Business Advice

The cost of wining and dining: how your business can save on entertainment expenses

- September 16, 2016 2 MIN READ

Many businesses incur significant costs from client entertainment and meal allowances for employees on business trips. While these are often necessary parts of business, the expenses can be poorly-monitored, leading to overspend and the potential for misuse.

According to Concur, business dining accounts for a considerable portion of the average business travel and expense budget.

Matt Goss, the Australia and New Zealand managing director of Concur said, “Many of the expenses incurred by employees, and the perks provided for employees, involve food. Taking team members, clients, or customers out for a meal can be an opportunity to start or nurture great working relationships. It’s important your business has clear policies in place for meal expenses, including how they are claimed. This is essential for budget planning, managing costs, and ensuring compliance with taxation law, such as fringe benefits tax, as well as preventing misuse of the company entertainment budget by employees.”

Employees need to be able to submit their expenses and receive approved payments quickly. This helps ensure they are not out of pocket for work-related events, and means the business can track spending across the month more accurately. However, 65 percent of employees report that they still claim expenses by submitting paper receipts to managers.

Goss said, “Businesses should look to online expense management tools and their supporting apps to improve the expense management process. Replying on paper receipts costs businesses time and money due to the time it takes to process them, and the potential for errors, duplicate claims, and lost receipts. Concur research showed Australian small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) could save up to $44,000 per year by reducing the amount of duplicate claims.”

Automated expense reporting reduces the need for daily meal allowances for travelling employees, as they can lodge their claim on the spot and fast track approval. This ensures that all claims are within policy and lodged correctly. It also reduces the burden on finance team as expenses are not lodged all at once, at the end of the month.

By providing the right technology and tools for employees, coupled with a clear expense policy, businesses can achieve greater transparency across their expenses to reveal the areas where costs can be scaled back, including business dining.

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