How to Choose the Right Travel Expense Management Solution for Your Business

How to Choose the Right Travel Expense Management Solution for Your  Business

One of the many perks of becoming a VAT-registered company is the ability to claim back business travel expenses. However, for a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), managing travel expenses can feel like walking a tightrope. While saving money is a key priority, there are many important stakeholders that you need to balance, especially HR and employees themselves.

In this article, Ben Knock, Managing Director and Vice President, VAT Compliance, at Ryan, explores the four steps you should follow when considering travel expense management software for your business and how to ensure you are reclaiming all the VAT you are entitled to.

1. Understand the Most Important Factors

There’s rarely a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to choosing an expense management solution. To ensure you choose the best travel and expense management software technology for your business, there are multiple factors you should first consider. This includes:

  • Expense policy
  • Allowed cost types
  • Automated and risk-aware audits
  • Expense value limits by geography and seniority
  • Integrations (ERP, cards, and travel management)
  • Duty of care for employees
  • Visibility on purchases
  • Ease of use for employees and managers

2. Look at Your Current Process and Identify What Is Missing

In today’s market, there are a growing number of travel expense management options to choose from. However, if you are still relying on Microsoft Excel or any other manual processes, your top priority should be finding a way to capture your company’s spend in a clear and consistent manner. For many, this will naturally lead them to travel expense management software.

As a CFO, you should carefully consider the features of these products and the specific requirements they meet—for example, the policy, the cost type limits, and authorisation processes. You should remember that while it may require a small investment to set up, these types of solutions can drive many direct savings in terms of bottom-line spend and processing time for employees. Additional benefits can include enhanced reporting and compliance with benefits regulations.

3. Don’t Get Caught Out by Local Tax Rules

Once your company is set up on an expense management system, it is important to make sure you are calculating and paying the correct amount of VAT.

There are several risk areas to watch out for, from rules around mileage rates for company and private vehicles, benefits in kind, per diems, and income VAT consideration. For each of these, there is a risk to the employee’s tax values, which becomes a fiscal liability and a responsibility for the business.

We are seeing a growing concern among CFOs regarding the accuracy of expense claims. While software is making the process quicker, businesses ultimately still rely on the accuracy of data being inputted by its employees and its compliance with international tax regulations.

Thankfully, many of the leading expense management systems have built-in controls and procedures that are designed to minimise this risk as much as possible.

4. Complete an Accurate VAT Reclaim

Once you’ve logged your business travel expenses, there are several ways to reclaim the VAT from your tax authority. This includes:

  • Tasking the finance team to manually check each individual receipt
  • Reclaiming a portion of the VAT available through automated routines
  • Reclaiming no VAT because of the risk involved in something being incorrect

To ensure your business is maximising its VAT reclaim while streamlining costs and maintaining compliance, we recommend partnering with a provider that can provide both expert tax advice and cutting-edge technology solutions.

How Ryan Can Help

As a global leader in indirect tax services, Ryan has recently integrated with SAP Concur Expense, one of the world’s most widely used expense solutions. This partnership means we can optimise VAT reclaims for businesses through an API with Concur that allows us to seamlessly integrate and pull the data and documentary evidence required.

The data is processed into Ryan’s compliance platform,, where we intelligently review the line-item travel expense spend and the underlying VAT invoices. To ensure we are maximising all opportunities, we also approach vendors to further increase compliance.

Ryan’s additional business tax solutions include Federal Income Tax, Australia, Canada, and U.S. GST/Sales Tax compliance, and reclaim.

The Ryan app can be viewed here.