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How to Make Business Expense Reporting Easier When You’re Traveling

How to Make Business Expense Reporting Easier When You’re Traveling

Traveling for business can be fun until you find yourself filling out the expense reports. Doing so accurately does take a lot of time away from both business and pleasure. But there’s no overstating the importance of due diligence in this area if you want to maintain your business’s financial health. To an extent, you will have to expect a certain amount of tedium when it comes to tracking receipts, recording your revenues during time away from business headquarters, and organizing expenses. You will also have to accept that it’s part of the day-to-day requirements of your business, no matter where in the world you are when you’re overseeing them. 

Luckily, it’s possible to streamline your expense tracking even if you’re tired from catching late flights or spending hours out on the road. Let’s look at some of the best practices that will help you and your employees report your business expenses accurately and on time.

Digitalize Your Finances

Digitally transforming your business is the first step towards both easier expense reporting and superior financial transparency across all your operations. This is definitely something that you’ll want to be assured of when you’re checking on your business from halfway across the world. 

How to Make Business Expense Reporting Easier When You’re Traveling

If you own an e-commerce business, kickstart your digital finance capabilities with a solution like Maya Checkout. Maya Checkout is widely regarded as the best payment gateway Philippines small businesses have available, thanks to its ability to facilitate all digital transactions—including those done with digital wallets, credit and debit cards, QR Ph, and other emerging transactions. Integrate Maya Checkout into your Shopify or WooCommerce store in minutes with Maya Plugins to fully digitalize its finances and to strengthen your business’s financial ecosystem.

Utilize Expense Tracking Apps

Once your business’s finances are digital, fast expense reporting on the road on your part will be a simple matter of scanning or taking pics of paper receipts. With the right apps and a smartphone, you can easily reduce physical clutter and avoid problems with damaged or lost receipts. 

Popular expense tracking solutions include mobile versions of QuickBooks, Xero, or FreshBooks, which can all sync seamlessly with their desktop counterparts. These tools are the go-tos of many digital nomads. Make sure the app you choose allows you to categorize expenses, attach photos of receipts, and track spending in real time.

Use Company Credit Cards

It should also be your practice to use company credit cards or special digital wallet accounts, not just for yourself but for other traveling employees. This will consolidate more business expenses, especially those related to travel, into one place, which will also minimize the need to scan paper receipts. 

Most corporate credit cards and digital wallets also offer travel-friendly features such as real-time expense tracking, spending limits, and integration with your existing accounting software—all of which will make it easier to manage on-the-road expenses and achieve full financial visibility over your company when you’re traveling.

Set Clear Spending Policies

Before you even start traveling, you should set clear spending policies within your organization that outline the types of expenses that are reimbursable as well as the acceptable limits for each category. You must also provide clear deadlines for expense reporting and have a strategy for encouraging the timely submission of expense claims. 

Most importantly, you should hold yourself accountable to those same policies—especially when you’re spending time away from HQ. Having these guidelines in place simplifies spending decisions and cuts down on the odds of disputes later on.

How to Make Business Expense Reporting Easier When You’re Traveling

Provide Policy Training and Documentation

Upon setting your spending policies in stone, you’ll also want to roll out training sessions and issue reference materials so that your employees understand the proper expense reporting procedures, including the use of any tracking apps. This support can mean all the difference in avoiding negative experiences among employees whose concerns pertain to the company coffers.

Implement Pre-Approval Processes

While not always necessary, pre-approval processes for expenses can help prevent overspending and ensure better policy compliance. If you and your employees need to obtain approval for expenses before they’re incurred, it may help mitigate any runaway spending as well as keep your numbers more manageable. Though you’re essentially adding red tape by doing this, added precaution may be important, both for achieving clarity in expense reporting and keeping your company’s spending in control.

Automate Your Expense Reporting

Some accounting and payroll solutions have built-in automation tools that can handle tasks such as categorizing expenses, calculating reimbursements, and generating reports, thus saving you and your accounting team time while also reducing the risk of manual errors. 

How to Make Business Expense Reporting Easier When You’re Traveling

Integrating these features into your workflow should help shave off several minutes off the reporting process, allowing your payroll and field teams to focus on other pressing concerns and keeping you at ease while you’re away.

Capture Mileage Automatically

If you or your sales agents need to travel a lot by car, you can use a mileage tracking app to automatically log kilometers traveled for reimbursements. These apps use GPS technology to provide your payroll team with an accurate idea of both distances traveled and destinations visited.

Towards Better Expense Management Onsite and Offsite

Before you go, you’ll want to make the task of expense reporting easier on both you and your team. On a wider level, streamlining your expense reporting will reduce administrative burdens, avoiding pricey money leaks in your organization. The fact that you and your employees can worry less about money matters and focus on creating value will also be huge pluses, especially if you anticipate traveling more often. 

Taking these benefits into account, look at expense reporting as something beyond bothersome bean-counting, but a way to bring your business’s finances and professional culture forward. Be even more conscientious and efficient about business expense reporting while you’re on the road, and you can be assured of smooth operations both during your current travel experience and during future ones. 

Jona of Backpacking with a Book

Hi there, I’m Jona, originally from Cebu, Philippines, had live in Hanoi, Vietnam, and now currently based in Munich, Germany. This blog used to house thoughts on life and books, but eventually it morphed into a travel blog. For collaborations, projects, and other things, please email me at backpackingwithabook@gmail.com. For essays, creative nonfiction, and others, find me elsewhere.

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