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Travel & Expense

Tip #4 for Cutting T&E Waste and Abuse

on September 18, 2013

Our fourth in a series of tips for cutting T&E waste is focused on weekend and holiday purchases.

Today’s modern road warriors are often expected to begin and end travel on weekends and holidays. In most cases, this weekend and holiday travel is necessary to make it in time for early Monday morning meetings or to attend late Friday afternoon meetings. Sometimes travelers do this in order to save significant sums of money for their employers. And it is not unusual for client entertainment to occur on weekends. But do you know when weekend expenses are just plain wasteful?

Purchases made on weekends or holidays are not wasteful or abusive on their own. Rather, the timing of a purchase can tip the scale in the direction of suspicious when considered with other indicators. Visits to the grocery store during the week listed as entertainment could be indicate a sales representative purchasing items for an office breakfast for one of his customers. But when the grocery purchases are made on the weekend, and classified as office supplies, suspicion increases. Is this traveler doing weekend grocery shopping on the company travel card?

Out-of-pocket expenses are a fact of life for travelers. Bellhops don’t take credit cards for tips and they don’t provide receipts. But when several out-of-pocket expenses occur for $23 and $24 when the receipt limit is $25, the last day of the hotel stay was a weekday, and all of the “tips” appear on a weekend, suspicion increases.

Part of a good strategy of inspecting what you expect is to identify weekend and holiday purchases and ask questions about the ones that don’t add up. There are legitimate reasons for most weekend and holiday expenditures. But the ones without legitimate reasons need to be identified so that kind of traveler behavior can be reduced, if not eliminated.

Chris Rossie

Chris Rossie is a blog contributor for Oversight.