Travel Expenses Reimbursement and Business Expense Tracking
To accomplish your business goals, meet your deadlines, and adhere to estimated budgets, you need to maintain a thorough record of everything – workloads, costs, time spent on each project, employee absences, travel expenses, resources, etc. Tracking this data is the key to operational efficiency, but doing so without the right tools is not easy.
While tracking time is already a priority for many businesses today, business expense tracking is often overlooked. Money is critical for any business, which is why accounting for its inflow and outflow ensures that your expenses do not exceed your income. Besides coffee and trips to conventions, hotel costs, mileage, and the purchase of goods from employees’ own pockets are other common expenses that must be informed back to the employer, for reimbursement purposes.
Tracking and approving business expenses can save you thousands of dollars down the line. Thanks to the latest advancements in time tracking software, some solutions now enable business expense tracking along with time tracking. Expenses can easily be added to time entries, and you know how your time and money are both being spent, giving you enough data to optimize and improve your workflow.
Benefits of Tracking Business Expenses with Time
If you want to gain better insight and have more control over your business operations, you need to know how its resources are being utilized. These resources include both tangible elements, for example, travel expenses reimbursement, and non-tangible ones like time. While doing it together spares a lot of time and administrative burden, there are many other unparalleled benefits of business expense tracking as discussed below.
Assess the Business Profitability and Productivity
When you start accounting for how much time each employee is spending on each project, you can determine if it is worth the compensation you are receiving for it. You discover which employee excels at which type of task, who needs additional support, and the productivity and contribution of each employee.
Profitability is another perspective on productivity, owing to business expense tracking. Having a steady income is not always synonymous with business profitability, simply because you are not taking into account the costs incurred.
An accurate record of income and expenses is thus a valuable tool and using a time tracker for this purpose centralizes the collection of data to makes analysis convenient.
Higher Financial Awareness for Future Plans
You should know where exactly your money is going each month. This not only becomes a marker to see if you are exceeding your monthly budget but you can also identify where you can cut back costs. For example, if your staff frequently incurs travel expenses while using Uber, an in-house transport facility could be more cost-effective in the long run, while improving employee satisfaction simultaneously.
Keeping tabs on the financial state of your business provides you with useful analytics and trends that could determine how you work in the future. From client billing to determining the overall project costs, business expense tracking can easily drive all these decisions.
This goes hand in hand with time tracking as well, because you can correlate how much money is being spent per hour for a project. Additionally, data on the duration of each task helps you set accurate deadlines, determine recruitment needs, and allocate projects based on individual strengths and weaknesses.
An important aspect of time and business expenses tracking is routinely analyzing that data for trends, which is only made possible by a sophisticated solution that allows you to review information through various filters. While the time entries can be categorized by project, client, task, department, or employee, the expenses should also be available as a report. This could be anything from cost per project or cost per client to expenses incurred per employee.
This omniscient view of both time and resources spent allows early identification of problems and loopholes, as well as opportunities to look into.
Increase Employee Satisfaction
After returning from a work trip, the last thing any employee wants is to run around their boss for travel expenses reimbursement. Allowing them to submit expenses with their time entries and obtaining a swift approval expedites the whole reimbursement process and makes your employees feel valued.
You can only be an understanding and empathetic leader if you have precise knowledge of what each team member is working on, how long it takes them, and whether they need any additional support. Meticulous records of time ensure that no employee is overworked, everyone has data to back up their profiles for promotion, and grants each employee enhanced ownership over their time.
Besides your general staff, your finance and accounting employees are also better off with joint time and business expense tracking because all the transaction data is now readily available at one location. Since each expense is backed with employee name and purpose, they do not need to sort through innumerable receipts and bills and coordinate with everyone on the team or in the organization to conduct an accurate audit.
Additionally, using a solution for business expenses tracking standardizes how your business categorizes and analyzes expenses, making it easier to sift through.
Save Administrative Costs
Be it time tracking or business expenses tracking, the manual route is always expensive, frustrating, and inefficient. Manually keeping an account of all travel expenses reimbursement, hotel stays, and mileage, requires significant manual labor during the time of collection of invoices, maintenance of records, and the month-end analysis.
Employees’ valuable time will be spent sorting through receipts, bills, and other piles of paperwork and if they make an error, doing it all over again is extremely time-consuming and inefficient. Automation saves time and money, besides eliminating human error and taking away the burden of creating an expense report. The time saved by removing the process of an expense report can be delegated to more important tasks.
Using a solution that can track time and business expenses together saves the cost of spending money on two different systems.
Ensure the Accuracy of Data
As discussed above, manual tracking of time and expenses can be ridden with errors, but that is not the case with an automated business expenses tracker. When you can input time entries from anywhere, there is a low probability of forgetting how much time was exactly spent, as opposed to returning from your business trip and then logging the information in.
The same goes for business expenses as well. Inputting it with time will ensure that you don’t forget it, and your travel expenses reimbursement will no longer depend on your employees’ ability to save their parking or flight tickets for extended periods.
This accurate data influences almost every aspect of your business. Human resources, management, and accounting all use it to make critical decisions, which is why transparency is paramount here.
Using a solution that allows management or an administrator to approve each time entry is vital for accurate travel expenses reimbursement and business expense tracking. This compensates for any typing errors made by a staff member while keeping everyone on the same page about the expenses incurred.
Outlook for Time and Business Expense Tracking
The importance of tracking time and business expenses is clear, which is why this market is now saturated with different types of time tracking solutions, each one having its own set of benefits and drawbacks. While the ideal business expenses tracking solution for your company depends on your needs, using one that can track time and be compatible with Microsoft Outlook is a trusted choice.
Most companies already use Microsoft Outlook to manage their calendars, emails, meetings, and appointments, and these solutions build upon the existing infrastructure to enable time tracking. While appointments can be repurposed into time entries by adding clients or projects to them, expenses can also be added to each time entry in the same way.
Outlook is beginner-friendly with a user-friendly interface, and most people are already familiar with its dynamics. You no longer need to churn out thousands of dollars to train the staff on any new third-party software for time and business expenses tracking, or face any friction towards adopting it as a norm. If someone needs travel expenses reimbursement, all they need to do is add it onto their time entry and wait for approval by the supervisor.
Working in conjunction with the calendar and email lends your tracker a repository of information. For example, if a meeting ran longer than usual, you do not need to specially modify it, since your tracker will already be linked to the calendar. Similarly, the solution also integrates well with other applications, in case the data needs to be exported.
Therefore, using an Outlook-compatible time or business expenses tracker saves both time and money, besides being great at its job. The ideal solutions allow the expenses to be submitted both individually and with time entries, as well as the option for the system administrator to modify each user’s access to the overall records.
All employers needs to maintain up-to-the-minute financial records, whereas each employee wants prompt reimbursement of travel expenses and other costs. Couple that with the business’ need to track time to make timely decisions accordingly, and the demand for a solution that does both is rising. Improving your money management should be a primary goal and time tracking software that integrates well with Microsoft Outlook is the perfect solution for business expenses tracking.
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