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How to Encourage Departments to Accurately Report Expenses


Your company incurs plenty of expenses, especially when you have a global workforce you send out on a regular basis. Sales reps, upper management, and remote employees have expenses that get covered by the company or are reimbursed to the employee. Accurate expense accounting helps you forecast revenue and future expenses, handle department spending, and work on your budgeting for future quarters. Sometimes departments and employees need a bit of encouragement to stay on top of their expense reports.

1. Make it easy for departments and employees to track their expenses.

When reporting expenses is a major hassle, your departments and employees may choose to take the easy route and avoid it. This situation ends up creating a nightmare for accounting, so it's important to provide user-friendly ways to accurately report any costs they incur. For departments, look into project management software that tracks expenses for a particular project, task, or even individual milestones. Putting expenses in an app the department uses already puts everything in one place in a form they can easily access. For employee travel expenses, consider smartphone apps to scan in receipts and track credit card expenses. These apps often auto generate expense reports for importing into an accounting software.

2. Audit expenses on a regular basis.

Expenses can get out of control, and unfortunately you also sometimes run into employees gaming the system. Check expenses on a regular basis and compare them to other departments and employees to see whether a significant difference exists for each part of the company. Investigate major disparities to understand whether there's a spending issue, fraud, or a misunderstanding on company expense expectations.

3. Set hard deadlines for reimbursement reporting.

Nothing motivates departments quite as much as money coming directly out of their own pocket. Make it clear the company won't cover expenses that aren't properly reported within a set period after it occurred. If the majority of your expenses come from large-scale projects and business trips, attach the deadline to the conclusion of these events. It only takes employees paying their own expenses a few times before they start sending in expense reports promptly.

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