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Travel Expense Reports: Our Tips for Stress-Free Business Trips

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samuel_fischer 12 Aug 2019

When it comes time for a business trip, handing travel expenses and other financial matters are often the most stressful. It doesn't have to be this way, though!

On this page, we will break down some of the latest tech, laws, and developments in the financial sector so that your business travel expense reports can become much easier to handle.

Why Are Travel Expense Reports so Hard?

For starters, you should understand that banks now have the ability to make your life much easier when it comes time to prepare travel expense reports. Additionally, companies have the freedom to choose a bank which best assists them.

Here are some common reasons that businesses have a hard time with travel expense reports:

  • Unnecessary and unexpected bank fees.
  • Not enough corporate cards for splitting costs and distributing payment responsibilities.
  • Only one financial statement at the end of the month.

Easy Solution to these Travel Expense Report Issues

If you have run into these sorts of frustrations, you don’t have to necessarily keep things this way. If you work with the right bank, these are all issues which can be completely avoided altogether.

The Penta Business Account, for example, comes with corporate employee cards, online banking, and real-time expense tracking. 

But We Have Been using the Same Bank for 20 years!

As you may have encountered when you first set up a bank account, there has traditionally been a lot of bureaucracy and paperwork involved in this process.

The good news is that we live in the modern world of computers, the internet, and ever-improving technology. This means that banks no longer have to operate how they did back in the 70s!

A Penta Business account can be set up and active within a day or so without the need to fill out long forms and paperwork.

How Does a Penta Account Help with Travel Expense Reports?

If you have struggled with handling travel expense reports in the past, you aren’t alone. Many people struggle with handling large stacks of paper, numbers which don’t add up correctly, finding all the receipts and expense records, and much more.

Here are a few modern banking features offered by Penta:

Online Real-Time Expense Tracking

Banks have always needed to produce very precise and detailed statements. This is part of the reason people trust them in the first place. If you only receive one statement a month though, you should know that this practice is a little outdated.

In the modern world of banking, we now have the ability to create online accounts for our customers. With this same technology, we can provide real-time expense tracking which eliminates the need for printed monthly statements mailed to your door.

Go Completely Paperless

Printing and paper costs are not usually that expensive but can add up really quickly. It doesn’t have to be this way, though. As we have mentioned, banks and businesses now have access to technology which can avoid the use of paper and printers altogether.

These days, just about everything can be digitized and made accessible on a mobile phone or laptop. Going paperless can also make your travel expense reports a lot more organized and easy to handle in the first place.

Just about any sort of expense can be tracked without paper. Business trips can even calculate their fuel charges in advance of the trip with an online fuel cost calculator.

Minimal Human Error and Lost Data

If your travel expense reports rely on human calculations and labor, errors and small mistakes are commonplace. Computers and digital accounting technology are recommended if you want to minimize the potential of human errors.

In addition, technology can help you sort out which information belongs in your travel expense reports, and what doesn’t. This helps you create travel expense reports which are both completely accurate and compliant with local laws and tax procedures.

Reimbursing Travel Expenses: Tax-Free or With Taxes?

As the employer, you have the freedom to choose whether you reimburse your employees for travel expenses using tax reports or on your own. However, the costs that you report on your travel expense report can not be deducted below advertising costs.

Domestic Business Travel Expense Fees & International Packages

It’s important to note that you cannot simply refund everything to your employees that you include on your travel expense reports. It’s important to understand how the travel expense laws work. You also need to know what kind of trips you can report as business travel.

Here are some common examples which legal qualify as business trips:

  • Customer appointments
  • Seminars & business meetings
  • Off-site training

German law states that a business trip needs to have a duration of at least eight hours to legally qualify. For business trips shorter than this, there is a flat rate of €12. This fee applies to situations where the departure and/or arrival day is less than 8 hours. 

For trips that are longer than 24 hours, the flat rate is €24.

Those who do international business trips, though, will have to find the daily rate for their destination country. Here are some of the latest fees taken from the Federal Ministry of Finance:

list of different fees to include in business expense reports for international business trips

We hope that this article has helped you better understand travel expenses and how to more efficiently prepare your travel expense reports.

Do you want to more efficiently manage your team’s travel expenses? Give your employees Penta company cards today and start saving your time and efforts for more important tasks.

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