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How to manage travel payments and expenditure in the Marine and Energy Sector?

How to manage travel payments and expenditure in the Marine and Energy Sector?

If you are used to your employees booking travel themselves or co-ordinating the movement of offshore crews and employees then you’ll know that the administrative burden and complexity of paying for travel can be a time-consuming process, especially if travellers are paying via different methods and claiming costs back via expenses.

There are many ways to simplify things, either yourself or, if you work with a specialist Travel Management Company (TMC), they should be suggesting ways to make life easier. Traditionally businesses might have a company credit card, or an account with a specialist TMC to facilitate payments but sitting behind this can be a combination of payment solutions and what happens for emergency expenses or where you have employees or contractors with no company payment method themselves. Here we talk through some ideas and solutions to make this all more organised, secure and simpler.

With the advent of the latest round of PSD2 and tighter Third-Party Authentication (TPA), then relying on a plastic company credit card will become more and more problematic. To make this easier, travel management companies offer their customers a range of payment solutions so they can spend less time reconciling and more time doing something more productive. These include:

  • Credit Accounts
  • Virtual Payment/Credit solutions
  • Lodged payment accounts
  • Expense solutions linked to a card/payment scheme or a combination of the above

The impact of stronger TPA from March will result in named plastic cards having more barriers to process the sale to control fraudulent activity, so if you are paying for your travel in this way, be prepared for some impact and changes to come. If you’re not sure which payment option is best suited to your organisation, your TMC should be able to advise you on the best solution, whether it’s a single option or a combination of all of the above. Once you’ve decided on your preferred method of payment, make sure you detail this in your business travel and expense policy, so employees are aware of the process and how to ensure their travel costs remain within guidelines.

For those working in the marine and offshore sector, the use of contracted employees is high therefore pre-payment and virtual card payments are vital as the traveller in many instances won’t have the means to pay themselves.

Credit Account

Credit accounts have been a staple of most travel management companies for many years. With a credit account, you can purchase all travel services without having to worry about individual credit cards and expense claims because all travel purchases will be automatically charged to your account and paid for by direct debit.

✓ A number of days interest-free credit (this will vary by TMC)

✓ A consolidated invoice to help you keep track of your spending

✓ Detailed data for each transaction to ensure smooth processing through your financial systems

Credit Card/Virtual Credit Cards

As well as credit accounts and lodged accounts, most travel management companies will also accept standard credit cards although these are now proving more difficult. The use of Virtual card programmes embedded into TMC online technology, either from the client or the TMC is now becoming prevalent and is much safer as it removes the risks of mis-use and fraud. Your travellers may have their own company credit cards expenses and they can be used to pay for travel services and expenses and then linked to your company’s expense solution for ease of reconciliation.

Lodged payment account

A lodged account is like a credit card but is lodged with a specific travel provider and used to charge for travel expenses generated via that supplier only. It cannot be used at other merchants. These often offer extended or improved terms, online statements and the ability to integrate into expense platforms. All travel transactions will be charged to your lodged account and paid by BACS or direct debit.

✓ Up to 56 days’ interest-free credit which gives you more time to reconcile expense information

✓ Online statement account information with booking and payment information already reconciled

✓ All information needed to process the expense is attached to each charge, such as cost centre, reason for travel, project number, etc.

✓ The statement is easy to download and import into your expense systems, making data capture quicker and easy.

Examples of a Lodged Account provider include Airplus, American Express and Barclays for Business.

Remember if using any kind of business card solution is that merchant fees may apply to your credit card or lodged card payments.

Without a doubt having a robust 24/7/365 operation alongside an efficient and robust payment solution is essential to help you manage the complexity of marine and offshore travel around the globe effectively.

For more information on how Good Travel Management can assist your business, download our FREE Marine and Energy Travel Toolkit or to discuss payment solutions then contact us:

T: 0330 004 0520

E: sales@good-travel.co.uk

Marine and Energy Travel

About Georgia Campbell

Georgia is our Marketing Assistant and loves nothing more than creating and sharing useful business travel content to help our customers. Feel free to contact Georgia if there is anything you’d like to see covered within our business travel blog, she’d love to hear from you!
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