Team Happay
By: Team Happay
Published on: March 3, 2016

Expense Report Etiquette That Will Impress Your Boss

Expense reporting is one of the most painful processes in any professional’s life, and by far one of the most hated.

In fact, surveys show that 4 in 10 people would rather spend an extra hour commuting to work every day than file expense reports, and over half would rather do their taxes manually.

The problem with expense reporting is that employees are often just thrown into the deep end without any prior knowledge or information on what it entails. There is often a reason for this though, as managers are sometimes keen on testing how an employee performs when asked to use their best judgement when it comes to deciding what expenses they think can be reimbursed.

It works as a good judge of character to see how employees handle themselves when given free reign. Having one drink during a client dinner makes sense, but ordering a whole bottle of champagne, and then expensing it? You can be sure your boss will never forget it, and you have a black mark against you for the rest of your tenure.

In order to keep yourself at the best possible standing with your superiors, here are some tips that ensure that your expense reports are never questioned:

1. Take note of what your colleagues do.

More often than not, you’ll be in the company of colleagues when out on your business trips, and you can learn a lot on what to do, and what not to do by watching their actions. Seasoned members of the organization are usually well equipped in knowing “acceptable budgets”, and you’ll do more than fine if you just stick to the same.

Find out what sort of rooms they usually book, and how much they generally spend on a meal. If you’re at a dinner together, take note of what they order and try to stick to items in the same price range.

Sure, your boss may order a fancy hotel car to chauffeur them around to their business meetings, but you’ll see that your colleagues all stick to an Uber, with good reason – You are not your boss.

2. If you wouldn’t buy it with your own money, don’t expense it.

It can be tempting to go ahead and splurge a little when you’re the company dime, but having a sense of control can go a long way in keeping you in the good books of your manager. Don’t empty the hotel mini bar and then expense the bill just because your company is sending you on a business trip.

A simple rule of thumb here is – If you wouldn’t buy it with your own money, don’t expense it. Click To Tweet This will keep your expenditure within reasonable limits.

3. Don’t be a cheapskate.

In today’s world, most things can be expensed without a second thought, but it’s important to know exactly what can be considered as reasonable. If you end up being a cheapskate who expenses every single little thing, you won’t be winning any brownie points with your boss. Don’t be the person who expenses a 20 rupee tip at a restaurant.

Consider sticking to this rule – If it’s something you would buy yourself on a work day, don’t expense it. Click To Tweet

4. Collect and organize all your receipts.

Receipt collection is one of the worst parts of expense reporting, but it is also one that can’t be eliminated, as receipts offer concrete proof that your expense reports are accurately filed. One thing to do is collect an envelope and ensure every time you pay for something, you put the receipt into this envelope, for you to spend hours sorting through later.

Or, you could just adopt an automated expense management solution that allows you to take a picture of the receipt through your smartphone, and stores it on a cloud server for you to access whenever you need it. You’ll never have to rummage through countless receipts ever again.

While there no hard and fast rules about the right way of dealing with expense reporting, sticking to the above guidelines will ensure your judgement is never called into question.

We’ve also added a FREE downloadable guide to Take the Guesswork Out of Expense Reporting.

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Team Happay
The editorial team at Happay puts together curated content that helps Indian SMEs and Enterprises take control of business payments. We create content on a wide array of topics from B2B payment trends and spend management best- practices to real-life case studies of how CXOs of different organizations use automation and mobility to manage business spends more effectively.

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