The main purpose of expense report software is to log travel costs and other expenses that an employee on a business trip needs to record and itemize in order to justify payments and reimbursements made during the trip. Companies have to fund business trips separately from paying the salary, commissions, or wages of the person on the trip, after all, but at the same time, they don’t have to fund everything.
Expense report software speeds up this necessary paperwork by taking it digital, and by fully integrating with mobile devices so that travellers can take photos of receipts and attach them to the expense documents. Another helpful feature you can sometimes find is a way to convert currency values on the fly to make costs easy to see. You can even search the database to find trends over time.
Once you add up all the features, it becomes clear that expense report software isn’t just for travelling costs, it can work for any aspect of accounts payable accounting. The program may be optimized for travel expenses, but it’s versatile enough and powerful enough to help with:
- Personal business costs. If you run a small company, or if you’re self-employed, you may be able to use software of this sort to manage your expenses and minimise your tax burden.
- Capital costs like office supplies, technical equipment, and industrial machinery.
- Setting up a household budget. It may be overkill in this case, but if you already have the software you might as well get as much use out of it as you can.
Of course, there’s no real need to stretch expense report software so far if you already own a complete, integrated accounts-payable software suite that covers every aspect of human resources and expenses. A suite that fully integrates expense reports with budget management, salaries and bonuses, and everything else that keeps a CFO awake at night would be able to help in every situation, although a suite like that would be too expensive for a casual purchase.
Still, one program isn’t a suite. So if all you have is an expense report program, you should feel free to use it like the overgrown spreadsheet program it is.