Apr 13, 2010

Bank offers business travel survival strategies to encourage travel policy compliance, control the second largest controllable expense

As business travelers take to the skies, BMO Spend & Payment Solutions, a division of BMO Financial Group (NYSE, TSX: BMO), offers corporate travel managers three strategies to effectively control travel & entertainment (T&E) costs, typically the second largest controllable corporate expense following wages and salaries:

1) Add a corporate card rewards program to give employees incentive for adoption

Encourage employees to use your company's corporate card by adding a program that allows them to redeem awards for personal use. The best rewards programs allow employees to redeem for travel rewards and a wide range of merchandise and services whenever they choose - with no risk of expiration.

In turn, consolidated financial information and enhanced travel data gives your company better negotiating leverage with new vendors, savings analysis of potential travel policy changes, and a longer hold on cash with extended payment due dates.

2) Use data at the individual transaction level to measure compliance, refine policy and watch incremental savings add up

More granular transaction information helps you better understand who is spending how much on what and where. This gives you the ability to monitor out-of-compliance purchases and take corrective actions, quantify policy effectiveness and tally spend by category, effectively negotiate with vendors, and pinpoint opportunities to generate savings through policy changes

3) Communicating policy: Make it user-friendly, accessible & actionable

The best corporate travel programs utilize the real-time functionality of available on-line booking tools, travel dashboards and expense reporting systems to quickly communicate policies and out-of-compliance transactions.

What you see you can control

Terry Wellesley, Executive Managing Director Corporate Payment Sales North America, BMO Spend & Payment Solutions, commented, "The concept is simple: What you can see, you can control. But the T&E category - where policies have been notoriously difficult to enforce - demands more creativity and innovation to encourage spend policy compliance. Compliance generates better spend visibility which makes it far easier to negotiate better rates, improve road-friendly policies and remove significant costs from the bottom line."

In 2009, BMO Financial Group solidified its position as one of the leading issuers of T&E solutions with the acquisition of the North American franchise of Diners Club International and forming key strategic partnerships with Cybershift and TravelMaster.





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