Keeping track of your expenses is hardly the most fun aspect of a business trip. It may be necessary, especially if your company is waiting until after the trip is over to compensate you for the plane ticket, the hotel, and everything else, but writing up an expense report isn’t the most fun anyone has in the evening.
Then there are all the complications that arise as soon as you decide to have a little fun in a new place on your own. Buying souvenirs and going to visit a local museum typically aren’t covered by your employer (unless they’re unusually generous), but they may still want to have a full accounting of where you went and what you bought. And if you happen to bring a client along with you, or if a client invites you to talk business on a golf course or over lunch at a fancy restaurant, how do you classify those events?
You can probably find the answers to these questions in your employee handbook, or else you can call up the home office to get an official ruling, but that just adds more time that you have to spend with your expense report. Still, if you want to get your money back from the company or you want your next per diem allowance, you need to fill out that expense report.
Fortunately, modern technology is making it much easier to keep track of expenses, to get and track your reimbursements, and to get instant feedback on whether the company will cover a particular expense and to what degree. A good smartphone with an expense report app can let you log a purchase immediately after you make it, take a photo of the receipt so you can attach it to the entry, and hear back from your boss within minutes after asking for a clarification or an explanation. You can even store your employee manual on your phone.
Filling out your expenses in fine detail is in your best interest, and so is investing in new technology if it makes the process quicker, easier, and more likely to get into the details. And since a good expense report helps everyone, it’s plain to see that good expense technology is helpful, too.