You are about to embark on an exciting journey to work for your company abroad, something that you will have to keep into account is the type of travel compliance policy your company employs. These are the things that you should take into account when dealing with Travel Compliances and what it means for an employee or employer.

Travel compliance is an agreement multinational companies have to take into consideration when sending employees abroad, such as regulations of the host country and policies the company itself has in place. Not all companies employ the same methods regarding their Travel Compliance, but all of them are in place to make sure spending does not exceed reasonable amounts and laws and regulations are taken into account- while providing professionals with comfortable accommodations when working abroad.

Why do companies bring over or send employees abroad?

One could argue that there is no need to move employees around from one place to another, because why not just hire someone that already lives there? In most cases, this is not attractive for companies if there is a certain type of expertise needed which they cannot find in the country they operate. It would be much more effective to rely on an employee that has a track record and familiarity with the company.

There are various risks involved for business travellers and companies when the regulations of a host country are not taken into account, what are these risks exactly?

For the company

  • Fines
  • Not being able to apply for new working permits
  • In rare cases civil/criminal action

For employees

  • Entry denied to the country
  • Fine(s)
  • Incarceration

Apart from the external risks companies and employees are exposed to when not carefully handling their papers- there are policies set by Multinationals to ensure employees travelling to work abroad do not spend excessive amounts of money. Of course, a multinational is not going to monitor an employees’ every move while this person is abroad, as this would not only breach their privacy but also create a hostile working environment. Instead, companies choose to set certain policies and methods in place to ensure employees do not exceed the set budget- these methods are never able to control expenses entirely, making acting in good faith on both sides imperative.

Expense management is a vital aspect of travel compliance, but what type of methods and processes can multinationals put in place?

  • Automation: By having a monitoring system in place to see what type of expenses are made, a red flag can indicate which expenses are of the highest importance.
  • Process optimization: Along with automation optimizing the processes that go along with detecting certain expenses are important, by automatically searching for the largest expenses it would be possible to avoid looking at all of them individually, instead, focusing on the most important ones.
  • Expense reports: By examining expense reports of an employee over a longer period it would be possible to see whether this person has a predisposition to spend excessively.
  • Comparing Employees: Aside from individual expense reports it is also effective to compare employees with each other to see if one of them spends more than the other while keeping relative measures into account.
  • Resolution Workflow: By assigning certain names for the cases in which excessive spending has been made, it would be possible to categorize them, thereafter it would be possible to see which ones are a recurring problem and give employees training to prevent it in the future.
  • Expense report data mine: By storing cases of excessive spending it would be possible to have useful information for other methods such as comparing employee expenses and having a centralized system possible.
  • Comprehensive Centralized System: By combining several types of information that can be gathered a centralized system will enable it to effectively deal with information.

Overall, it can be said that Travel Compliance is something that will be increasingly important in the future, parallel to the rising amount of Business Travellers. For companies, this means managing expenses properly and employees should be well informed about what type of expenses they are allowed to make.

 

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By Selçuk Salman

 

Sources:

Visa Traveler, 2019 

The Accidental Expat, Baker McKenzie

Corporate Compliance Insights, 2016