Travel expense management

T&E: Your Complete Guide to Policies, Reimbursements, and Management

April 2, 2024
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Business trips are an exciting part of the professional world. They offer opportunities to connect with clients, explore new markets, and learn from industry experts. 

But let’s be honest, the whole act of filing an “expense report” can leave a bad taste in your mouth after an exciting journey. 

Fear not, this guide will equip you with the knowledge you need to navigate your T&E expenses like a pro!

What Does T&E Mean?

What is T&E? A definition from Fyle

T&E stands for ‘travel and expenses’ and is sometimes also referred to as ‘travel and entertainment.’ It includes all the work-related expenses you incur while traveling for business. Think of it as a budget for everything that fuels your professional adventures. This includes flights, hotels, meals, local transportation, and conference fees. 

What comes under T&E Expenses?

Source: The New York Times

While first-class flights might be reserved for bigwigs (for now), most companies reimburse reasonable expenses that keep you focused on work and not your wallet. Here’s a breakdown of the usual suspects:


Flights, trains, taxis, ride-sharing apps, and even rental cards to make a great impression during that important presentation. The IRS considers the cost of standard mileage, tolls, and parking fees as deductible business travel expenses. 


Hotels, Airbnbs, or any accommodation that you find suitable to keep you well-rested. The IRS allows deductions for reasonable lodging expenses, but remember these are typically limited to the federal per diem rates for the area you're visiting.


Business lunches to discuss strategy, dinner with clients, or even a grab-and-go breakfast at the airport. However, it’s important to note that currently, only 50% of business-related meal expenses are deductible by businesses under IRS Publication 463.


Conference feeds, registration costs, and sometimes business-related phone charges (double-check your company’s policy just to be sure!)

What to Include in a T&E Policy?

A clear T&E policy is like a compass, guiding both employees and employers through the world of business travel expenses. Here’s what it should cover:

Define What Expenses Are Reimbursable

Source: The New Yorker
  • Travel: Specifies types of transportation (flights, trains), any class limitations (economy vs. business), and mileage reimbursement rates. 
  • Lodging: Defines allowable lodging types and sets limits based on location or room types. 
  • Meals: States what meals are reimbursable and any limitations on amount or frequency.
  • Miscellaneous: Lists other reimbursable expenses.

 Approval Process

  • Pre-approval: Specifies situations where pre-approval is mandatory (e.g. when exceeding spending limits).
  • Approval chain: Outlines who approves expense reports based on the amount or type of expenses.

Expense Reporting

  • Deadline: Set clear deadlines for submitting expense reports after a trip. 
  • Receipt requirements: Clearly state the types of receipts required (originals, digital scans) and what information they must contain.
  • Record-keeping: Outlines employee responsibilities for maintaining travel records (itineraries, boarding passes).

Also Read:

Reimbursement Process

  • Timeframe: Specifies the timeframe for employees to expect reimbursement.
  • Non-compliance: Outlines the consequences of non-compliant reports.

Also Read:

What are the benefits of a well-defined T&E policy?

  • Everyone's on the same page: No confusion about what's covered.
  • Reduced frustration: Clear guidelines mean less hassle.
  • Tax compliance: Keeps your company on the right side of the IRS.

T&E: A Balancing Act For Businesses

T&E expenses are a powerful tool for business growth, but managing them effectively is crucial. Here’s why:

Cost Control vs. Growth

  • T&E is a big-budget item. Inefficient management can lead to wasted money. To control costs, a clear T&E policy with spending limits is required.
  • Business trips can also lead to new clients, industry knowledge, and employee development, all driving growth. 

Happy Employees, Happy Business

  • Manual expense reports waste time and cause frustration. 
  • A user-friendly T&E software improves employee morale by implementing clear T&E policies and reducing confusion for faster reimbursements. 

Staying Compliant, Staying Safe

  • Fraudulent expense claims can hurt your bottom line.
  • A secure T&E software can protect sensitive data while implementing strong T&E policies and approval processes to minimize risk.

By striking a balance between cost control, employee satisfaction, and compliance, businesses can leverage T&E to achieve strategic goals and fuel growth.

Common Challenges of Managing T&E

Let’s be real; managing T&E expenses can feel like an episode of your least favorite paper-work-filled reality show. Here are some common struggles that can turn your business trip into a bit of a nightmare:

  • Vanishing receipts: Those tiny bits of paper seem to have a life of their own, disappearing when you need them the most.
  • Manual data entry: Spending hours categorizing expenses can feel like an eternity. 
  • Policy confusion: Unclear guidelines can leave people wondering what exactly you can and can’t claim, leading to frustration and even potential misuse of funds.
  • Slow reimbursements: Waiting weeks (or even months) for reimbursements can seriously dampen your employees' travel enthusiasm. 

Also Read:

Managing Your T&E Expenses with Fyle

Cutting costs is a priority for any business owner, but business travel expenses always seem like a drop in the bucket. Here’s why you should reconsider:

Blind Spots In Your Budget

Most companies still rely on manual expense reporting, leaving room for errors and missed spending. Fyle can offer complete visibility into your T&E spending, ensuring you capture every expense. 

Hidden Cost-Saving Opportunities

Transparency is key. With Fyle’s data, you can identify areas for significant savings, like repeat vendors with high prices or out-of-policy employee spending (which is almost 20% of all T&E expenses!). Use this leverage to negotiate better rates and eliminate wasteful spending. 

Faster Reimbursements, Happier Employees

Even infrequent business travelers must be reimbursed promptly. Fyle streamlines the process, ensuring employees get their money back quickly.

Focus on Growth, Not Paperwork

Imagine a world where business travel isn’t bogged down by paperwork and receipt collection. A world where you can focus on building relationships, exploring new markets, and achieving strategic goals. This is the power of efficient T&E management with Fyle. 

How does Fyle achieve this? Through direct integrations with Visa, Mastercard, and American Express

Employees receive real-time transaction notifications via text message, each time they swipe their business credit card. They can then simply reply with a picture of the receipt for instant reconciliation and expense categorization. 

Fyle streamlines the entire T&E process, freeing you and your team to focus on what truly matters. Sign up for a demo today!

Effortless expense management for all business spends. Earned time, saved costs, improved productivity, happy employees - achieve it all with a single software.

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