Accounting for Reimbursed Expenses in Outlook – Easy Expense Reimbursement Policy Implementation
No matter what kind of organization you’re running, whether it be a small business, large enterprise, government organization or non-profit, you may have people on the road from time to time. This could be in connection with company travel or simply visiting clients or partners. When they are on the road they may also have expenses like hotel, mileage, etc.
In a lot of cases, depending on your organization’s expense reimbursement policy of course, employees will pay for these expenses themselves, and then afterwards be reimbursed by the organization. Having proper accounting for reimbursed expenses is thus paramount.
The challenge however, as is usually the case with software, is not overwhelming the employees with yet another software product that they need to navigate and get to learn.
What if you could build on your existing infrastructure and make expense reporting really easy for everybody?
Luckily there is a way to do just that. Read on and see how…
Accounting for reimbursed expenses in Outlook together with your timesheets
If you’re reporting your expenses, you’re most likely running a professional organization where tracking time is also an integral part of doing business.
If so, you should have a time tracking solution that comes with support for your expense reimbursement policy, that is, makes it possible to track expenses.
Furthermore this time tracking solution, should build on something your users are familiar with, which would be your Microsoft Outlook calendar.
So the first step is to use a timesheet reporting solution that builds on the Outlook calendar and also allows you to track expenses at the same time.
With the right tool, you can, when you create an appointment in Outlook also select an Organization, Project and Activity for using the appointment to track time with. Besides this, you should have an extra option for selecting from a list of expenses to add to the time entry, when this is relevant. This should include the type of expense accrued and also the monetary value. The monetary value should either be fixed or be possible for your employee to update. This is entirely up to your policies and the type of expense.
So all in all, use a well-known tool like Outlook, together with a time tracking add-in that allows you to report expenses as well.
Approval of expenses to ensure your expense reimbursement policy
When having made time entries with expenses, the employee should be able to submit this for approval. This should of course be optional, but in most cases it would be good to have a supervisor approve the expenses before they are reimbursed.
The supervisor should have easy access to an overview of which users have expenses pending approval, and they can then approve the entries, or in some cases reject them if there is an error.
In this way, you will ensure that everything is correct before reimbursing your employee, and also possibly if you’re also invoicing clients for this.
In all cases you need to make sure that all is right.
Easy overview of reported expenses
All good time tracking software solutions will come with some strong reporting capabilities, so you can easily get an overview of time spent on different projects, organizations, etc. This is paramount when running your organization, no matter if it’s only internal projects or if it’s on billable client projects. You need to know how you spent your time.
The same goes with expenses. With the right solution you should be able to go in and quickly create a report showing who has had expenses, the value, etc. All in a quick easily digestible report.
As with time tracking, and any other business solution for that matter, you need to make it as easy as possible for your users and managers to navigate.
So with the right solution, it should just be a matter of a few clicks with a mouse, and you should be given an overview of all expenses accrued for all employees.
A strong time tracking solution with support for expense reporting, will be able to provide just that.
Standard template for reimbursement
Now that we’ve seen how you can make it easy for employees to report their expenses via a time tracking add-in for Outlook, how you should be able to approve these quickly and easily, and how you should be able to quickly get an overview, one more thing is needed: Your employees of course need to be reimbursed for the expenses that they’ve paid for.
As mentioned, this could be for expenses related to meals, hotel stays, mileage, gas, etc. In all cases, if your employees have paid for this themselves they should be reimbursed for it, if this is part of your expense policy.
When having generated a report as above, you should be able to click on a button which will create a standard word document with an overview of the expenses, which can then be signed by employee and manager.
This is really simple, yet powerful. It makes processes so much easier, and this is what you want. When employees have paid for expenses out of their own pocket, they should be reimbursed as quickly as possible, since it may have an effect of their personal finances. So this should be a priority.
As mentioned, with the right solution, it should only be a matter of pressing a button to create a document with an overview of the expenses, which can be signed by employee and manager. This can then be given to accounting, who can then quickly reimburse the employee.
So when looking for a solution for tracking and reporting expenses, you should first look at your existing tools. If you’re using Microsoft Outlook, you should find a time tracking solution that integrates with this, and also makes it possible to track expenses.
From there on, it should be easy for supervisors and managers to generate reports on expenses and approve these, so that employees can quickly be reimbursed.
This will make accounting for reimbursed expenses really easy for everybody, and ensure that your expense reimbursement policy is carried out in the best possible way.
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