Going beyond your business travel budget can be a real pain—especially when you know that it’s going to blow-back and cause some problems. And unfortunately, a lot of people aren’t sure how to handle this type of situation. But it does happen. And unfortunately, it happens a lot more than most people realize. Sometimes it happens by accident, and sometimes it’s actually unavoidable—such as when it was caused by insufficient planning, or some other kind of ‘lack of foresight.’ So let’s dive into it and talk about it. Here’s what you should do if you go beyond your business travel budget.
Table of Contents
1. Take Stock Of The Situation
First of all, it’s important to assess the situation. How far over budget did you go? What expenditure caused it? Was this item in the budget? If not, why wasn’t it? It’s important to try to understand why this happened. If you’re the travel manager, than it’s especially important for you to back-engineer the situation to figure out exactly where it went wrong, and where the project currently is in terms of budget and finances. If you’re not the travel manager—well, you’ll want to get in touch with them as soon as possible.
2. Call Your Travel Manager
If you’re out in the field and realize that you’re going over-budget on your business travel expenses, then it’s always a good idea to get in touch with your travel manager as soon as possible. You’ll want to work closely with them to figure out if there’s something more you’ll need to do to help close the ‘budget gap’ to get things back above the red. Sometimes, these types of situations are unavoidable. Sometimes, they’re caused by inflation, rising prices, unforeseen expenses, or even unforeseen problems. But sometimes, they’re caused by a lack of foresight. And it’s important to get your travel-manager on the line to figure out how to proceed now that you’ve gone over the budget.
3. Take Steps To Rectify The Situation
Whenever your company sets a business travel budget, it’s important that they do their due diligence to look at all of the potential variables. However—in real life, things do go wrong. And sometimes, there’s just no avoiding it (especially in these wild economic times). So in these types of situations, it’ll be important for the travel manager to take steps to fix the problem and get the project back on track. This may mean cancelling certain aspects of the trip or project, or getting additional funds to help sustain the rest of the work. In any case—you need funds to function when it comes to business. And most businesses will find that it’s worth the investment to go ahead and fund the trip to completion, rather than cancelling it and/or switching gears too rapidly.
4. Make A Plan To Avoid Making The Same Mistake In The Future
If you’re the travel manager in charge of business travel, then you should look at these types of situations as learning experiences. Yes, it’s true that these types of situations happen. But it’s also part of your job to try to keep them from happening in the future. You may come to find that you should always plan for the worst—and then some. Or, you may realize that you’re more likely to successfully budget for the trip if you factor in some kind of ‘inflation-proof bonus’ to make sure that the trip stays ‘in budget,’ even if the economy takes a weird turn between the ‘planning’ and ‘deployment’ phases. More often than not, what you don’t want to do is this…
You don’t want to keep planning trips that consistently go over budget.
If you keep planning and budgeting for trips, and then if those trips continue to go over-budget—upper management will probably begin to sense that you just aren’t hitting those ‘budget benchmarks’ as well as you should—and this could be a bad thing for your career. So it’s always in your best interest to try to get as close as possible when factoring a business travel budget. And once again—if in doubt, always factor just a little bit more.
Now you know the basic steps to take in the event that your business trip goes over budget. Hey, it happens! So get it back on track, and move on to success.