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Travel and Entertainment Best Practices


Praise for Travel and Entertainment Best Practices

"Mary Schaeffer, distinguished author and recognized accounts payable expert, has once again, with her expertise, knowledge, and resources from top companies, brought to the accounts payable field her new book Travel and Entertainment Best Practices. I highly recommend this book to keep updated with the rapidly changing automation and technology for strengthening internal controls in today's environment for the T&E process. A 'must have' for A/P coordinators and finance directors. Add this great resource to your Mary Schaeffer collection!"
—Kathryn P. Zeoli, Accounts Payable Manager, Eastman Kodak Company

"Mary Schaeffer has written an informative, concise book that provides a road map on what should be considered when writing a travel policy."
—Jean Connolly, Accounts Payable Manager, Sun Business Services

"The Columbus Metropolitan Library is currently reviewing its T&E process. Travel and Entertainment Best Practices gave us great information on which to base our new procedures. It comprehensively addresses T&E process accounts payable concerns."
—Kathleen Baker, Accounts Payable Supervisor Columbus Metropolitan Library

"Travel and expense has always been a very ambiguous subject for A/P professionals. Mary's book does a first-rate job explaining solutions to situations encountered in one of A/P's most complex areas. The explanations are easy to understand, and there are many excellent references. I think this book would be a great asset to any A/P department."
—Ann Wieger, Bookkeeper, Avera Queen of Peace Health Services

Highly accessible and applicable, Travel and Entertainment Best Practices provides a comprehensive view of the T&E procedures with authoritative tips, techniques, and advice from Mary Schaeffer, America's most accomplished accounts payable expert. This thorough work is the definitive resource for internal auditors, accounting managers, CFOs, and controllers who want to apply the best?practices to their organizations' travel and entertainment policies and procedures.

MARY S. SCHAEFFER is a nationally recognized accounts payable expert. She is the founder and Editorial Director of Accounts Payable Now & Tomorrow, a newsletter for professionals interested in payment issues. She is the author of twelve books and has written hundreds of articles that have appeared in publications such as the New York Times, Corporate Cashflow, Treasury and Risk Management, Business Credit, The Writer, and Newsday. She has an MBA in finance and is a member of the New York Financial Writers' Association.


1 Travel and Entertainment Expense Policy and Reimbursement Process: Not What It Was a Few Short Years Ago.

Trends Affecting T&E Expense Reporting.

Other Issues Affecting the T&E Expense Process.

Other Bad Practices That Plague T&E.

Outsider’s View.

Worst-Case Scenario.

Best-Case Scenario.


Who Handles T&E?

2 How Corporate Travel Is Booked.

Pre-Trip Authorizations.

Role of the Travel Agent.

Corporate Travel Offices.

Corporate Intranet Portals.

Online Corporate Booking Services.

Third-Party Corporate Booking Portals.

Making the Selection: Third-Party Travel Service Provider.

Bare-Bones Approach: Employee Self-Booking.

Demise of the Saturday-Night Stay and Other Costly Issues.

Other Booking Issues.

3 T&E Expense Report Approval Process.

Who’s Watching the Store?

Approval Process in a Paper World.

Traveler or Supervisor: Who Should Return the Approved Form?

Approvals in an Electronic Process.

Electronic Processing without Immediate Approval.

Electronic Processing with Immediate Approval.

Approvals: Paper versus Electronic.

Something to Consider.

What about the Receipts?

Inquisitive Managers and Receipts.

4 The T&E Review and Reimbursement Process.

Cash Advances.

Other Cash Advance Problem.

How Common Are Cash Advances?

Expense Reimbursement.

Last-Minute Reimbursements: The Demanding Employee.

Reviewing and Checking T&E Expense Reports.

Spot Checking.

Checking: An Important Consideration.

Recommended Best Practice: Checking Reports.

If Management Won’t Agree to Spot Checking.

When Spot Checking May Not Be Appropriate.

Policy Compliance.

Policy Compliance Exceptions.

5 Accountable or Not: The Tax Implications of Your T&E Plan.

An Accountable Plan.

Reasonable Amount of Time.

Tax Implications of an Accountable Plan.

A Nonaccountable Plan.

Advantages of an Accountable Plan.

Tax Carrot/Stick.

Receipts under Accountable Plans.

T&E in a Paperless World.

Pertinent IRS Publications.

Another Reason to Eliminate Cash Advances.

6 Paying for Corporate Travel: T&E Cards.

Employee Use of Own Credit Card.

Company Card with Employee Paying the Bill.

Company Card, Employee Payment, Corporate Guarantee.

Company Paying the T&E Card Bill.

One Card Approach.

Hybrid Approach.

Which Approach Is Best?

Issuance of Company T&E Cards.

7 Receipts, Documentation, and Other Issues.

Per Diems.


What about Electronic Receipts?

Disaster Recovery: Lessons Learned from Charlie and Katrina.

Other Delicate Issues.

8 Communicating Requirements: The T&E Policy and Manual.

What Kind of Policy Do You Want?

Your T&E Policy, Internal Controls, and the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

Access to the Policy.

A Two-Minute Assessment of Your T&E Process.

T&E Policy: Good News and Bad.

Administering the Policy.

T&E Policy Best Practices.

Policy Synopsis.

Creating Your Own T&E Policy.

Keeping the Policy Current.

Enforcing the Policy.

9 Sample T&E Policy Manual.

Section 1: Policy Approval.

Section 2: T&E Policy Statement.

Section 3: Policy Purpose.

Section 4: Exceptions to the Policy.

Section 5: Employee Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 6: Preferred Method of Payment.

Section 7: Supervisor Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 8: Accounts Payable Responsibilities Related to T&E.

Section 9: Receipts.

Section 10: Who Pays When More than One Employee Is Involved.

Section 11: What’s Covered.

Section 12: What’s Not Covered.

Section 13: Cash Advances.

Section 14: Airline Service.

Section 15: Denied Boarding Compensation.

Section 16: Unused/Voided Ticket.

Section 17: Rental Cars 94

Section 18: Ground Transportation.

Section 19: Use of Personal Automobile.

Section 20: Preferred Hotels.

Section 21: Lodging Receipts.

Section 22: Meals and Incidentals: For Employee Only.

Section 23: Expenses for Meals for Others.

Section 24: Travel Expenses of Spouse/Personal Guest.

Section 25: Entertainment.

Section 26: Non-Travel Business Expense Reimbursement.

Section 27: Whom to Call with Questions.

Section 28: Other.

10 Solutions to Day-to-Day T&E Operational Problems.

Uneven Policy Enforcement.

Tough Tactics to Get T&E Reports Submitted On Time!

Less Harsh Methods of Getting the Laggards to Turn in Reports On Time.

The Rush Check Issue: Is It the Employee or the Supervisor?

Approvals: Dealing with the Foot-Dragging Manager.

Where Do I Sign?: Managers Who Approve Anything.

One-Size Policy for All: Dealing with Noncompliance Issues.

Fraud Or an Honest Mistake?

Unused Tickets.

The Reservation Game.

Rogue Travelers.

When an Employee Departs.

When an Employee Is Fired.

11 T&E Fraud: How to Prevent It.

Review of Occupational Fraud.

Is Expense Reimbursement Really a Problem for the Average Company?.

Scanning Fraud and Receipts.

Where Employees Learn How to Steal.

Dealing with Fraud: Two Extremes.

T&E Fraud Prevention Best Practices.

Detecting Expense Reimbursement Fraud.

What to Do When Expense Reimbursement Fraud.

Last-Ditch Collection Efforts.

Gift Card Problem.

Not-Pretty Gift Card Solution.

Alternative to Gift Cards.

12 Automation: Third-Party and Home-Grown Systems.

How T&E Expenses Are Reported.

Excel-Based Models.

Why Automate?

How Automated Systems Work: Overview.

Automated Systems: Design Requirements.

Receipts in an Automated Environment.

Reimbursement Payments in an Automated Environment.

Companies Offering T&E Automated Services.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act and Outsourced Operations.

SAS 70.

13 Pertinent Issues for International Travelers.


Foreign Exchange.

Foreign Exchange Tips.

International Travel Advisories.

Value-Added Tax.

Paperless T&E World.

Maximizing Your Returns.



Do-It-Yourself VAT Recovery.

14 Negotiating the Best Rate from Suppliers.

The Basics.

A Matter of Policy.

Where Do Your Travel Dollars Go?

All Travel on a Company Card.

Focus on Your Biggest Savings.

Don’t Overlook International Travel.

The Contract Is Not Set in Stone.

Don’t Promise All Your Business.

Overlooked T&E Savings Opportunity.

Other Savings Associated with Your T&E Card.

15 Best Practices for the Entire T&E Process.

Appendix A GSA Per Diems.

Appendix B VAT Rates for Selected Countries.