Learn best practices for expense reimbursement management and reporting, and how to create efficient processes for employees and accountants to limit time spent managing expenses. By FINSYNC If you ask an administrator what part of their job they enjoy the least, there’s a good chance they’ll say managing expense reimbursements.  What could be more tedious and time-consuming than sorting through piles of paper receipts, cutting checks and tracking payment processing? What about reimbursement disputes or the difficulty of simply getting sales reps to properly file an expense report?  We’re here to help. In this article, we’ll show you how to manage reimbursement efficiently and how to keep track of expense reports. You’ll also learn expense management best practices and the best way to deal with expense reimbursements. 

What is Expense Reimbursement Management?

Expense reimbursement management is the process in which an organization reimburses or “pays back” an employee for out-of-pocket business-related expenses, like treating a client to dinner, or the cost of airfare to a business convention. Expense reimbursement, though simple in principle, is seldom easy. It’s a complicated process that can be as difficult to track as it is to define. Every company has a different expense reimbursement policy with varying criteria for what is considered a business expense.  For example, most travel related expenses like flights, hotels and meals are considered business-related and therefore eligible for reimbursement, but only if incurred while performing duties on behalf of the company.  For this reason it is incredibly important that companies not only clearly define their expense management policy, but also implement a method to efficiently manage expense reimbursements. 

How to Keep Track of Work Expenses?

The majority of businesses track work expenses via an internal system which employees use to report their expenses for reimbursement. For example, an employee who travels from New York to Chicago to meet a client may submit his travel expenses for reimbursement by filing specific paperwork and his original receipts with the HR/finance department for review.  This is an archaic process that’s plagued by human error and generates mountains of paperwork that someone has to get paid to process. Thankfully, there are several ways to efficiently manage expense reimbursement. 

Expense Management Best Practices

To manage expense reimbursement efficiently, a business must ensure a seamless expense management process via a precise and timely reporting system. In other words, you need to make it as easy as possible for your employees to submit their expenses for reimbursement.  Here are the best practices for efficient reimbursement management that you can implement to improve the process and minimize unwanted costs.
  • Clearly Define Your Expense Management Policy

It’s best practice for a company to implement a clear and unambiguous expense management policy. Your expense management policy should include all employee reimbursable expenses and criteria to exclude personal expenses.  Once you have clearly defined your expense management policy, you must communicate it with all employees so that they may learn how to track and report their business-related expenses. 
  • Make it Easy to Submit Expense Reports

To efficiently manage expense reimbursement a business should make it as easy as possible for employees to correctly track their business-related expenses and submit expense reports.  The best way to provide employees with a simple way to submit their expense reports is via a paperless expense reporting system, preferably one in which employees can scan/photo receipts with their mobile device while traveling.
  • Implement an On-Time Payment Mechanism

Timely submission of employee expense reports is critical to managing reimbursement efficiently. The best way to do this is by eliminating a multilayer approval process and sticking to a fixed timetable for approving reimbursements.

What’s the Best Way to Manage Expense Reimbursements?

The best way to manage expense reimbursements is by streamlining the expense reporting system all together. The more roadblocks you remove from the reporting process, the easier it will be for your employees to accurately report their expenses. Integrated expense tracking software can simplify the task of expense reporting and eliminate the time-consuming task of data entry.  Besides saving time and money, expense tracking software improves efficiency and enables your business to effectively manage expenditure according to your company’s reimbursement policy.  FINSYNC bill pay makes it easy to track business-related expenses and automates what your employees once had to do manually. The software integrates with your back office, providing your team with a portal to tag expenses to specific projects, track time and submit expenses for reimbursement all from the same place. Since everything is handled in a single portal, it’s much easier to get employees to submit reimbursements on time. FINSYNC’s suite of software tools is designed to free up your precious time so you can get back to growing your business. The platform streamlines your back-office operations to help you manage your business better and with less effort. Our automated online expense management software is not just cost-effective, it's a convenient solution for an inefficient process that also integrates with our other cash flow management tools. Ready to increase the efficiency of your expense reimbursement process? Take FINSYNC for a test drive with a free week-long trial.   
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