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Business travel compliance: what does compliance mean?

17 Feb 2021

Brought to you by TravelPerk, the #1 business travel platform.

Business travel compliance: what does compliance mean?

Compliance typically means the action of obeying (complying) with a wish or demand. However, what does this mean when it comes to business travel? Business travel compliance means employees agree to a businesses’ corporate travel policies for business trips. 

In this brief article, we’ll take you through different types of travel compliance you need to consider, as well as why your business needs compliance processes for all business travelers. 

Compliance meaning: a business travel breakdown 

Picture this, you’re a manager, and your team member needs to go on a business trip to represent everything you’ve done. Now, you’re a travel manager. You’re suddenly responsible for a world of policies, risks, and processes outside of your work scope. You need to make sure your team member complies with company travel policies but don’t have a fantastic overview of them yourself. 

Cue business travel compliance for easy global mobility. An opportunity for you to take the worry out of business travel. Allowing you and your teammate can focus on the reason for the trip, now the how-tos. 

Why do we need business travel compliance? 

There are quite a few reasons for compliance in global business travel. Some benefit the business; some benefit the traveling employee, all of them get everyone on the same page. Cases of non-compliance often occur out of misunderstanding.   

Risk management: Compliance means businesses can better manage all types of travel risks. Processes will be put in place to account for these risks, and when an employee complies with them, they minimize risk.

Reputation management: When a business traveler complies with travel policies, it means they comply with rules put in place to maintain the reputation of the company they’re traveling for. 

Expense management: This is always a huge problem if you’re not booking through a business travel management company. Compliance with budget limits and processes for approvals ensure there’s no awkward overspending. Plus, they align people on reimbursement, and their designated travel spend. 

Data handling: Data compliance enables the business to optimize corporate travel management in the future. Moreso, by having an overview of employee travel data, companies can further minimize risks and protect employees better, should there be a security threat. 

Freedom for travelers: Compliance for business travelers means they don’t need micromanaging. Travelers agree to a specific set of rules and workflows, which means they clearly understand their travel freedom and their ‘online’ hours. 

Overview for travel managers: Last but not least, travel policy compliance gives travel managers—whether experienced or not—peace of mind and an overview of what they can expect from their traveling employees. 

Different types of business travel compliance

Although we’ve covered compliance meaning, there are a few specific areas of compliance to be aware of when it comes to corporate business travel.  

Tax compliance 

Tax compliance issues and tax authorities sound like every worst nightmare—and they can be. Depending on the traveler, the destination, and the length of the stay, your business and travel can be affected by new corporate tax obligations and social security fees.  

However, it’s no longer a case of solely measuring the number of days your employee is on the road. Their type of work, number of trips, and compensation all need to be taken into account. Tax compliance ensures both you and your employee are aware of the tax implications for any particular trip. 

Immigration compliance 

Penalties, fines, travel bans, the things that nightmares are made of—asides from taxes. If there’s no immigration compliance within your travel policies, again, your business and your employee could be at massive risk. 

This compliance gives the business a clear overview of potential immigration breaches and how to avoid them. These will differ depending on the travelers’ home country, number of trips taken, and destinations. 

Duty of care 

Just because someone is leaving your ‘office’ doesn’t mean they’re outside your business’s duty of care. Signing this off within your travel policy process gives travelers the assurance they need to know they’ll be looked after by their employer on their business trip. 

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How to get employees to comply with travel policies?

The truth is, travel policies help both parties. They align employees and employers on everything around their travel policies, so nothing goes overlooked or misunderstood. Once business travelers understand this, there’s rarely a problem getting them to comply. 

The issue comes technically. How can you logistically get business travelers to comply with travel policies? How can you ensure this approval process is never overlooked and can scale as your business grows? 

First things first, make your company policies accessible to everyone. The basics should be visible from day one of staff onboarding. Anyone who plans on traveling with the business needs clear access to the policies that include them. The functionality of your online booking tool needs to be accessible and inclusive. 

Next up, automate your compliance travel process. Save the endless email chains, and minimize the risk of overlooking critical information. The bottom line is, a travel management app does all of the logistics and compliance process for you—in real-time. So, your team can focus on what they do best. 

TravelPerk can help your company prepare for the business travel of tomorrow. Going forward, travel policy compliance will be more important than ever before. We can help you through our integrated policy feature. Set up automated approval processes and workflow in less than two minutes. Grant unrestricted or strict access when it comes to budget and bookings. Give each employee the autonomy they deserve. The future of business travel is here.

If you’re looking to streamline your travel processes, perhaps a travel booking platform is a perfect fit.

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