As part of the performance of a mission on behalf of his company, an employee may be forced to incur certain professional expenses from his own money. These expenses may be related to accommodation, catering, travel, supplies, or others. These costs incurred by the employee are reimbursable by the accounting department of the company provided that the latter presents a supporting document called an expense report. Given that the expense report is regulated by law, how can it be managed effectively in 2023? Employees and employers, you will find the answers to your concerns in this article.
What is the expense report?
The expense report is the official and essential document that allows the employee to regain possession of the money spent out of his pocket during the performance of a task on behalf of his company. It is therefore only this document that allows the accounting department to record expenses and reimburse the amounts advanced by the employee. Being a somewhat complex task, the accounting department often uses expense report management software to better process these reimbursement requests.
What expenses are taken into account in the expense report?
The list of expenses reimbursable by the company is not exhaustive. However, this depends on the rules established by the company in its spending policy (which we will see later). Here are some main costs that can be taken into account in the expense report.
- Meal expenses (incurred in connection with a business meal with a client). The reimbursable amount is €30 per person and per meal. The employee is required to request a receipt from the catering establishment;
- Accommodation costs provided that the establishment is located at least 50 km from his main residence;
- Transportation costs ;
- The mileage costs if the journey exceeds 50 km from his home;
- Subscription costs for telephone and Internet and others.
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Establishment of the professional expense policy
Expense reports lead to financial flows between the company and the employees. This is why it is necessary that these expenses are well supervised and registered in an official document: a document of the policy of professional costs. This document allows employees to have an overview of the expenses considered professional, to reduce the risk of fraud, and to have a document to which they must refer in the event of a dispute.
It is a document that every company must have whether it is small or large. The content of its writing depends on the needs and requirements of the company. Generally, the business expense policy consists of defining a budget adapted to the expenses to be incurred, supervising the business trips of employees, clarifying the reimbursement process and defining the time limits for reimbursement.
Expense claim reimbursement process
According to the law, the employee is required to present proof of expenses incurred (expense report) within a maximum period of 3 months. Each company is free to define an expense report model according to its professional expense policy. The employee can obtain reimbursement for expenses incurred on his salary the following month. However, the law grants a maximum period of 5 years to the company to reimburse the costs incurred by its employee.
How to better manage your expense reports in 2023?
Managing expense reports is not an easy task for companies. Being an essential task, it is up to the company to put in place some good practices to avoid falling into the nets of the law.
Determine a deadline for submitting expense reports
Determining a deadline for the transmission of expense reports by employees is the first area that each company must consider. This helps accounting departments better process these expense reports. This deadline must be set in order to quickly reimburse employees within a month.
Define a refund method
The implementation of the professional expense policy involves the choice of a reimbursement method. The company can choose between the reimbursement of actual expenses (which entails the full reimbursement of the amount incurred by the employee) or the lump sum reimbursement of expenses (an amount allocated to the employee to meet professional expenses). It must be said that for the reimbursement of actual expenses, the employee is required to provide supporting documents. On the other hand, for the lump sum reimbursement of expenses, he is not obliged to provide any.
Choose the dematerialization of expense reports
The dematerialization of expense reports consists of using management tools to facilitate the processing of expense reports. The expense report tool offers many advantages to companies, such as the real dematerialization of expense reports, because it has an intelligent scan that makes it possible to digitize the paper receipts provided by the employee. With the expense report application, there is real-time expense tracking. The employee indicates the expenses incurred and their nature. Expense report recording is then carried out automatically by the expense report software.
Likewise, thanks to dematerialization, the reimbursement of accounting expenses is effective and fast. The expense tracking application is able to generate incoming SEPA transfers for the reimbursement of employees. It can even ensure the advance of expenses. The use of business expense report management software also allows mileage tracking. This is a major advantage in managing employee travel expenses because the tool has a GPS function that allows you to track the journey.
Choose to automate expense tracking
Regular processing of expense reports saves time. This is why it is important for the company to opt for an expense report application that will allow employees to quickly enter their expenses. Thus, the accounting department can easily monitor in real-time the expenses incurred by employees on the move.
Choose a suitable repayment method
Nowadays, many companies provide their employees with professional payment cards. They use it when traveling for professional reasons. This is a great way to simplify the process of managing expense reports. Likewise, it prevents employees from advancing expenses out of their own pockets. It is up to the company to apply a spending limit according to its professional spending policy.