If you have employees, there's a good chance you deal with expense reports on a regular basis.
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A dependable expense report processing system itemizes the expenses your employees incur during the course of business and streamlines the process of translating expenses into accurate financial data.
Unfortunately, many workers take a casual approach to expense reporting. In addition to frustrating your accounting department, casual expense reporting restricts your ability to monitor the funds that are being spent on things like travel, supplies and other business necessities. In some cases, sporadic reporting processes can even be used to cover up unauthorized expenses or fraud.
The bottom line is that you can't afford to take a hands-off approach to your company's expense reporting process. In the old days, employees would pencil in their expenses on a standard form, attach their receipts and drop it in accounting's inbox. But these days, expense report resources have taken a technological turn. Here are a handful of the technologies that are now being applied to expense reports for small businesses.
- Spreadsheets. Many small businesses rely on MS Excel or other spreadsheets for employee expense reporting. The advantage of a spreadsheet solution is that it doesn't require you to purchase any additional software resources and your staff is already familiar with the application. But the downside is that a simple spreadsheet template doesn't offer the features and benefits of more advanced solutions.
- Web-based expense reports. Web-based expense report solutions are more flexible than spreadsheets. Users visit a central online location to access their individual expense accounts from their desk, laptop or mobile phone. If your company has a large number of traveling employees, web-based expense report solutions will give you current information about employee expenditures. Even better, you can monitor your employees' expenses from any Internet connection in the world.
- Expense reporting software. Expense reporting software gives employees and managers a full range of reporting features that aren't available through other expense report options. One-click approvals, expense graphing, sophisticated analysis and even direct deposit reimbursement are all possible using the right piece of expense report software. If you decide to go this route, evaluate several providers and select the solution that is most suited to your company's specific needs.