Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Isolation of Air Travel May be a Thing of the Past


Tired of feeling cut off from the rest of society while flying?  A recent article from MSNCB reassures travelers that this will hopefully be a problem of the past.  Currently only around 80 planes have access to streaming wireless in-flight entertainment (IFE).  The hope is that this number will reach 9,000 aircraft by 2021.  This change would allow passengers to not only enjoy the select wireless content offered by an aircraft, but also would allow passengers to use their own devices to access the Internet and view more content that is stored on their devices.

Currently, the Federal Aviation Association does not permit the use of personal electronic devices on planes during taxing, take-off or landing, due to the possibility that it may interfere with a jet’s avionics systems.  There is a possibility that this will change though as the agency is looking again at the use of personal electronics and how they might be tested for safety.

Some airlines already offer travelers the ability to rent out personal electronic devices that are pre-loaded with movies and/or TV shows and this is a trend that will most likely continue as airlines test this possibility.  The cost of these devices and/or using the Internet for personal devices is yet to be determined.


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Monday, April 23, 2012

ExpenseAnywhere Invited to Speak at GFOA 2012 Conference

If you or your company is attending the GFOA (Government Finance Officers Association) Conference this June, make sure to attend the panel discussion: "Automate and Innovate: IT for Accounts Payable."  Ashok Dhar, CEO of ExpenseAnywhere, has been invited to speak at the concurrent session on automation systems for accounts payable.  The panel will focus on the overall efficiency and benefits that automated accounts payable systems provide, which includes: internal controls, effective cash management and the ability for electronic payments.  The seminar will be held 2:00 pm to 3:40 pm on June 12, 2012 in McCormick Place West Level-1, Room W-186.

For more information:
http://online.myiwf.com/gfoa2012/Sessions.aspx?ID=T07&sp=



Friday, April 20, 2012

Business Concierge Services Making a Comeback


A recent article in the San Francisco Chronicle mentions that an aspect of business travel that has been on the downturn will be seeing an increase in 2012.  The part of business travel discussed is the use of Business Concierge Services.  This industry provides business travelers with the ease of having an outside party deal with the entire process of their travel.  This includes things from running errands, managing appointments and making travel reservations, to even arranging for pet sitting.

Although originally used by mostly celebrities and affluent professionals, the company began to cater their businesses toward private households and corporate employees.  That being said, the company saw slow growth as the economy worsened and people were left with less disposable income.  As the economy continues to improve in 2012, the industry is seeing increased revenue and a brighter future of these services.

For more info:

Monday, April 16, 2012

Looking to Get Away?


Exhausted of only traveling for work?  If you are looking for an inexpensive way to get to a relaxing beach, try the international flight now offered by AirTran Airways, a subsidiary of Southwest Airlines.  A recent article on MarketWatch states that the flight departs from Denver International Airport and will take travelers to Cancun International Airport.  Today is the first day of flights for this new route and they can be booked at www.airtran.com  or www.southwest.com.  

Southwest also recently announced that members of their frequent flyer program, Rapid Rewards, can earn bonus points by booking certain international flights on AirTran Airways, which includes the new service from Denver to Cancun.  Several other international routes for AirTran have also been announced by Southwest, including: San Antonio to Cancun and Mexico City, starting May 24; Austin to Cancun, starting May 25; Orange County to Los Cabos and Mexico City, starting June 3; and Chicago/Midway to Cancun, starting June 3.

Whether booking flights for business or pleasure, it is always a good idea to stay on top of the various new routes available to travelers.  This is only one of many things one can do to facilitate an easy, hassle-free trip.


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Friday, April 13, 2012

Staying Happy & Energized on the Road


Even with the improving economy somewhat easing the financial pain of business travel, people still have to work hard to balance travel with their personal lives and needs.  As mentioned in an article on JS Online, one important way to stay connected while away is to book a hotel that has free high-speed internet.  It makes any online business needs easily accomplished, while also allowing for a great way to keep in contact with the family while away.  In order to stay energized and feeling your best, the article suggests to not skip any meals, particularly breakfast.  It is generally easy to find hotels that offer a delicious breakfast spread that will help keep you ready for the day, such as Country Inns & Suites.
 
Making sure to bring workout clothes with you so as to fit in some exercise while traveling is another great suggestion.  This is great for people who hate to miss a workout or for anyone who wants to feel more energized and less stressed.  Enjoying yourself may seem like an obvious thing to do while traveling, but many times it is not the first thing on your mind when traveling for business.  This article suggests walking around the city you’re staying in or asking locals about the best places to go.  By doing this you can enjoy yourself a little and maybe even have more to discuss with clients!  Another way to ease one’s travel is to use an expense management system that takes away from the stress of saving and/or digging through receipts!



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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Using Mobile Apps to Keep Cash in Your Wallet


Travelers are always looking for ways to cut back on their expenses, and one way to do that is use technology as an advantage.  A recent article on the Daily Finance web site states that business travel is still a constant, even with the rising cost of travel expenses.  The article offers a look into five mobile apps that can be used to help manage and facilitate the ease of traveling without emptying one’s pockets completely. 

First on the list is Foursquare.com, a check-in app that also offers instant rebates to consumers who use an American Express card.  It can also help people find the popular spots to go in any given location, as these are posted by friends and viewable to the user.  HelloWallet.com charges $9/month and allows users to track their transactions and budget their expenses.  Another app named TurboScan can be used as a step of the expense management system as it allows users to scan documents and save as a PDF.

Cardmunch.com is a service of LinkedIn and offers the ability to scan business cards with a phone and update the information into any contact management system.  Kayak.com is a search engine that is useful for finding cheap travel information and also contains an iPhone app with a currency exchange calculator, airport information, contact numbers for major airlines and tour information.

While all of these apps may be helpful individually along the way, it is important to keep in mind the ease that comes with having an expense management system that all employees can access and use to manage their end-to-end travel spend and reimbursements, especially one that also offers Mobile App options in order to easily manage the travel spend and expense reporting process.


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Thursday, April 5, 2012

Keeping Track of Tax Deductible Travel Expenses


In a world where money is everything, it is crucial to know what business travel expenses are tax deductible, and what are not.  A recent article from USA TODAY gives an overview of why it is crucial to have credible documents handy when filing income tax returns.  Keeping documents as evidence of prudent travel and spending is also handy when one needs to be reimbursed, especially if one is audited.  There are various travel expenses that can be deducted, but the rules and stipulations may be confusing to some.  It is recommended to visit the IRS website www.irs.gov, which provides people explanations of the laws in laymen’s terms.

The article reminds business travelers to not spend frivolously on business trips and that even if the IRS does not require the report of receipts under $75; it is beneficial to keep all receipts.  If one does not have accurate records of their expenses in order to back up a claim, they may have to pay interest, the tax itself, and also a penalty.  This is where the benefit of utilizing an automated expense management system comes into play, receipts and other ways of tracking expenses are easily stored and retrievable.


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Monday, April 2, 2012

Is Extreme Saving Worth it for the Employee?


Some people spend lots of time and energy attempting to avoid the often expensive choices for business travel arrangements.  A recent article in the Wall Street Journal describes how frugal spenders will go to great lengths to be able to cut their expenses while traveling for business.  Some people even go so far as to carry around their own personal, foldable bicycle in order to cut back on cab fare.  The question overall is, does this behavior truly benefit the employee?  The company may be saving money, but the odd looks people receive may not be worth it.  Some employers worry what clients will think of their employees’ strange behavior, while others seem to accept it as simply the way that employee acts and spends their money at all times, business trip or not.  One of the benefits of having an automated expense management system is that the greater visibility allows companies to really hone in on where they are actually overspending on travel expenses.