An expense report is a statement covering all the expenses of official or personal travel of an employee that is to be submitted to the employer for reimbursement. Expense reports also serve the purpose of personal records of expenses or for accounting and tax payment preparation. The expenses generally include air/train fare, hotel accommodations, food expenditures, and other travel-related expenses. Often, the employees take too much time to submission of the expense report, but the process should be quick. The process of expense reporting can be made simple and quick only through automation with web-based expense report management software like Expense Management Automation and Ceridian Expense Manager.
Organizations pay for every expense that is related to them but most of the time there comes a condition where the employees spend from their pocket for the organization and are reimbursed later as per the expenditure report submitted by them. This report that contains the entire office and the personal expenses of an employee is called the expense report. The main purpose of this report is to return the money that the employee has spent for the organization as this gives an idea of the official and personal expenditure of the employee.
With these programs, the employee submits the report online to the approval authority and faxes the receipts. Almost all companies are following this method of automation so that employees can avoid the errors involved in manual entry and submission of reports. The fast submission of expense reports leads to quick reimbursement, which in turn provides visibility and control for the compliance of the standards of audit and accounting. As it shortens the reimbursement cycle, employees’ motivation and thereby operational efficiency increase.
Every organization needs to have a standard and easy-to-use employee expense report form available to the employees for the sake of reimbursement of expenses during their official or pleasure visits. The employee expense report should include details about the amount spent, date, purpose, and place of expenditure. It should be accompanied by vouchers and bills of expenditures. An expense report will contain a clear picture of all the expenses which have been incurred by an employee for official purposes and he would like to claim a reimbursement for the same.
Expense report is a statement
Details of all the expenses which have been incurred should be entered into the expense report format which has been prescribed by the company. The details which have been entered into the format and made into expense reports will be used for accounting as well as the preparation of tax returns. The nature of the expenses which will be entered into the format will include the usual expenses which are incurred during a business trip like airfare, hotel tariff, and expenditure on food.
Also, the employee expense report should include the signature of the authorized person who has approved the employee’s visit. Employee expenses are reimbursed if the expenses are for business purposes and only if the employee submits the expense report within a specified time. Business-related expenses mean those expenses that have been incurred while performing employee-related services. However, if an employee has gone for an eligible pleasure visit, then he/she can submit for reimbursement. Once the employee has completed the expense report form, he has to send it to the concerned approval department for review and the subsequent approval of the claims.
If an employee does not receive reimbursement for some expenses after submitting an expense report and the expenses are genuinely business related, then the employee may get a tax rebate on such unreimbursed expenses. However, it depends on how the employer treats such reimbursements. Moreover, if the employer is following the Accountable Plan of reimbursement, the expenses are not subjected to tax. Before applying for the reimbursement of his visit’s expenses, the employee should check with his employer as to which plan, accountable or non-accountable, he will come under. Employees can submit expense reports online which speeds up the submission and approval processes.
Every organization should have a standard format of employee expense report form that should be easy for employees to use. However, as per a survey conducted by one popular Boston-based research organization, for every five dollars a company spends, one dollar is spent towards employee travel expenses. So, the employee travel reimbursement expenditure occupies a vital role in the total expenses after salaries. Thus, most companies are taking a hard look at employee travel expenses. They have begun to implement expense report management software for reducing and analyzing travel expenses so that they can make Memorandums of Understanding with airline companies, hotels, etc. for availing them of discount prices.
Companies should insist on timely, accurate, and honest expense reports. Every employee has to follow all the rules and regulations of the travel expense reimbursement policy of the organization while furnishing all the expense details of his travel along with documentation. After submission of the report, the employee has to obtain approval from the concerned Approval Department of the company. Then only the Finance Department grants funds for reimbursement. Also, it is the ethical responsibility of the employee to return the excess amount he has received to his employer.