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How to track expenses on an expense report form?

Creating a custom-made expense report template is a time-consuming task. To help save on time, most businesses opt for a readymade free expense report form or template. These templates are generic and try to accommodate for the general needs of a business. The most commonly used templates are Word, Excel, or Google Sheets.

But should you use an expense report form without any customization? 

Customizing your expense report form can help add a sense of objectivity while gauging and streamlining your expense management. Hence, businesses must not stick to the available templates. Instead, use a template to build upon with fields specific to your business.

In this article, we try to understand the nuances of an expense report form and the mandatory fields that businesses should consider adding to their expense report form.

Importance of using custom fields in an expense report form?

  • These fields in an expense report form are valuable for streamlining both internal and external communications. 
  • These entries play a crucial role in matching particular expenses to specific employees, categories, merchants, and more.
  • They provide insights into the spending habits, frequently associated vendors, frequent policy violators, and more.
  • They help provide a clear sense of documentation for fields that can be neglected by your employees if not made mandatory.
  • Entering these fields in the expense report form can help add a sense of objectivity for employer and finance teams. 
  • In the larger picture, these fields in an expense report form provide enough data to help businesses make well-informed business decisions.

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Travel expense report form: A checklist for mandatory fields

  1. Name of the employee/ employee ID: Helps map a particular expense report form to a specific employee.
  2. Date of spend: This helps detect spends made on weekends or holidays. This also helps build an additional layer of security.
  3. Purpose of spend: This field helps finance teams keep track of business expenses.
  4. Type of spending: Typically, an expense report form consists of generic company spends such as food, entertainment, accommodation, and travel. It can also include others such as fuel and mileage spends, and per diems spends.
  5. Payment mode: Here, the employee can state whether they used their card, a travel advance, corporate credit card, or any other payment mode. 
  6. Department: This can help approvers or managers get a better picture of department-wise spends. This category can also help businesses understand the expenses incurred by a specific department for a specific business purpose.
  7. Details of the manager/ approver: Adding these details can help directly forward an expense report form to a particular approver(s).
  8. Comments: This field helps your employees add justifications for a particular expense or policy violation.

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Expense report template: Why businesses shouldn’t use them!

Some of the other nice-have fields for an expense report form:

If you have employees who frequently travel or incur business spends, these fields are highly recommended for you. These details can help you seamlessly stitch together expenses made over multiple client meetings and business spends. 

Here’s why we recommend these fields in your expense report form:

  1. Merchant details: These details can help finance teams gain insight into frequently associated vendors. They can then leverage these numbers for the best of deals and discounts for their traveling employees.
  2. Project specifics: This field can help compile all the spends a particular employee has incurred in a specific project or business trip. It also helps finance teams understand employee spending patterns, frequent policy violations, and more. As a consequence, employers, and finance teams to tweak their travel and expense policies accordingly. 
  3. Category specifics: Your employees may come under different spending allowances based on hierarchy or department. Adding this category can help look for policy violations based on these employee spending brackets. 
  4. Client name: This field can help associate and stitch the expenses that an employee spends based on every client they have. These numbers can help finance teams understand how much money they are spending on particular clients.

Does this sound like work?

It is. 

A downloadable expense report form needs an immense amount of manual supervision. But an automated expense management software like Fyle can help you do more than just automate and streamline your business expenses. Schedule a demo today, to bid goodbye to manual expense report forms and expense report templates!

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Shruti Kesavan, aka K7, is the Editor at Fyle. When not convincing people to automate their expense management, she loves to read, travel, and explore with the world with her pup. Be sure to drop her a note at [email protected], if you're looking for any guest blogging opportunities.

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