3 ways to save money while travelling for business

With all the perks that come with running a business in Australia or New Zealand, one of the biggest challenges among SME owners is how far they are from the rest of the world, making it extremely time consuming and expensive to travel in order to expand their businesses.

Unfortunately, the distance issue doesn’t look like it is going to change in the foreseeable future, but here are some ways that might make your overseas business trips hurt less on the hip pocket.


1. Reclaim VAT and GST from professional service-related expenses


Many countries to which people from Australia and New Zealand travel for business allow for companies to reclaim the VAT or GST that they have paid for professional service related expenses while abroad.

And those savings can be enormous, so make sure you’re recording all your expenses in your online accounting software.

VAT (Value Added Tax) and GST (Goods and Services Tax) are the fees through which a country’s government collects tax on goods and services.

Depending on which country you’re in, VAT and GST fees can be as high as 27 percent on top of a purchase. So, as you can imagine, after spending money on hotels, trade shows and exhibitions, you might be leaving a significant amount of money on the table.

Kevin Cope, Managing Director of VatIT Australia, told The Pulse that reclaiming VAT provides such a significant cost saving solution for businesses, and many businesses don’t even know that the idea exists.

“We chat to many Australian and New Zealand based business owners and find that they aren’t aware that they can recover the VAT or GST that they paid for business related foreign service expenses,” said Cope.

“Once they learn about the benefit they can derive and process that is involved, they jump at the opportunity to reclaim those costs every year afterwards.”


2. Taking advantage of export-related government grants


The Australian government (both federal and state) offer various grant schemes to help businesses cover costs relating to business activities conducted overseas.

More specifically, the Australian government’s Export Market Development Grant (EMDG) scheme offers SMEs a rebate of up to 50 percent for many overseas marketing related expenses.

This grant covers costs like airfares, accommodation, marketing consultants, promotional literature and much more, and can be claimed yearly – providing significant cost savings for SMEs travelling overseas.

With different government grants opening, closing and changing all the time, before heading overseas, it is always worthwhile to have a look at the Australian and New Zealand government assistance websites to see if there are any grants on offer and the road to applying for them so can save on other travel costs.

READ: 3 ways to tailor your offering to win government grants


3. Check to see if there is a Landing Pad program based at your destination


If you’re an innovative business working in the technology space, joining an Australian Landing Pads program when travelling overseas can provide your business with a whole range of benefits.

The Landing Pad programs offer Australian businesses travelling to global innovation hubs like San Francisco, Tel Aviv, Shanghai, Berlin and Singapore with unique opportunities like curated networking meetings with investors and potential customers, as well as free office space for up to 90 days.

Prathayana Chandrakumar, Manager of the Global Landing Pads program told The Pulse that there is a tremendous amount of value to gained for businesses joining one of the landing pad programs.

“Companies that go through the Landing Pads often comment that the opportunity helped them accelerate their business’ growth, particularly by facilitating access to key decision makers,” said Chandrakumar.

We all know how difficult it can be to break your way into overseas markets, not to mention how expensive office spaces can be, so applying to take part in a Landing Pad program will not only help you maximise your overseas travel experience, but can also provide a significant cost saving.