I remember Halloween as a kid. I would start as early as my parents would let me and brother, there was no neighborhood too small. I would walk for miles if necessary to fill my pillow-case so full of candy that I could hardly carry it. After one gluttonous night of candy gorging, my mother would hide the remainder of my stash and parcel it out over time. Most kids at school bragged about going home to further sort through their monumental haul, while I had to go home and beg my mother for a few small pieces. I didn’t think it was fair. After all, I’d earned those morsels and at the rate Mom was passing them out, they’d be stale before I could finish them all! Funny thing was, after a week or so, I’d forget all about it and Mom would have herself some leftover candy.
Have you ever had a receipt go stale? Say you went on a business trip to
Like with my Halloween candy, I tend to want to do my expense reporting in bulk. One giant report at the end of every trip makes things much easier to keep track of. It also makes life easier for my manager and for Jenny in accounting, who goes over my reports, checks the math, and approves everything. I even go to the trouble to submit the reports with the receipts sorted in chronological order, so it’s easy to see what I spent, day by day. This makes auditing easy and it’s a breeze for Jenny to walk through my reports and approve them so… I get reimbursed faster.
Some of my coworkers have a different approach. They fill out an expense report once per week. Every Friday, they collect whatever airfare, hotel, and meal receipts they can find and submit them in a report. This makes their expense life as regular as clockwork, but it presents problems. Suddenly, single business trips are spread out over multiple reports. Some reports have receipts for two, three, or even four different trips. How is your manager and/or accounting team supposed to keep track of all of that? More importantly, how are YOU supposed to keep track of all of that? At the end of any given month, are you sure you found all of your receipts? Are you sure you turned each of them in? Are you sure you only turned them in one time, and not multiple times?
Others take the time to fill out a report for almost every receipt they get. This makes it almost impossible for the approval team to sort out how many meals you might have had on any given day or week, what hotels match which airline receipts, etc. It lends itself to fraud and in my company at least, it’s a guaranteed trip to the auditor and you don’t have time for that.
You know, I never found out what Mom did with all that leftover candy! Between my two siblings and I, there must have been quite a bit of leftover candy to deal with over the years. I should have kept some receipts!
EXTRA: If you have questions for Ken regarding business travel, hotels, airplanes, etc, please send an email! Your questions will be recorded and Ken will answer the best ones in his Ask the Expert podcast show.