With companies tracking every dollar these days to save money where they can, having the right expense report software in place is critical.
Whether you are tracking daily office expenses like supplies and electric, or keeping detailed reports on employee mileage, it pays in more ways than one to be able to properly record the information.
While tracking outgoing expenses may not be that difficult since you're signing off on each and every bill, the incoming costs (employee expenses as noted earlier) can be trickier if not properly presented and in a timely manner.
In order to get the right expense tracking system in place, be sure to:
- Have employees provide detailed reports when recording things like airfare/mileage and any meal/hotel expenses when traveling to meet with clients;
- Have the employees turn the reports in on a set date each month. Not only will this make it easier for the employee to be reimbursed on a regular date each following month, but it makes it easier on the finance department to know when to set aside time and the necessary funds to meet these expenses;
- Determine whether the recording of expenses will be done by client or project;
- Determine when your employees will be reimbursed for such expenses. Some companies opt to normally pay within 30 days; others pay on a non-set date, in some instances within a day or two of when the expense report is turned in.
Given that the paper trail is becoming less and less of an issue in many offices nationwide, encourage your employees to do as much of the recording process electronically as possible.
A number of applications permit employees to turn in expenses via their cell phones, meaning they only are required to acknowledge the cost (through a receipt) when returning to the office.
Another key point to look into is how the expense data will be added to the company's bookkeeping system. In many cases, accounting software is constructed for small businesses that have tools for managing expenses information; at least once it is entered into a computer.
Finally, although you'd like to think that every employee can be trusted, make sure to look out for any signs of expense report fraud, especially given the present financial conditions that many Americans are dealing with.
As it turns out, expense report fraud is reportedly on the rise, accounting for 12% of all corporate fraud cases. In turn, the average expense report scam ends up costing companies some $60,000.
Over time it is good for you and your finance staff to review the process in place for compiling expense report data to see if there are any necessary changes/upgrades needed to streamline the process.
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