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How do YOU keep track of business travel expenses?

How do YOU keep track of business travel expenses?

Old Mar 2, 11, 12:49 pm
  #16  
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I have a separate credit card just for work expenses and I charge everything that I am allowed so I use this as my double check. I also made a very simple spreadsheet.

Days of the week across the top and expense items down the side. My down the side are in the order I would use them.

Airport Parking
Taxi - in town
Taxi - out of town
Tips
Breakfast
Lunch
Dinner
Lodging
Rental car
Tolls

The matrix makes it easy for me to remember everything and I can also quickly see if I forgot to account for something.
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Old Mar 2, 11, 3:29 pm
  #17  
 
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I carry several 6x9 envelopes in my suitcase. I write the name/date of the trip on an envelope which stays on the dresser of the hotel (trips are usually a week long). Each night receipts go in there. I scan the expensable ones and upload them to the company expense website the day after I get back, no matter what. Fortunately we don't have to submit the originals, so it can all be done in the cloud.

Never get behind.
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Old Mar 2, 11, 9:46 pm
  #18  
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My receipt burden was reduced tremendously when my company's expense system integrated with AmEx. As long as I charge expenses on my AmEx they are automatically imported and I don't need to provide receipts. It's worth an inquiry to your HR/accounting department.

Prior to that I had a Tumi travel wallet - a giveaway at an internal conference - that held everything - FF cards, tickets (way back when), spare change, receipts, etc., and it was always in my bag.
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Old Mar 3, 11, 5:01 am
  #19  
 
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Originally Posted by travellingblade View Post
A very simple and cheap solution I use is to always carry a pack of A4 envelopes and some post it notes.
I'll go with that one. Just keep the receipts filed somewhere it's obvious which trip it's for, write "cash" or "card" on them if you have to claim separately, and note down anything without one. For stuff that involves booking online I have a folder in gmail for them and move them out once claimed.

Neil
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Old Mar 3, 11, 5:21 am
  #20  
 
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I'm shocked not a single person has mentioned NEAT Scanners. For $200,which you can write off as a business expense or depending on your company charge back to them.
Anyway, scan your recipes nightly and it orginizies every thing for you. Gives you a couple options for 'reports' to submit your expenses with AND if you lose a recepit you have a scanned image of it so no worries. Plus it is a portable scanner so you can scan business cards and paper to contacts/PDFs.
Works with Quickbooks and Quicken, also intergrates with outlook.
So Neat Receipts + a couple envelopes and your good to go!
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Old Mar 3, 11, 6:00 am
  #21  
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As mine are fairly simple (train fare, the odd air fare, food and a bed for the night), I just keep a folder for receipts and process them when I get home.

As I am the business, this means entering them into my accounts software, complete with scans, etc, so that they can be offset against tax when required. It's a great package - it will figure all of that out for me, submit the returns online, and invoice the customer if it's a T&M contract

(ClearBooks, if anybody's interested...)
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Old Mar 3, 11, 8:38 pm
  #22  
 
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Originally Posted by CPRich View Post
My receipt burden was reduced tremendously when my company's expense system integrated with AmEx. As long as I charge expenses on my AmEx they are automatically imported and I don't need to provide receipts. It's worth an inquiry to your HR/accounting department.
This is what my company does. It's amazing how little work I need to do. Airfare, hotel, rental car, restaurant meals, if I use Amex they are all recorded and placed into my expense tool for me. No need to submit receipts!

The only things I have to record manually are the odd cash expenses - fast food meals, tips. Not enough to make me invent a "system" for it.
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Old Mar 4, 11, 12:51 pm
  #23  
 
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I use envelopes that are pre-printed on the outside with a table similar to what prncess674 describes.

Has a box for origin-dest / date, business purpose, expense code. the table shows Sun-Sat across the top with a space to enter the specific dates of travel, and down the side has:
Air travel
Rental car
limo
cabs
train
parking
mileage
tolls
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks
Hotel
Other

While not required to submit receipts for anything under $75, I generally do for everything anyway. All receipts are required if I don't use my corporate card, though (ie, cash or personal card b/c they don't accept AmEx).

I tally my receipts nightly, and also make sure they match my CC statement online before submitting them to my admin.

If you don't have a corp card, I also suggest getting a separate dedicated business credit card. If you want miles and already have a personal mileage card, a business card might work.
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Old Mar 4, 11, 5:02 pm
  #24  
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Originally Posted by Redhead View Post
If you are going to be using your personal credit card for expenses, as opposed to a corporate card, then might I suggest that you get a new credit card (hey, great chance for a signup bonus) and use that card exclusively for business expenses. It's another way to help keep things separate and clear.
This is a great idea, and is mostly what I did when I worked at a startup. But since I wanted all the SPG points on my one SPG account, I added myself to my SPG Amex account as an authorized user. So I had two SPG AmEx cards with different account numbers, both in my name, but both on the same AmEx account and sam SPG account. AmEx separates all charges by card, so things stayed separate for reporting.

At my old company, and when I was a consultant, we had to use the official company web app.
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Old Mar 4, 11, 5:03 pm
  #25  
 
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In addition to air tickets and hotels, my employer requires receipts only for expenses above $70. I keep track of the rest of my expenses (meals, ground transportations, gratuities, etc.) by sending an email using my Blackberry to Xpenser.com. After my trip, I simply export the file on Excel and tally my expenses.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 10:53 am
  #26  
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I did mine the old fashioned way. I kept an envelope in the back of my leather portfolio (I believe it was from a Holiday Inn Express, they'd put my bill in it) and I put all my receipts in there starting with the first one of the trip and going forward. I also tracked everything by hand on my notepad. I know this is antiquated but it worked for me, I never had a discrepancy. Once I got back to the office I entered everything into an Excel file.
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Old Mar 5, 11, 12:32 pm
  #27  
 
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I have an old-fashioned system: I make a note of all the expenses in a little (very little) notebook, and at the end of each day of business travel I put all the receipts into an envelope. If it's going to be a long trip, I sometimes number the entries in the note book and put the corresponding number on the back of the receipt. The secret, though, is to sort it out at the end of the day or, failing that (e.g. owing to a late-night arrival somewhere) first thing the next morning. I've found that it's extraordinary how something that seemed very obvious at the time is much less obvious two weeks later when I'm back at home.

When there is no receipt for some reason, I put the item in my little note book just the same.

I have a company credit card, which I use for all business expenses (apart from cash ones where this is unavoidable) and for nothing else.

I'm sure that there are lots of fancier electronic ways of doing it, but this works well for me and it usually occupies only a few minutes each day.
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Old Mar 6, 11, 3:27 am
  #28  
 
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As commented by others, most importantly is to process this very frequently. I'm usually once a week or less in the office, for me that's a ritual moment to pick up my mail, do my expenses and share some gossip with backoffice colleagues at the coffee machine.

Processing once a week also makes it a lot easier to remember what the receipt actually is. In my case, I have receipts in many different languages, most I can't read completely. After lots of travel, different countries and time zones, heavy duty work it can be hard to remember what each receipt stands for. In case of business entertainment for instance, my employer wants to know which persons attended that occasion, which can be hard to remember.

On average, each month I have around 50 receipts, in different categories:
- hotel room charges and services
- taxi and other transportation
- business meals
- personal meals
- parking cost

What's also important to realize is that all those small receipts you carry in your wallet are hard cash, not just simple receipts. Once I realized that I treat them with a lot more respect, carefully storing the small receipts in my wallet, and bigger onces such as hotel invoices have a dedicated pocket in my troller.

A separate credit card and bank account linked to it is also a must. The credit card statement is a good check to see if I have processed everything. Moreover, it separates business expenditure from personal, including all the related cash flow.
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Old Mar 6, 11, 3:59 am
  #29  
 
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My Dad still keeps his recepits for everything.....
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Old Mar 6, 11, 12:32 pm
  #30  
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Mine used to be a bit of a mess, but I now scribble the details I need on the back of the individual receipts and every few days empty the appropriate receipts into a plastic A4 file.

That then gets processed every few weeks when I have some dead time at work.

Anything much over 1K gets expensed on an ad-hoc basis to ensure cash flow doesn't get too out of control.
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