Business Travel – Part 2, 4 Tips on How to Managing Your Business Trip Expenses
Keeping Track of Business Expenses
Let’s face it: expense reports are a drag to complete. However, if you’re lucky enough to be on a project that covers travel and expenses, you’ll want to make sure to follow the process to ensure reimbursement. It might take a couple of trips, but it’s important to find a tracking system that works best for you. Here are a few tips on how to stay organized.
1) Review the client’s expense policy and get your questions answered before you travel.
Expense policies seem to change frequently, so even if you worked for a client previously, make sure you have a clear understanding of per diem rates, lodging allowances, transportation guidelines, and submission policies.
Also make sure you understand what the client views as a personal versus business expense. Transportation to and from your “home” airport may not be included or clients may provide different allowances on designated travel days. For DCS consultants, we have a dedicated Consultant Services Division to answer all your T&E questions.
2) Keep all receipts!
This may sound obvious, but I’m surprised by how many people still turn in expenses without receipts. No matter how trustworthy you are, the client is not going to reimburse your expenses without record.
3) Stay organized.
Try not to jam your receipts just anywhere while you travel. Instead, place them in the same location every time. You might want to grab a hotel envelope when you first arrive and designate it as the business receipt envelope. This way you’ll be less likely to lose any stray receipts.
If you prefer to stay organized using your smartphone, there are several great apps that let you scan your receipts, create default categories, and establish reoccurring charges. Check out Expenditure or JetSet to keep track of your expenses on the go.
Another way to keep your business expenses organized is to have separate credit card accounts for business versus personal expenses. If you’re going to be traveling frequently, you might want to consider this option.
4) And lastly, make sure to submit your expenses within the required time frame. You’ll want to stay in good standing with those issuing reimbursements.
Are you a frequent business traveler? What other advice would you give to new consultants regarding expense management?