Planes, trains and travel expenses: Upgrade your government’s internal controls with our updated resource

Jan 12, 2024

Employees are on the road again, traveling to various in-person trainings and conferences. Given this, one cannot help but wonder about the internal control systems for processing employee reimbursements and travel claims. Are they ready to handle this activity and prevent waste, loss or abuse?

Many governments adapted their control processes over employee reimbursements during the COVID-19 pandemic when travel was at an all-time low and employees worked from home. Now, many employees are back to working from the office, and this can change how your processes function. Also, since employees were not traveling and seeking reimbursement, you may not have prioritized updating your policy or control system – even when it came due for an update. In some cases, governments may have put certain key internal controls on hold during the pandemic emergency. It may be time to reinstate them.

Your policy should describe the key elements of your control system for processing travel claims and other employee reimbursements. The Government Finance Officers Association recommends updating travel policies every three years, and we agree. You can use our newly updated resource, as well as guidance from the Municipal Research and Services Center, to reevaluate your controls.

You’ll find our updated Best practices for travel expenses and other reimbursements here. During this update, we:

  • Added new best practices, such as ideas to reduce the administrative burden of travel advances, a tip to comply with IRS regulations, and a list of travel-related performance metrics you could use
  • Expanded the list of economical travel considerations
  • Created a new section for travel expense fraud schemes, which you can use to develop in-house training for travel claim reviewers and approvers

Download a copy and get started on strengthening your internal controls today.

Visit our Resource Library

All our guidance is available online at no cost. We have a lot of great information to share, so spend a few minutes in SAO’s Resource Library to see what we have to offer!

How to reach us for more assistance

Remember, SAO can help. If you have technical questions, submit them using our HelpDesk in the client portal.

We also have internal controls specialists at SAO’s Center for Government Innovation available to talk with you about best practices and resources. For assistance, reach out to us at