employer drafting expenses policy

How to create (and enforce) a no-nonsense expenses policy

Expenses are the bugbear of both businesses and employees. They have the potential to cause conflict and financial damage if not communicated in the right way and can be tricky to manage especially when you add temporary staff, freelancers and consultants into the mix. So how do you avoid an expenses horror story? Here are some golden rules to follow.

Get it down in black and white

Clare Lassiter, HR consultant for Pure Human Resources, believes failing to set the boundaries results in the most time being wasted for businesses. “The most important thing is to give clarity about what people can claim,” she said. Invest in the time to write up a clear and concise expenses policy, and make sure employees know where to find it. Don’t make it so strict that it prevents people from doing their jobs – make it work for your business. Write it in plain English and don’t give the reader any assumed knowledge. A transparent process from the outset will save headaches in the long run.

Give timescales

We all know the person who rocks up every few months with a raft of receipts but hoarding expenses makes it more difficult for both employees and employers to manage finances. Giving monthly deadlines ensures nobody is left short changed.

Take the stress away

Enlisting dedicated services to help arrange business travel will take the hassle from staff members and ensure you get preferential deals. It might even make sense to have an administrator tasked solely with sorting logistics. “It’s a lot cheaper to have a coordinator book travel than the MD take time doing it,” said Clare.

And rather than asking employees to fork out their own cash when they’re out on the road, consider giving them a FairFX Corporate Prepaid Mastercard®, that can be loaded and used as and when needed.

Plan in advance

Leaving travel to the last minute can be costly, especially when it comes to currency. A rushed employee picking up currency at the airport will leave the company short changed as airports offer the worst exchange rates in the country. Likewise, knowing what countries employees will be travelling to in the financial year allows you to plan ahead and purchase currency when rates are in your favour.

Be practical and flexible when needed

There is a danger that badly handled expenses can lead to employees feeling undervalued and resentful. Make sure you manage issues in a realistic way. In a fast running business, there will inevitably be times where payments have to be made that flout the limits you set employees. But expenses needn’t be a free-for-all either. Clare added: “You want to keep things in as positive a light as possible. It’s about being pragmatic with what comes through.”

Expenses Policies: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Travel and expenses policies are creatures unique to their environment and even the most functional expense policy is prone to the odd hiccup or HR nightmare. We’ve taken a look at some of the good, the bad and the ugly expenses policies out there.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly


Mariette Ferreira

Mariette Ferreira

Mariette heads up marketing at FairFX. She loves travelling, scuba diving and South Africa, but she's yet to combine all three in one.

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