You need not read this article if your company uses a cloud-based, mobility-enabled expense management software. Wonder why? Because such software meticulously takes care of everything discussed here. Sadly, more than two-thirds of companies are yet to migrate to such a model. They still depend on spreadsheet-based system or manual systems for expense reimbursements. If you belong to such an organization, the first thing
you need to do is persuade your management to implement a cloud-based expense management software system. Till that happens, follow the tips below to make the claiming process as painless as possible to you and your company.
Submitting reports on time, in compliance with norms, and with supporting documents is a headache for everybody. Losing track of expenses and related vouchers can cause a ruckus at the accounts payable department, and worse, you might lose money. For finance and accounts, timeliness and accuracy of records are extremely important.
In many situations, employees end up spending beyond limit knowing that their company will reimburse without questioning. The major reasons are:
- Lack of knowledge on what is reimbursable (complex policy manuals)
- Loss of original vouchers and receipts
- Failure to submit reports within deadlines
Here are some primary matters to take care of, so that you get reimbursed correctly, without causing misery to the accounts department.
Know the expense reimbursement policies
Get hold of a policy document or guidelines of the company. Attend the awareness programs they organize, and…
- Know what expenses are reimbursable and what expenses are not. Also know the upper limits for employees of your grade.
- Learn if you can avail a cash advance or a credit card from the company. Ask if you have to spend first and wait for reimbursement on a later date.
- Learn the procedures for submitting expense claims. Is it automated or manual? Do you need to submit all the original bills and vouchers?
- What is the timeline for claiming expenses? Is it three months from incurring the expense, or six months, or can it extend till the end of the financial year?
Keeping everything in one place
While travelling, money and bills is one whole department. People record their expenses in notebooks and their mobile phones. It is a good habit to add a few notes too, because small expenses like tips to waiters and cab drivers also matter. If a receipt does not have all the relevant information, a scribble on the reverse side will prove useful at a later stage. Otherwise, you might end up in a heap of receipts, just trying to ward off confusion. But honestly, it is easier said than done!
The Right Way
In a fully automated cloud-based system, the scenario is much simpler. You will be able to enter every expense into the system in real-time through your mobile app, and even attach snapshots of receipts. The moment you make a spend; you can submit the report with the click of a button. But since not every firm has such a facility, it is good to develop meticulous habits until the management decides to subscribe to cloud-based expense management.
Do not wait for the accounts payable to ask for your bills. Do not even postpone recording your spends by a day. File everything when you get back to your accommodation. The advantage: your memory of all the expenses will be fresh. With time, your memory fades, and some of the receipts may get damaged or lost. The sooner you get the job done, the lesser the headache for you and the accounts department.