Government Contractor Travel: Choosing a TMC to Drive Compliance

Booking travel as a government contractor adds various levels of complexity to an already large and unwieldy expense. With so many unique compliance requirements and rules for handling government travel along with your own rules and culture, government reimbursable travel can be tricky.

Working with the U.S. Government involves extensive requirements that have been put in place to ensure fairness when awarding contracts and use of funds. Also, reimbursement rules have been put in place to prevent taxpayers from paying for costs that aren’t aligned with public policy.

The impacts of non-compliance can become a real issue if your travelers aren’t following the unique requirements.

According to a study by Deltek, 44 percent of organizations with reimbursable travel find that audits affect profitability by derailing billable resources. As a result, non-compliance slows down reimbursement and cash flow, which ultimately hurts your organization and your ability to reach critical objectives.

With all the potential pitfalls of compliance that exist for government contractors, working with a partner who understands the nuances and intricacies of government reimbursable travel is the next step in elevating your travel program.

Compliance, Compliance, Compliance

If you’re traveling as a government contractor, you’ll know that your travel policy is complex. Contract travelers are required to comply with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Joint Travelers Regulations (JTR) and the Fly America Act.

Each requirement of these regulations and acts include a high level of detail. It’s imperative to find a team of experts who can handle the required documentation and complexity for all categories of travel to ensure your organization isn’t slowed down by audits and non-compliance.

Technology & Service Standards 

While many requirements seem insignificant, such as booking flights with a U.S. carrier per The Fly America Act, it’s essential to have a travel policy supported by technology and service standards to help travelers remain compliant when booking travel.  

Travel policies can change by different types of employees (e.g., executive team, road warriors and consultants) or by departmental projects within the government. Knowing how to customize and automate compliance with your travel policy for both online booking tool reservations and agent reservations takes communication and skill.

Work with your travel management company to find an easy-to-use, automated booking tool that you can customize to drive deeper compliance – allow for optional approval processes, auto-populate per diem rates within policy, includes protected cancellations and offers 24/7 support.

Safety & Security for Your Travelers 

When traveling for the U.S. Government, often, travelers are going to locations with higher levels of travel advisories as issued by the U.S. Department of State. It’s crucial to implement a robust risk management plan and incorporate key components of duty of care into your travel policy.

Having the tools and technology to keep track of your travelers and communicate with them when issues arise is critical. Engage with a partner who can provide you with industry-leading technology to get your travelers to their destination and home again safely. 

Don’t Forget Documentation

When your organization is engaged in business with the U.S. Government, communicating compliance guidelines to your travelers is a key piece to reimbursement success. The collection of data, including expense reports, traveler itineraries and important travel decisions, are critical pieces of information, especially if an audit comes your way.

As mentioned above, The Fly America Act requires travelers to use a U.S. air carrier. However, that can be waived depending on several factors – location, bilateral or multilateral transportation agreements or time spent in air. It’s important to know the available options as well as document and collect codes that identify travel-type by the various projects your business has with the different government departments to ensure compliance with the regulations in case of an audit.

Not providing proper documentation could result in a negative impact on your organization’s cash flow. If you automate travel and expense and have a thoughtful workflow, you can bill back the government quickly and minimize the impact on cash flow.

Successfully Navigate Cost Reimbursable Travel

Government reimbursable travel is complex, and that’s why managing it on your own can be tough. We recommend doing your due diligence and selecting a partner with the specialized knowledge in government contractor travel so you can feel confident and remain compliant.

To learn more about how to select the best travel management solution for your government contractors, contact the experts at Direct Travel.