Expenses for Overseas Client Trips: Are your Employees Making Excessive Claims?

By Linda RoperMarch 1, 2022

As a business leader, you are constantly looking for ways to expand into new markets and grow your company to enable it to reach its full potential. One of the avenues that many managers explore at a certain stage is diversifying into foreign sectors and working with clients from across Europe, America and further afield.

This move will inevitably require your staff to meet with overseas teams, in order to build a successful business relationship. And while international travel can prove to be exciting for staff who are entrusted with overseas client relations, it also raises the questions of how companies handle expenses for overseas client trips.

Two business women at the airportImage: ©undrey via canva.com

Many larger employers, which have explored international trading previously, may have a stringent corporate travel expense management policy in place which takes into consideration additional overseas client costs. However, smaller SMEs may be entering this overseas market for the first time, and the concept of managing overseas expense claims could be alien to them.

False Claims Could Harm the Company

Sadly, as overseas travel becomes more frequent, your employee could start manipulating their expense claims to their advantage, if your company doesn’t have strict policies in place or the ability to submit accurate digital receipts.

And while this may not seem like a concern at first, these sums will inevitably add up over time and could ultimately prove to be harmful to the company financially.

Here we explore how you can spot if your employee is claiming excessive expenses on overseas client trips

Large Hotel Bills

It is common practice that on an overseas client trip the employer will cover the cost of a hotel room, to provide their staff with the necessary accommodation to take part in the foreign visit.

However, costs can start to add up when managers take into consideration food and travel expenses, and even snacks from the mini bar. Companies should clearly outline in their expenses policy which costs will be included in overseas client trips to avoid potential exaggeration. As a company, you may decide that food can be included up to a daily limit, however, any additional costs for evening activities, such as visiting a bar, should be excluded.

Unusual Claims

Many managers will appreciate that an employee may be visiting a country for the first time and may want to soak in the foreign culture. However, when it comes to claiming expenses, managers should make sure employees aren’t making personal claims when it comes to undertaking activities such as sightseeing.

While food, travel and accommodation costs are all relatively normal in respect of overseas visits, claiming for a visit to the spa could be viewed as excessive.

Likewise, employers will recognise that their employee may want to buy the new client drinks to celebrate their blossoming business relationship. However, if this bill strays into hundreds of pounds this could be a sign that the expenses claim may have been inflated.