Despite the widespread frigid temperatures across the U.S. as of late, Spring — and the events the season brings — is not too far away. As CFOs and their teams examine company travel amid the challenges of modern work environments, recent data reveals their expense reporting processes may be lagging.
A recent study by Banyan on 359 frequent business travelers indicates employees are mixing of business and leisure when it comes to travel, and the blending of the two introduces multiple pain points associated with attempting to get properly reimbursed incurred costs associated with traveling for business.
'Bleisure' as a Morale Booster
As the events industry has come back in relatively full swing post-pandemic, more than three quarters (76%) of business travelers surveyed said they had participated in “bleisure,” or combined business and leisure trips, at least once in their career.
Along with access to industry thought leaders while attending conferences and corporate events, traveling can also provide teams who work in a hybrid or remote environment an opportunity to collaborate in person.
As employers struggle to gauge productivity and engagement for their employees, many business travelers are using their business travel as a way to get some rest and relaxation in the process, according to data. Nearly two-thirds (61%) of companies have a policy around this type of travel, according to surveyors.
Ambiguity Around Payment
When executives approach the process of gauging value in attendance to events, either by themselves or their teams, the cost is usually a primary factor in whether or not the opportunity is worth it. Outside of the networking and culture-building opportunities that business travel provides, the process of expensing the costs incurred by employees on their trips is frequently a pain point.
When asked what accounts employees are using for expensed items on business trips, nearly half (48%) of respondents said they mix both personal and company credit cards. While over a quarter (27%) said they use their own card only, it’s unclear whether that is by choice or because the employees have no access to a company card. Fifty-three percent of business travelers admit to having accidentally put a personal charge on a corporate card, or vice versa.
Proactive executives should have a set of guidelines for employees who are traveling on a frequent basis on how to pay for expenses, as there seems to be a gray area for many frequent flyers when it comes to how to pay.
Expense Reports Annoyance is Up, Errors Are Low
According to findings, many travelers are still keeping track of physical receipts and documents during their travels as a part of their efforts to properly expense their costs.
When identifying pain points in expense travel management, 50% of respondents said locating, capturing, or organizing receipts were some of the most difficult parts of business travel expense management, while another 47% identified the process of compiling receipts and applicable printouts during travel as another top pain point.
Despite opportunity for innovation in expense reporting, data shows the process is still pretty fluid as is. When gauged about accidents or mistakes, 64% said they rarely or never make errors when attempting to file expense reports. Ninety percent of those surveyed also reported completing the process of filing their expense reports within seven days of their travel.
Things Travelers Would Rather Do
In a more humorous finding, some travelers dislike filing expense reports so much that they would rather do some bizarre things than file one.
Nearly a third of travelers would rather go to the dentist (32%) and renew their driver’s licenses (31%). Over a quarter (27%) said they would rather talk politics at the Thanksgiving table, while 26% said they would rather file an insurance claim.
Most travelers were reasonable, however, with 61% reporting they would rather file an expense report every day than eat a worm once.