By Danny Taggart, Director, Deloitte
"So, you're off to Switzerland too now then? Alright for some! I'm into my second hour of ironing here". So went the late telephone conversation with my wife, as I sat in my hotel room in Stockholm.
On the evening of my first day in Sweden I had received a call from a colleague asking if I could step in at a meeting in Zurich. It meant re-routing from Sweden to Switzerland the following day and adding a day to my overall trip.
Wife’s approval obtained, an 11pm call to Deloitte's out of hours travel helpline enabled me to cancel my return to London, book a flight to Zurich the next afternoon and the London return the day after. Sorting the flights was painless, but would my revised travel plan put me or my company at any tax or immigration compliance risk? A couple of years ago, it likely would have been a time consuming, email-driven process trying to find out. Today however it was easy. I had already used the Deloitte Pre-Travel Assessment tool for my trip to Sweden, so it was just a case of going back in via the Deloitte GlobalAdvantage app on my phone and editing the assessment for the new leg to Zurich. Hey presto! A real-time assessment for both immigration and tax, with nothing to worry about on either, thus no further workflows or services required.
What struck me about this experience, other than it being a bit frantic, was how quickly and easily I was able to change my travel plans and check any tax and immigration ramifications, putting my mind at rest and ensuring that I was following company travel policy.
Per my wife’s reaction, business travel can often sound glamorous. The statement "I'm going to Stockholm and Zurich next week" might conjure visions of mountains, lakes, picturesque harbours etc. but the reality, as any regular business traveller will know, can be markedly different – a frantic blur of taxis, airports, planes, offices and hotels, with little time for any cultural osmosis.
That said, perhaps I’ve painted a bit of a bleak picture; late work nights, hastily revised trips, balancing work and family life, lonely room service meals etc. Don’t shed a tear though - other than having two really great client meetings in two wonderful cities, I managed to squeeze in an excellent Asian-fusion dinner courtesy of my gracious Swedish hosts, catch-up with other colleagues and enjoyed an evening stroll along beautiful Lake Zurich witnessing an incredible lightning storm! Experiences like this come as a wonderful by-product of ‘getting the job done’ and make those stressful rushes through airports lugging heavy carry-on feel worthwhile. I’m not sure I’d have it any other way… and it certainly beats ironing!
We’d love to hear of your experiences of business travel – have late changes to your itinerary caused compliance issues? How have you managed this? Any experiences of how mobile technology has improved your experience of business travel? Let us know by posting your comments or contact us at GlobalWorkforce@Deloitte.co.uk
Likewise, if you’d like to have more information on Deloitte’s Business Travel Services, including our Pre-Travel Assessment capability please contact us using the email above.
Note: The assessment that took place in this example was based on the personal circumstances of the traveller. Tax and immigration consequences may vary based on specific circumstantial facts.