Friday, July 19, 2013

The Hidden Cost of Taking the Family on a Business Trip


Having your spouse and kids hook up with you in NY City on the back end of a business trip can score huge points on the home front. You're there anyway, your flight has been paid for by the company, and you often get a great rate when extending the hotel room into the weekend. Simply put, you are getting a "deal" on a little family getaway.

The 3 day business trip starts on Wednesday at a lunch meeting with current clients. You pick up the tab, thanking them for being a loyal client. A quick cab ride uptown to pitch a prospect, followed by dinner and drinks back at your hotel with your sales team wraps up Day One. You charge all that to your room.

Thursday is similar in that you are cabbing it around Manhattan, having meals and jamming all your receipts in your purse or briefcase. The family arrives on Thursday afternoon at La Guardia and they grab a cab to the hotel and have dinner there. Your business dinner at the hotel ends around 9:00 and you meet them at the hotel. The kids head for the pool and you grab a nightcap with your spouse.

Friday is a day where the family heads out to see the sights while you close a big deal in Little Italy at Sofia's on Mulberry. You are so happy you forget to grab your paper receipt from the table.

The family rents a boat and some bikes in Central Park. Everyone reconnects at the hotel uptown in the afternoon. You cab it back to Little Italy for a relaxing bite to eat at Amici's that you discovered earlier in the day.

You can see where this is Sunday morning when you check out, you have a stack of receipts; some business and some personal. But no worries, you know which are which and will sort it all out at month end.

However, three weeks later when you're doing your expense report, you can't recall if the Thursday night restaurant charges on your hotel bill were with your staff or your family? Was the family meal on Friday at Amici's or Sofia's? You don't want to put in the wrong receipt to accounting and get a reputation of making mistakes. Not good for your credibility at work. So you end up spending 3 hours working through all the details to get it right.

Inevitably, you err on the side of not putting in a receipt that you should have claimed. Or worse yet, you threw out a bunch of receipts Sunday morning thinking they were personal ones and now you don't even have a couple of the business ones! The family trip that was supposed to be a "deal" has just cost you an extra two or three hundred bucks.

The key to making the vacation add-on cost effective? Organize your receipts THE MOMENT YOU GET THEM. Capture the receipt on your phone by taking a picture of it. That way the receipt can't get lost. You have your phone with you all the time. You now have a digital receipt and can more easily separate the personal ones from the business ones. And it saves you having to explain a $65 expense for a Boat Rental in Central Park!

1 comment:

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