Advantages of a mobility budget for employee mobility compared to travel expense management

Mobility budgets have the potential to ease the administrative process of business trips

The topic of travel expense reporting is a vexing one, and not just for employees who travel frequently for business. Manual and paper-based effort, long Excel spreadsheets and complicated verification processes make business travel tedious even for accounting teams. However, to minimise the administrative burden of frequent business travel, there is a simple and effective solution for companies to use: Travel expense software.

A digital tool can help manage travel expenses and, along the way, offers numerous interfaces to simplify complex and time-consuming processes.

A fundamental requirement that many employees continue to struggle with, despite software and simplified processes when it comes to travel expenses, is the fact that they usually have to pay in advance for business trips and lay out the money for the travel expenses. One solution to this, at least with regard to travel costs incurred, can be a mobility budget granted by the employer, which employees can use for their journeys on business trips.

What are the advantages of a mobility budget for employee mobility and business trips compared to classic travel expense accounting based on the reimbursement principle?
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What is a travel expense report?

In a travel expense report, employees summarise all costs incurred in the course of a business trip. These include, for example, travel costs, accommodation costs and additional meal expenses. The receipts for these are collected and recorded by the employee on the business trip and the costs are reimbursed by the employer after verification. A travel expense report does not have to comply with formal or legal requirements. As a rule, employees prepare the travel expense report themselves and submit it to the employer. Depending on the company, the process of internal accounting differs; many companies now use special software or online tools for travel expense accounting.

What is considered a business trip?

Business trips include travel to project meetings, customer visits, trade fairs, conferences, further training or other out-of-town professional appointments. The duration of a business trip can vary, sometimes including an overnight stay or lasting several days. The trips may be to another state or even country, or only to the nearest city.

There are no uniform guidelines for business trips, which is why every company handles business trips differently. Many companies define travel policies that apply to all business trips and provide guardrails for business travel expenses.

Examples of business travel include:

  • Travel to business appointments away from the workplace;
  • Travel to a trade fair or other professional event;
  • Educational travel;
  • Travel to job interviews.

What travel expenses can come up?

On business trips, various cost items can arise for the company and the employees. Proof of the individual costs incurred must always be submitted for the travel expense claim. The following costs can generally be incurred on a business trip:

  • Travel costs, e.g. public transport, taxi, fuel costs, rental car, tolls and parking fees
  • Accommodation costs
  • Additional expenses for meals
  • Incidental travel costs, e.g. communication costs, luggage storage and insurance, participation fees or entrance fees for trade fairs and conferences.

This list shows: travel expenses quickly cause a great deal of administrative work in companies, especially if they still traditionally work with paper and Excel lists.

In this article, we will limit ourselves to the travel costs of a business trip.

Professional travel costs: The difference between commuter allowance and business travel costs

If employees undertake journeys for business purposes away from their usual place of work and outside their own city limits, they can deduct these travel costs for business trips. However, if employees travel to a meeting with clients or business partners in the same city, this is not considered a business trip and therefore cannot be claimed as travel expenses in the tax return.

However, daily travel between the employee's home and their usual place of work can be deducted from tax as income-related expenses using the commuter allowance. The commuter allowance, which incidentally applies to both pedestrians and cyclists, amounts to a maximum of 4,500 euros per year. In comparison, travel expenses allow for the deduction of higher costs.

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Advantages of a mobility budget for employee mobility compared to travel expense claims

With traditional travel expense reporting, employees usually have to pay in advance, lay out the money for the expense items and claim reimbursements from the employer. With a mobility budget, they could receive a budget from their company in advance and pay with it, simplifying the whole process.

Travel expense management - pros and cons: Traditional and tried & tested


  • Accuracy of accounting: travel expense reporting records employees' actual expenses and allows for accurate accounting.
  • Cost transparency: employees know which expenses they are responsible for and which they can submit for reimbursement.
  • Tax advantages: Some expenses may be tax deductible, which is beneficial for employees and employers alike.


  • Prepayment: Employees often have to pay in advance and wait for reimbursements, which can lead to financial bottlenecks.
  • Administrative burden: Managing expense claims can be time-consuming for both employees and HR.
  • Lack of flexibility: The choice of travel options can be limited as employees have to watch their own budget.

Mobility budget - pros and cons: Innovation for employee benefits and corporate mobility


  • Travel budget: With a mobility budget, employees do not have to pay in advance as they receive a budget in advance.
  • Financial relief: Employees experience less financial stress as they do not have to wait for reimbursements.
  • Flexibility: Employees have the freedom to choose the most suitable means of transport and accommodation for their travel.
  • Time savings: The travel expense claim process is largely eliminated, reducing the administrative burden.


  • Budget control: It can be difficult to keep track of the budget and some employees may use it up prematurely.
  • Misuse: Without proper policies and controls, there is a risk that employees will use the budget for non-business purposes.

Mobility budget vs. expense report: A comparison

To illustrate the differences between a mobility budget and a travel expense claim, let's look at some key factors:

  • Budget vs. reimbursement: employees receive a budget in advance instead of reimbursements after the fact.
  • Financial relief: The mobility budget reduces financial burdens for employees.
  • Flexibility: Employees have more freedom to choose their travel options.
  • Time and administration: The mobility budget saves time and simplifies administration.
  • Control: Companies have more control over budget planning and use.

Conclusion: Mobility budgets are the key to effective corporate mobility management.

A mobility budget offers financial relief, flexibility and more efficient administration, which increases employee satisfaction while reducing overall costs. Companies should consider this innovative approach not only to optimise their employee benefits and compete for talent, but also to make business travel more convenient for employees. The mobility budget is not only a modern solution, but also a key to successful corporate mobility management in the future.

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Stefan Wendering
Stefan is a freelance author and editor at NAVIT. Previously, he worked for startups and in the mobility sphere. He is an expert in urban and sustainable mobility, employee benefits, and New Work. In addition to creating blog content, he also produces marketing materials, taglines, and website content, as well as case studies.
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