How to fill in an expense report
When it comes to filling in an expense claim form, we fall back onto those trusty servants ‘who’, ‘why’, ‘what’, ‘where’, and ‘how’. Answer those questions accurately, and the job’s done.
But it’s not done at its peak efficiency if you get the ‘how’ part wrong – because how any business deals with expense claims can turn it from streamlined into an admin nightmare.
So, we’ll take the last part first; the ‘how’. And that means you need to get the strength of technology on your side, with the use of tech tools to capture data and file it in a way anyone in the business can use, and which will integrate with your accounting software. That’s all so important because, at the end of the day, managing the expense claim, approve and reimburse cycle earns no revenue, and therefore deserves to have as little time and therefore spending on it as possible, whilst still being accurate and easily managed. Tech can ensure these two objectives are not mutually exclusive.
Every expense report will need:
- The name of the employee is making the claim
- An itemised list of expenses
- The total claimed
- Receipts to back up the claim (this is, after all, a financial document, not a work of fiction)
- The dates the spend took place
- Which part of the business the expense should be charged to
- And why the money was spent
All of this is designed to ensure that the expenses claim is fair and just, and to operate the system without making anyone poorer.
The name is essential so the money can be paid to the right employee. The list is essential so the approver can tell what he or she is signing off. The total claimed helps with reimbursement. Receipts ensure that any relevant tax can be reclaimed (and that the claim isn’t a work of fiction designed to defraud the company). The dates are part of the audit trail. The charging to each department, office, project, or whatever, helps to ensure value for money, and ensures there was justification for the spend.
Use of clever expense management software will help you do all of those things. The ExpenseOnDemand expense management app, for instance, allows users to take photographs of receipts, and link them to the claim, creating a virtual paper trail without the risk of losing receipts or invoices.
The ability of our software to integrate with commonly-used SME accounting packages like Sage, Quickbooks, Xero and Tally, eliminates the need for expensive and time-consuming multiple data entry.
And once that data is captured, good expense management software will allow you to create reports not only to understand if you’re getting good value for the effort behind the expenses claim, but also to make strategic decisions about how to take the business forward.