and tracking other expenditures, it becomes much easier for workers and employers to remain in step with important policy pieces, like per diem amounts and reporting schedules.
Travel is expensive, and the cost can increase exponentially for longer trips, or those that require added stops. This can create an increase in the number of expense reports that must be processed every month. PayStream found that half of all companies process at least 500 expense reports on a monthly basis, and another 26 percent process as many as 2,500 reports. And when you consider that it costs an average of $41.12 to process a single report manually, the cost of corporate travel can become significant.
A top priority among business leaders today is to reduce these costs, and there are few better strategies to employ here than utilizing an automated expense reporting solution. CFO Edge found that with this technology in place, the cost of processing a report drops to $7.17, helping companies save an incredible amount of financial resources that can then be put towards more pressing mission-critical initiatives.
From an employee perspective, one of the biggest challenges with corporate travel is the time it takes to be reimbursed. Even if the organization pays up-front for airline tickets and hotel stay, the worker is still responsible for day-to-day expenditures like food. And when staff members aren't reimbursed as quickly as possible, it can contribute to reduced job satisfaction.
PayStream discovered that lengthy reimbursement cycles fell within the top five travel and expense management challenges companies face today. An automated solution can help businesses streamline their reimbursement by making it much easier for employees to submit reports on time.
With a robust travel expense management solution, employees can access the platform via their mobile devices and input receipts from anywhere. This means there's less of a chance that a receipt will be lost, and staff members can get their reports in on time, helping to eliminate any delay in reimbursement.
Overall, automated expense management tools are a must for any company with a traveling workforce. To find out more about how this technology can make your life and the lives of your employees easier, contact us today.3 Ways Automated Expense Reporting Makes Your Life EasierVIEW VIDEO Gallery