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Travel & Expense Purchase Card

How to Have a Fully Compliant, Fully Global Travel Program

on May 28, 2015

Is it possible to have a truly global travel program? Business Travel News writers JoAnn DeLuna and Julie Sickel outline the objectives and challenges in their May 1 article, “Developing a Truly Global Travel Program a Truly Challenging Task”. One of the objectives the writers discuss is compliance. And while the compliance discussion focuses on compliance via the use of the travel provider, it prompted me to think of our customers and their approaches to travel policy compliance on a global level.

At Oversight, we have customers of different sizes in a number of different industries. Some industries like financial services, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and life sciences have regulatory concerns that shape their travel policy compliance perspectives. Other industries have company codes of conduct that focus on their internal desires for travel policy compliance. By country, there are different tax requirements that impact policies such as the threshold for requiring receipts or limits on entertainment. And when it comes to legal obligations such as the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the UK Bribery Act, all companies need to be prepared to address and respond to a consistent list of requirements.

Our global customers are generally consistent when it comes to their choices for expense management systems and corporate travel cards. The leading companies are also very consistent when it comes to their approaches to travel policy compliance. Their three primary objectives are to:

  • increase the scope of policy compliance analysis to 100% of their travel transactions
  • decrease the level of effort associated with performing this analysis (while increasing their scope from as little as 10% of total transactions)
  • influence employee behavior and reduce erroneous, abusive, and wasteful travel spending.

Our customers tell us that they need to adapt analysis on a country-by-country and/or division-by-division (or subsidiary by subsidiary) basis to meet individual requirements. One of the advantages of Oversight Insights On Demand for T&E is the ability for the configuration to be specific to division, subsidiary, or country requirements. Further, it’s the ability to quickly and easily communicate with travelers regarding their travel behavior that allows travel and expense managers to influence traveler behavior through questions and reminders. This allows companies to tailor their communications to match the culture. For some companies, this means negative incentives for non-compliance such as reporting to management or impacts on reimbursements. Others reward compliant behavior in an effort to influence expected actions.

Any truly global program needs to consider compliance from both program and policy perspectives. Our customers tell us the most effective and least costly approach is one that is supported by an automated system that streamlines the process of policy compliance analysis and management.