If you're concerned about keeping your company’s travel and expenses down, then the first thing to do is make sure that everyone is on the same page. An expense policy provides clarity on what can be spent and when, to all employees in the business.
Why do you need an expense policy?
Most employees in a business want to do the right thing when it comes to claiming expenses, but sometimes they just don't know what the right thing is. This is where an expense policy comes in useful. A clear, unambiguous expense policy helps prevent frustration, mistakes, and even the risk of expenses fiddling or fraud.
So, where do you start?
If you don't already have an expense policy, it can be a bit overwhelming to start from scratch. Fortunately, you can find good examples online to learn from - You can use our free How to create an Expense Policy guide - which not only describes the structure of a best-practice expense policy, it also explains what each section should cover and includes some words you could use as a starting point.
Looking for some tips?
Here are a few things to think about when you start writing (or revising) your policy.
- Ditch the jargon
Write the policy to cover the basics but don't be afraid to revise it later. It probably won't be perfect on the first attempt, so remind people to use common sense as well. Also, be sure to edit it for clarity before it's published - double-check to make sure it's easy to read and not bogged down in jargon. The easier a policy is to understand, the easier it is for your employees to adhere to.
- Make it fair
No one should have to be out of pocket if they spend sensibly. Create a policy that is generally regarded as fair and then make it easy to find and follow. A good policy is applicable to most employees in most circumstances. Try avoid different rules for different sets of employees if you want it to be considered fair.
- Invite participation
Get buy-in from your staff before you implement the policy by asking team members to participate in the process, for example. If they help develop the expense policy, they'll see why it's necessary and will be more likely to adhere to the rules and encourage others to do the same.