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Firm focus: establishing guidelines and limits.


This month the Journal inaugurates a new quarterly column dedicated to providing practical and money-saving information for CPAs to use in their business travel. The column provides tips and news for individual travelers and for those who manage their firms' travel budgets and arrangements.

A regular highlight of the Business Traveler column is a report on one firm's most effective travel strategies. In addition, this month's column provides insights into getting better value for lodging dollars and a review of a new series of books dedicated to the needs of women travelers.

At Altschuler Melvoin & Glasser (AM&G) in Chicago, establishing a travel policy was an important step toward gaining better control over firm members' travel expenditures.

"We set ranges of how much we'll pay for airfare, hotel accommodations, car rentals and so forth," explains Tamara Harris, AM&G's communications supervisor and travel coordinator. "Employees now have guidelines when making travel plans."

The firm also limits the number of travel agencies it uses so it gets accurate, comparable reports on travel expenditures. "Agency staff members know our travel budget guidelines and tell us when we are going over budget--and where," Harris reports.

Using one agency for the bulk of its travel enabled the firm to secure a volume discount. Harris also has negotiated deals with local hotels and car rental agencies, setting up substantial weekend and other discounts for firm members who travel locally.

Another successful strategy was issuing corporate credit cards to all firm members who travel regularly to eliminate the need for cash advances and to organize expenses on one report. In addition, Harris monitors travel expenses daily, weekly or monthly, depending on volume, to get a better idea of what's being spent and how. This up-to-the-minute knowledge helps in planning and cost cutting.

The firm also makes its members responsible for thinking ahead to help curb expenses. "We insist on booking in advance to get the lowest fares whenever possible," Harris says.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:business travel for accountants
Author:Dennis, Anita
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Dec 1, 1993
Previous Article:How to handle FASB 112.
Next Article:Travel tip: getting the most from a hotel.

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