Data Enablers: Motus Makes Mileage Reimbursement More Fair And Accurate

It’s kind of a no-brainer that employees should be reimbursed for gas mileage they put on their own vehicle while on company business.

But the best way to go about tracking and disbursing those payments is a little less straightforward. Even in today’s digital age, many companies rely on inefficient, and sometimes inaccurate, manual means to keep track of the miles their employees have traveled for work.

The Motus mileage tracking app takes the guesswork out of reimbursements. The app automatically captures business trips, calculates mileage, and creates IRS-compliant daily mileage logs for mobile employees, including field representatives, regional store managers, delivery drivers, and more.

The platform factors in hundreds of variables – including geographical cost data relating to gas, insurance, and maintenance costs – to reduce cost, ensure compliance, and reimburse employees exactly what is due them. Thus, Motus increases fairness for employees while decreasing costs for employers.

To streamline administrative processes even further, Motus integrates with a variety of leading expense management solutions that businesses may already be using, such as Concur, Salesforce, and Oracle.

“Ultimately, Motus is transforming a traditionally manual business process into a dynamic, technology-driven one that makes reimbursements easier, more transparent and more accurate for both drivers and their employers,” said Craig Powell, Motus president and CEO.

“We are addressing the demand for sales optimization, time and territory management, expense management, driver safety and risk mitigation, all of which are embedded in the core of our platform,” Powell said.

PYMNTS caught up with Powell to find out more about Motus’s past, present and future.


PYMNTS: How does your business overlap with the payment processing or e-merchant world?

CP: Mileage reimbursement is something that impacts everyone from pizza delivery drivers, to sales representatives, to regional managers and even rideshare drivers.

However, the process to date has remained surprisingly manual and inaccurate – many companies reimburse employees for mileage expenses using the IRS Mileage Rate, which doesn’t take into consideration local fluctuations in gas price, maintenance or insurance.

Many states, like California, have stringent labor laws that require employees to be reimbursed for the exact costs they incur. Well-known brand names including WalgreensRadioShack and Starbucks have had to settle reimbursement lawsuits for $23 million, $4.5 million and $3 million, respectively.

Motus’ technology helps companies and employees alike receive fair and accurate mileage reimbursement – something that is becoming increasingly important as the world’s mobile employee population increases (IDC predicts that 72.3% of the U.S. workforce will be mobile by 2020).

PYMNTS: Can you give the history on the founding and launch of the company? Why was the company founded? What was the grand idea that sparked it?

CP: Motus, originally known as Corporate Reimbursement Services, was founded in 2004 after extensive research and analysis on the inherent challenges associated with managing the costs, accuracy and compliancy of the Mobile Workforce.

Since its inception, Motus has been steadfast in driving a strong value proposition and an extensive cost savings model to our customers. We rely on a data-driven software approach to deliver solutions that address the intricacies of providing fair and accurate mileage reimbursement.

Our platform of integrated solutions continues to expand, as corporate leadership’s demand for seamless integration, transparency and simplification of data entry in the field across all sales tools continues to grow.

PYMNTS: Can you show me some data or proof points on how the company has helped retailers? Please provide some client examples.

CP: Overall, Motus has helped its customers reduce their vehicle program costs by 10 percent or more (translating to millions of dollars). As a matter of fact, 85 percent of our customers are using the cost savings from Motus to invest in other areas of their business.

Amoskeag Beverages is the largest beverage wholesaler in New Hampshire, selling over six million cases of beer and soft drinks annually. Amoskeag serves over 3,000 accounts across the state and represents a host of domestic, craft, import, water and energy drink brands. The company employs over 250 full-time employees, including delivery drivers and sales representatives who, collectively, travel almost two million miles annually.

Before Motus, Amoskeag had little visibility into the day-to-day operations of its 35-person salesforce. There was no means of mileage tracking and the company allowed its sales team to drive company vehicles for personal use. As a result, Amoskeag was paying for 100 percent of vehicle costs (including personal use), which was expensive and created a potential gap in IRS compliance.

Through Motus’ automated mileage tracking and reimbursement platform, Amoskeag Beverages estimates that it achieved an annual savings of over $5,000 per employee, and a total savings of about $215,500 each year – cutting costs on procurement, depreciation, fuel, maintenance and insurance.

Another customer, Coca-Cola Bottling Company Consolidated (CCBCC), achieved millions in annual cost savings (26 percent) in one calendar year alone. That 26 percent savings didn’t include the ”soft dollar” savings such as reduced administration fees, insurance premiums, general liability, capital interest and depreciation – all of which CCBCC was able to recognize after moving to Motus.

PYMNTS: Looking back since founding, what has been the proudest moment for the organization?

CP: One of the achievements that we’re most proud of is that the overwhelming majority of our customers have continued to work with us year after year to provide reliable mileage reporting and accurate mileage reimbursements. We have earned a 97 percent + client retention rate since inception.

 PYMNTS: What has been the biggest hurdle? How did the company overcome?

Most people don’t realize that the IRS mileage rate is NOT a recommended reimbursement approach. It is intended to provide taxpayers with a way to easily write off their tax-deductible costs for unreimbursed driving expenses. Though created for taxpayers, many companies use the IRS rate to calculate mileage reimbursements for their mobile employees.

The only reimbursement approach recommended by the IRS is a fixed and variable rate reimbursement (FAVR) approach, outlined in Rev. Proc. 2010-51. The FAVR methodology is customized to each individual mobile employee and factors in the specific costs of operating a vehicle where an employee lives, where they drive, and even to the level of what type of vehicle they drive.

Driving awareness around the differences in these approaches is something we’re working hard on every day.

PYMNTS: Can you give me some personnel growth numbers?

CP: We’re growing fast. In the past few years, our team has grown by more than 50 percent to over 100 employees.

PYMNTS: What’s the company culture like?

CP: We believe that we make WorkLife better for mobile workers with our products and services. And because we’re so focused on making WorkLife better for our users, it’s especially important to us that we have the best WorkLife possible at Motus. We’re passionate about helping our team members live healthy, balanced and happy lives. If we don’t make life better for our own team, then we’ll fall short of shaping the future of the mobile workforce.