Introduction to Integrated Travel Management

What is Integrated Travel Management?

The overall objective of integrated travel management (ITM), described in the diagram below, is for an organization to optimize the return on essential travel. To achieve this objective it is essential to:

  • Develop and set effective travel and entertainment (T&E) policy guidelines.
  • Achieve full visibility of all T&E expenditure for employees worldwide.
  • Maximize the control of and compliance with T&E policy including not only minimizing fraud and delinquent spend but also non-essential travel.
  • Maximize the efficiency of travel spend management by:
    • ensuring the use of the organization’s corporate cards wherever it is cost-effective to do so.
    • integrating all travel data with the organization’s information and accounting systems.
    • maximizing the efficiency of the organization’s processing of travel expenditure.
    • minimizing the time and resources spent on T&E expenditure by both employees and management.
  • Minimize the prices paid for travel services by leveraging the organization’s buying power and maximizing rebates
  • Maximize the cost-effective reclamation of VAT/sales tax.
What Integrated Travel Management Encompasses

What’s New in Integrated Travel Management?

The new section has been launched with three articles, looking at VAT recovery in Europe, deterring fraud and increasing compliance through expense management, and unifying T&E with other expense management systems.

According to Laurent Vreven, product manager at MasterCard Europe, commercial cards can offer benefits to companies grappling with the complex laws governing VAT recovery on cross-border T&E expenses in Europe. He says: “T&E costs are often further inflated by firms’ failure to recover the value added tax (VAT) that they are entitled to.” To find out how commercial cards can help tackle this problem read Vreven’s article Commercial Payment Cards and VAT Recovery in Europe.

Fraud is another area that can be addressed through an expense management card programme. Tom Goodmanson, chief financial and administrative officer at Gelco Expense Management, illustrates how a card programme for employee T&E expenses can reduce fraud and can enforce compliance with company policies on travel service providers. He states that 25% of business travellers admit to booking travel outside company policy, adding: “Although not every unauthorized expense constitutes fraud, there can be a fine line between out-of-policy spending and fraud – 20% of companies say that it is common for travellers to file reports that include completely false expenses.” To read more about this issue, click on Goodmanson’s article: Deterring Fraud and Driving Compliance Through Expense Management.

While both tax recovery and minimizing the risk of employee expense fraud are important issues, they will be tackled far more efficiently if the amount of manual input necessary for processing T&E expense claim forms is reduced. Matthew Frost, the UK sales director at KDS, claims that the way forward is to marry T&E expense claims with other company expense systems. His article Is the Market Ready for Unified Travel and Expense Management? calls for a modern perspective on T&E expense processing, saying that this is all the more pressing since companies “are at risk of losing significant value as employees take advantage of separate systems for T&E and expense that can be rife with loopholes.”

What to Expect from the ITM Section

The ITM section will detail best practices and offer solutions in all of these areas with articles from leading T&E service suppliers including payment card companies, expense management companies, hotel chains, airlines, and software and service suppliers. gtnews will also host webinars and workshops on key aspects of ITM and provide a question and answer feature to enable readers to ask leading suppliers about vital issues in achieving the maximum return on their T&E expenditure. If you have any questions on ITM, would like to make a comment about the section or suggest a topic you would like to read about, or if you would like to contribute an article, please send in your comments/questions to Bija Knowles (bijak@gtnews.com), or by using the Call for Questions box on the Payment Cards section of gtnews.

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