The term travel advance is used to describe a sum of money paid to an employee prior to business-related travel. An advance would cover reimbursable expenses such as meals, transportation, lodging, and incidental items. Companies can account for this cost as a prepaid expense or as accounts payable.
While the popularity of credit cards has decreased the need for an advance, some businesses continue to offer employees this benefit. The size of the advance would take into consideration what the business would deem a typical per diem allowance. Standardized rates are available from organizations such as the U.S. General Services Administration, which publishes per diem rates for destinations within the Continental United States.
Companies will account for this cost in one of two ways:
Expense reports are usually processed by the company's accounts payable department, and the documentation includes original receipts for the business-related expenses.