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Old 04-27-2013, 04:31 PM   #41
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....But OMG. I'm being asked to insure my department of 60 folks who travel frequently are in compliance with a policy like this. On the surface it seems impossible.....
Anywhere that I worked the employee who was doing the travel and submitting an expense report was responsible for complying with company policy.
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Old 04-27-2013, 04:37 PM   #42
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.... You would be surprised how many people treat company travel like it was free money. ....
In one of my jobs I was responsible for approving all expense reports of our 50 person business unit. One employee approached me and claimed that he was in a rush to the airport and forgot to release the emergency brake on his car and ended up ruining his brakes and wondered if he could include the cost of new brakes for his car on his expense report!

I told him I didn't think so but I would research it and get back to him. I wanted to tell him that stoopidity was not an ordinary and necessary business expense but I held my tongue.
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Old 04-27-2013, 06:31 PM   #43
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I wanted to tell him that stoopidity was not an ordinary and necessary business expense but I held my tongue.

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Old 04-27-2013, 09:01 PM   #44
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My last employer just applied GSA per diem rates to all travel, whether for government contracts or not. Really simplified the paperwork for both accounting and the employees, plus it gave the employees a bit of a reward for giving up their late nights and Sunday evenings to travel for the boss. My current MegaCorp slavedriver employer has a huge policy manual, and god forbid anyone could ever get per diem. Strictly expenses only, with tons o' rules as listed above.

My current travel plans had to be made before the job number was available (not sure why that takes two weeks). Ten of us are traveling and airline seats were disappearing fast. But since Policy dictates one must use only the company-approved travel agent via the corporate intranet, we couldn't get reservations because you can't book a flight without a job number. We were directed by the project manager to use non-approved booking sites and charge the tickets to our company credit cards (which the official site does anyway - don't ask why it has to have a job number since it doesn't charge anything directly to the company).

Sooo... as luck would have it, the tickets were bought just days before the closing date of the AMEX card. I had to file an expense report before travel occurred or risk not having the bill paid on time. Manager approved it, but I'm waiting to see if accounting pays it. And if payment is late by the company, guess who picks up the late fee?

Then there was the time, about 30 years ago, when I worked for a very large engineering firm in the nuclear energy business. I was on a long-term assignment and they would periodically fly me home for the weekend. Park at the airport on Friday after work, fly home, and arrive back at the temporary location on Sunday night. That's three days of parking, at the full daily rate of $3 in 1984. Some bean counter pointed out that the Red Book only allowed parking for the two weekend days. No problem. We opened our copy of the Red Book at the job site and figured out that taxi service was permitted. Now, the construction site was 50 miles from the airport, and maybe $50 or so each way. No problem! Not even questioned since it was In Policy.

I've worked for very big and very small companies. Each has their advantages/disadvantages. Travel policy is definitely a disadvantage at MegaCorps. I miss the days when you could just stop the boss (or even the CEO) in the hallway and just run something by them. "Hey, can I book my tickets on Orbitz, it will save money?" "Sure, if it's cheaper go for it."

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Old 04-28-2013, 02:40 AM   #45
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They accountants stopped everyone under VP level from travelling back in 2001. Now we are getting dinged for having long conference calls. At least email is still free.
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Old 04-30-2013, 03:50 PM   #46
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Not really a travel policy, but the office manager dictator who over saw travel reimbursements refused to pay for a direct flight from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., on an all business trip. It would have cost each of us over $100 had we taken it. Instead, we ended up flying to Detroit or some other place and then to Washington D.C. To top things off, she took a personal side trip that cost an additional $68 and got reimbursed for it.
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Old 04-30-2013, 05:00 PM   #47
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I guess I don't understand your complaint. Why would one fly from Philly to DC? Isn't it ~2 hours by train?
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Old 04-30-2013, 08:39 PM   #48
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I am curious as to why you would spend differently then you would if it was your own money? I understand you are not the only one who thinks like this, but I never understood why.
I now spend much more freely on business travel than in the past which is generally much more than I would spend on my own dime.
  • If it was personal travel but too expensive for me, I just would not go, alter dates, etc. This is not possible with my business travel.
  • [Almost] No one would hand over $1MM/year or more for my company's services if they witnessed how I lived at home most of the time:
    • 10 year old clothes
    • 15 year old truck
    • Subway and salad bars for daytime dining out
  • I am placing a higher and higher value on my time as the years go by; at some point soon, that value will almost certainly exceed what anyone else is willing to pay me for said time. For the immediate future, I will continue to fly more expensive flights on occasion to avoid losing entire weekend/vacation days to company travel.


Even having said all of the above, I am sure that I still spend less than the average traveler in my company: I do take public transit in cities where it is convenient and familiar if I am not entertaining customers; I will also amend my travel plans when costs get completely out of control...unless my CEO specifically tells me to ignore costs and book the flight. I have never booked the best restaurant in a city to entertain customers either; but, I have willingly attended a few such gatherings.
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Old 04-30-2013, 09:40 PM   #49
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Old 04-30-2013, 11:56 PM   #50
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Early in my career I did some traveling for several jobs. I was pretty frugal then and I kept up those frugal ways when traveling. No one at the company cared about how much money I was saving them and the only guy who ever noticed used it as an excuse to send me on trips no one (including me) wanted, because he knew I was such a cheap traveler.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:26 AM   #51
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My normal frugal habits also extended to my business travel. Unless I was schlepping a suitcase I would frequently take public transportation, would take the bus from/to the airport rather than a taxi, infrequently used car service, etc.

Later in my career I concluded that nobody (clients included) gave a care and I loosened up some and spent more where it made travel more convenient for me (spending more on a flight to get home at a reasonable hur rather than taking a cheaper flight that got home at midnight, etc).
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Old 05-01-2013, 03:00 PM   #52
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I guess I don't understand your complaint. Why would one fly from Philly to DC? Isn't it ~2 hours by train?
Yup, the ticket agent said it would be quicker to drive as she laughed at us while checking us in. Our travel nazi wouldn't allow it or the train unless we paid for it ourselves. This was all because the ticket was cheaper to fly to Detroit (or where ever), and back to Washington D.C. than to do anything direct. At the time, a broken leg trip cost more too, so that nixed the train or driving.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:31 PM   #53
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I used to do some traveling for a Megacorp years ago before their travel policies got really draconian.

They instituted a policy that everybody doing company travel had to have a company credit card. No more using a personal card for expenses, and no exceptions.

I asked them if the company card was on their credit report and if the bills went directly to them. They said no. The company was just a guarantor of some kind that you'd get the card, but the card went against your own personal credit report, and the bills went to you.

So I told them no. I refused to have a company credit card on my own credit report and still pay the bills. They said unless I agreed to a company card, I couldn't do any more travel and get reimbursed. So I told them fine...no more company travel for me. They didn't know what to say.

And I didn't. I didn't make any more company trips before I quit a few months later.

I firmly believe that if I'm putting my personal life on hold to go on a business trip, some of it is going to be on MY terms, or they can find somebody else.

I will not use a company card that goes against my credit report and I still get the bills. I will use my own card and at least get miles for it.
I will not share hotel rooms with somebody.
I will have a decent dinner every day.
I will have reasonable (not cheap) rental cars and transportation.

If the company is imposing on my personal life to have me go out of town on a trip to benefit their business, they damn well better show some respect and flexibility, or else I don't go.
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Old 05-01-2013, 07:52 PM   #54
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The firm I worked for did the same thing (Amex in our case). I think it is fairly common.

The gold card was issued (no fee) in my name with the firm logo, I was personally responsible for the bill but the firm did guarantee it IIRC. It was really no big deal. Not sure if it hit my credit report or not but since I was reimbursed and paid the bill in full every month, if anything it helped my credit rather than detracted from it. Plus I got Amex Membership Reward points for my spending plus airline miles.

WADR, if someone in our employ had the attitude displayed in your post I would be glad they moved on and wish them well.


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I used to do some traveling for a Megacorp years ago before their travel policies got really draconian.

They instituted a policy that everybody doing company travel had to have a company credit card. No more using a personal card for expenses, and no exceptions.

I asked them if the company card was on their credit report and if the bills went directly to them. They said no. The company was just a guarantor of some kind that you'd get the card, but the card went against your own personal credit report, and the bills went to you.

So I told them no. I refused to have a company credit card on my own credit report and still pay the bills. They said unless I agreed to a company card, I couldn't do any more travel and get reimbursed. So I told them fine...no more company travel for me. They didn't know what to say.

And I didn't. I didn't make any more company trips before I quit a few months later.

I firmly believe that if I'm putting my personal life on hold to go on a business trip, some of it is going to be on MY terms, or they can find somebody else.

I will not use a company card that goes against my credit report and I still get the bills. I will use my own card and at least get miles for it.
I will not share hotel rooms with somebody.
I will have a decent dinner every day.
I will have reasonable (not cheap) rental cars and transportation.

If the company is imposing on my personal life to have me go out of town on a trip to benefit their business, they damn well better show some respect and flexibility, or else I don't go.
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Old 05-01-2013, 08:06 PM   #55
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If the company is imposing on my personal life to have me go out of town on a trip to benefit their business, they damn well better show some respect and flexibility, or else I don't go.
I didn't travel a whole lot, but when I did, I always had the same philosophy. Luckily, my bosses did too. I wonder if it was because I was a female traveling alone?
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Old 05-01-2013, 10:42 PM   #56
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WADR, if someone in our employ had the attitude displayed in your post I would be glad they moved on and wish them well.
Well, I view business travel as an imposition, therefore the company needs to show some respect and give-and-take. Too often companies take, take, and take some more in the form of ridiculous rules, and give too little in the form of flexibility. They forget that the employee is giving up their personal life, time with family, etc, to travel on behalf of (and for the benefit of) their company.

The vast majority of people I've worked with don't enjoy business travel, and they sure don't elect to do it because they find it fun (at least, I never did). Especially in today's world of airline delays, cramped cattle-car airplanes, etc.

For an employer to impose all kinds of restrictions, when I'm the one putting myself out to travel for them, never sat well with me.

In my current job, I haven't had to travel in the 2.5 years I've been there, and I don't expect to over the next 18 months. Which is fine by me.
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Old 05-02-2013, 05:34 AM   #57
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The only real "luxury" I would try when I traveled (particularly when my job required travel 50% of the time) was to use the same airlines/hotel chains to build up rewards programs points. Megacorp allowed you to keep those points for personal use. This wasn't always possible since Megacorp was constantly working financial deals and there wasn't consistency in the airlines or hotels that were approved for various destinations.

I did have one streak where I traveled from the east coast of the USA to Asia close to a dozen times in an 18 month period and did it all on the same airline. I built up a nice stash of frequent flyer miles and "premium" travel benefits that has very nice to have for several years.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:35 AM   #58
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The only real "luxury" I would try when I traveled (particularly when my job required travel 50% of the time) was to use the same airlines/hotel chains to build up rewards programs points. Megacorp allowed you to keep those points for personal use. This wasn't always possible since Megacorp was constantly working financial deals and there wasn't consistency in the airlines or hotels that were approved for various destinations.

I did have one streak where I traveled from the east coast of the USA to Asia close to a dozen times in an 18 month period and did it all on the same airline. I built up a nice stash of frequent flyer miles and "premium" travel benefits that has very nice to have for several years.
And that is exactly the kind of flexibility companies need to show people who travel for them.

One of the reasons my Megacorp gave for requiring company cards was so employees didn't earn miles on their own cards. The company wanted any and all discounts and financial incentives from the card companies, they didn't want the employee to get anything.

That didn't sit well with me at all. If you're going to ask (force?) people to travel, at least let them get the perks of points, miles, frequent flyer programs, etc. To deny that is petty and disrespectful, and one reason I told Megacorp I wouldn't do any more travel for them.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:45 AM   #59
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Well, I view business travel as an imposition, therefore the company needs to show some respect and give-and-take. Too often companies take, take, and take some more in the form of ridiculous rules, and give too little in the form of flexibility. They forget that the employee is giving up their personal life, time with family, etc, to travel on behalf of (and for the benefit of) their company.

The vast majority of people I've worked with don't enjoy business travel, and they sure don't elect to do it because they find it fun (at least, I never did). Especially in today's world of airline delays, cramped cattle-car airplanes, etc.

For an employer to impose all kinds of restrictions, when I'm the one putting myself out to travel for them, never sat well with me.

In my current job, I haven't had to travel in the 2.5 years I've been there, and I don't expect to over the next 18 months. Which is fine by me.
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Old 05-02-2013, 09:56 AM   #60
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Well, I view business travel as an imposition, therefore the company needs to show some respect and give-and-take. Too often companies take, take, and take some more in the form of ridiculous rules, and give too little in the form of flexibility. They forget that the employee is giving up their personal life, time with family, etc, to travel on behalf of (and for the benefit of) their company.

The vast majority of people I've worked with don't enjoy business travel, and they sure don't elect to do it because they find it fun (at least, I never did). Especially in today's world of airline delays, cramped cattle-car airplanes, etc.

For an employer to impose all kinds of restrictions, when I'm the one putting myself out to travel for them, never sat well with me.

In my current job, I haven't had to travel in the 2.5 years I've been there, and I don't expect to over the next 18 months. Which is fine by me.
I agree as well. Typically when I travel I avg about 4-5 hours of sleep (working the rest of the time), plus then I have to slog through airports on each end which is a whole day even both coming and going. If a bean counter has a problem with me buying myself a nice steak on the company dime at the end of it after being away from my family for a week, working insane hours and eating ramen noodles the rest of the time, s/he can go screw themselves.
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