A business trip report can be one of the most easy and routine ways that a company keeps track of its business travel details, expenses, responsibilities, and rewards. It’s especially important in big companies with lots of employees to track, and it can be crucial in small business who need to make sure that the efforts expended with pricey trips really pay off.
For the business traveler, the business trip report does not have to be your enemy; in fact, it can be a tool that shows off your hard work and what an asset you are to the company that employs you. Simply get in the habit of composing them, and it will become second nature.
Start by bringing along a small notebook with you on every single business trip. Dedicate one entire small notebook to each trip, or use one to last for several endeavors if your trips are short and easy to track. This will be an important part of preparing to write a business trip report later on. Make sure it’s one that you are able to take in your pocket or purse. The important thing is that you should be able to have it with you at all times. Also get in the habit of carrying along a pen.
You need to jot down everything that is required as part of the trip report; individual companies will have different requests. Generally, track all expenses, even the unexpected. This should be done even if everything is done by the company credit card. You may not be able to access the credit card files while you are doing your report so it’s best to be over-prepared than under-prepared. If personal expenses are covered, also jot them down.
You also want to track the time that you spent actually working (for example, in meetings or business lunches), the time you spent on travel itself, and the time spent doing other business-related things along the way. If you are given any gifts from the potential client or partner, be sure to record what the gift was and the value of the gift (if it’s known).
Now, once you have carefully made notes of your expenses along the way, you can begin writing your business trip report as early as the first day you arrive home. Your boss will likely explain the timeline of when the report is due, but exceeding expectations by doing it upon arrival is always a good thing.
First, you need a proper heading for your business trip report. Be sure to include your name and the names of colleagues that also came along as fellow travelers on the trip. Write down the names of clients or partners that you saw during the trip. Write down the exact dates of the trip. Also be sure to include the date that you are writing the report. If the report is a specific memo to one person, address it properly. If the trip had a particular mission or point, such as to land a big client or to attend a certain conference, be sure to include that in the heading. The point is that the report should be very easy to identify and read.
Next, include a summary that goes in more depth about your trip. Summarize the key things that you did for the company on the trip. Also summarize your victories and defeats. You may want to use the sandwich approach for this. If you had two successes and one failure on the trip, start off by stating a good thing that you did, then include the negative, and conclude by focusing on a new positive things that also occurred. It’s a subtle but wise way to keep things more focused on what went right and what you were able to accomplish, while also being honest about your setbacks.
You want to then include an itemized list of expenses and gains throughout the trip. After listing expenses, you then want to make a bullet point list of all the reasons that trip was successful and necessary. Although the written summary is nice, there also needs to be an organized way for the busy executives to process the report to help with future business trips.
Be sure to follow your particular company’s policies regarding business trip reports. Each and every company will have its own requirements and formats. These are the basics if no other format is given or preferred. Trust yourself and keep thorough records for the most effective business trip report.