Companies that send employees out on business trips have an obligation (or at least a tax incentive) to cover at least some of the costs that come from traveling, whether that be the gasoline and fast-food lunches of a travelling salesperson or the air fare and hotel bill of a convention visitor. Different companies have different ways to handle the expenses, such as a corporate credit card, a regular allowance, and compensation after the fact, but in every case there needs to be some expense tracking.
Most employees aren’t very fond of expense tracking for the same reason most people don’t keep a daily budget: it may be important since it’s about money, but that doesn’t stop it from being repetitive and dull. You may need to keep a detailed budget if you find yourself spending more money than you’re bringing in, but for the most part people avoid the busywork of transcribing receipts and hanging onto bills unless they have to.
However, business trips are one of those required occasions. Even a business that wants to make things easy for their employees with a simple daily allowance has to know how that allowance is spent, because they take different tax write-offs for expenses like food, transportation, and lodgings.
Still, people don’t call this the Information Age for nothing. A good expense tracking software can make gathering and delivering information like food receipts and hotel bills simple and quick, and with a smartphone app an employee can record each expense as soon as he or she pays it off. Reporting expenses can be a lot less annoying when you can fold it into an existing ritual like pulling out your wallet to pay for something, and doing everything as it happens means spending less time on it at the end of the day.
Few people have ever really had fun with travel expense tracking, but it’s not the sort of thing people can afford to ignore, either as employees or employers. But whether it’s fun or not, it’s part of the job, and it’s important in a way only money matters can be. Still, it doesn’t have to be a hard part of the job thanks to modern automation and software applications, so while you still have to do it, you can at least avoid wasting too much time on it.