Navigating the Pitfalls of the travel approvals: How Nutrip is revolutionising the process
In my previous life, I was involved in regular weekly conference calls with groups of colleagues spread all over the world. While we developed good working relationships, it was only when we had an in-person international meeting that we really strengthened these relationships and started to deliver mutual assistance and support on various issues. The benefit to the overall business of these interactions is immeasurable.
But there are also many pitfalls in international travel! It can be an incredible administrative burden including lengthy approval processes, emails back & forth with travel agents, and an inordinate amount of time wasting when you arrive back.
I was asked to visit Detroit for a meeting of global peers that perform similar roles to mine. I got the ball rolling by asking for the local travel approval form. It was an excel spreadsheet consisting of 34 fields expressed in 7-point font which required electronic completion followed by printing and physical walking around the required signatories. For the record, there were six people who physically needed to sign my paper.
I spent 30 minutes completing the form with airport locations and utilising complicated excel macros for costs. I printed it off and started walking the piece of paper around to six signatories in the requested sequence … in rising level of seniority. Budgets were checked against the quarter’s forecast while I waited, and more checks were done on the business purpose/alignment with goals. Then the paper went to functional leaders, finance leaders and then to the most senior person in the building … for quadruple checking. This was the ultimate sign-off process which took days … and meanwhile the airfare continued to increase in price.
Once presidential approval was achieved, the travel agency was sent a scanned copy via email. From there, a spirited tennis rally of emails began with requests and responses going back and forth endlessly before finally agreeing on an itinerary.
Another paper item to keep track of while travelling is the paper receipts of all expenses. They seem to always be the first thing that gets lost. It would have been much earlier to have a daily per diem allowance to make things simple and easier for meals, taxis and incidentals.
On return home, the dreaded expense report has to be completed! Some of my colleagues were 6-months behind on the paperwork because the system was so time consuming, over-engineered and complicated. This was undoubtedly the major pitfall in the process and a significant time waster for all involved. Travellers had to paste & stick receipts to A4 paper while approvers had to review documents for compliance to company travel policy. It would have been much easier for all compliance to be done for once-and-for-all at the approval stage. That would make the expenses sign-off a simple matter of checking the original budget versus the final expenses.
I’m glad to say that the team at Nutrip has addressed all of the above pitfalls through a complete reengineering of the approval, travel and expense reporting processes. Because the right people have the right information at the right time, Nutrip saves time for travellers, approvers and everyone else who is part of the process. Detailed approval information is pushed to travel agencies for efficient booking without the endless tennis rallies. Expenses are also linked to the originally approved budget which makes for a quick-and-easy process for travellers and approvers. Nutrip also has per-diem functionality so travellers can forget much of the paperwork for incidental expenses. Find out more about how Nutrip is making the pitfalls of travel a thing of the past at www.nutrip.com