Introduction

Proper management of travel expenses is critical to cutting your organization’s costs. For business travelers, however, keeping tabs on these expenses also helps to ensure that you get reimbursed promptly and fully.

While experienced travelers know how to stay frugal on their trip, most people don’t understand how to write a proper expense report. If you are not careful, you can commit expense report errors that can cost you money. If you want to be reimbursed for the last coin, including the amount you paid for that airport car service, you will have to stick to the tips below.

tips to manage your business

Record everything and tag each expense

Take time to organize every receipt, expense report, and invoice. It will help you when you need to analyze your expenditures. Travel expense reporting is critical since these costs are tax-deductible in many countries.

First, make sure that you maintain a comprehensive record of all the expenses you incurred. The best routine is to do this daily. If not, aim for a minimum of twice a week. Make sure you tally everything you spend. Be especially careful about cash payments as you can easily miss them. To track all your business travel expenses, it is advisable to use good business accounting software.

Tagging expenses is also recommended as it enables you to easily extract metadata when you need to. The finer your records, the better it will be for you. There are many ways you can group and tag your expenses. They include the following:

  • By department
  • By type of expense
  • By type of trip

You also need to ensure that you set up your recurrent expenditures in your accounting system. It not only helps you never miss that expense but also helps you to plan better for the future.

Calculate every trip

It’s advisable to look at the whole car service to airport cost as opposed to splitting food and travel costs into different spreadsheets. The advantage of this is that it gives access to valuable data that lets you know the amount you need to set aside for future trips. For the business owner, you also get to spot the employees that are spending more than the average on their business trips. Ensure you account for every element of every trip and have the trip reviewed as a whole. Some of the things you should include are:

  • Travel costs- it includes airport car service hire, train hire, plane tickets, and the cost of fueling the car.
  • Accommodation- it includes Airbnb, hotel, or other costs of accommodation
  • Entertainment- it includes both for the client and the ones the company permits
  • Food andi0 drink costs
  • Wi-Fi Connections

Have all the Details

Not only should you maintain a record of all receipts for your trip, but also ensure you write down notes about where, when, why, and who was involved in the purchase. If you have to take a client on a dinner out, make sure you indicate the name of the client at the back of the receipt, the business topics that you discussed, and the number of clients in the party among other details. It can be incredibly hard to recall these details later when you looking at a blank report. Do this ahead of time and you will save yourself some headache.

Get an app to help track your expense 

Some of the more reputable travel management companies will provide an app to enable you to track all expenses. Even if your organization does not use an app, you may consider using a mobile app that allows for instant receipt transmission.

For example, an app like Expensify lets you scan receipts, which can be coded, and then reports it as an expense. After that, it submits it automatically for approval. Also, the app understands your organization’s policy to decide the expenses that can be approved automatically without requiring managerial oversight. This means you won’t have to wait for it to be approved. However, this doesn’t mean discarding the receipts as you will still need to provide hard copies of the receipts after the trip.

Submit your expense report ASAP.

Submitting your report as quickly as possible is vitally important. This doesn’t mean that you should submit it immediately after you touch down at the airport, but try to do it within two days of returning. At this time, any details you might have forgotten to jot down will still be fresh in your mind. Also, the quicker you submit, the sooner you will be reimbursed. Also, you will look more efficient in the eyes of your seniors.

Project your travel expenditures

After tallying and recording all your expenses, you may want to take a look at the previous years’ spending to see how much you may spend. It also enables you to identify areas that you are spending too much on. You also learn how to buy cheaper flights or hotels. Look at recurring expenses, seasonality, and new employees coming to open a new office.

Categorize your Expenses

Most accounting apps come with pre-installed categories that enable you to start grouping your spending. Try as much as possible to stick to the categories. This is important because, during tax filing, it will enable you to identify the areas you are spending unnecessarily higher or lower.

Conclusion

Proper expense reporting is crucial if you want to be reimbursed quickly. You should file your expense report as soon as you can. Preferably, you want to do this within 48 hours of coming back from your flight. Also, it will cast you in a positive light in the eyes of your supervisors, which might come in handy in the time of a promotion.

Use travel tracking apps to record all the expenses and their details. Also, it is recommended to capture as many details about an expense as possible. The best way is to write these down as you may find it harder to recall them after some time.

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