A quick online search for “expense report template” will bring up dozens of different results, each with a different set of categories and a different format. However, you shouldn’t just pick the first one on the list as the model for your own report: different templates are better for different companies and different travelling employees, so you should make sure your categories make sense for what you need to know. After all, being precise about information you don’t need just adds extra work for you and for your employees.
This one should be straightforward no matter where your employee goes. The hotel budget might overlap with entertainment and food depending on what an employee orders from room service, but that’s easy enough to separate on a hotel’s itemized bill.
Transportation costs include money spent on gas, tolls, plane tickets, rental cars, taxi fares, and anything else an employee needs to spend to get from point A to point B. An expense report template often divides this category into “Transportation” and “Fuel,” but if your company’s business trips don’t involve a lot of driving in personal vehicles, there’s no reason to divide the two costs. On the other hand, if most of your travelling employees drive, listing out each expense might let you plan out a better route.
Food is an important item in any business trip budget, but the amount you allow for food can vary significantly thanks to the variety of restaurants out there and the vastly different prices they demand. For some employees, it’s fast food and convenience stores throughout the trip, but for others, mealtimes are an opportunity to entertain clients and vendors, and that’s obviously not something that should happen at a fast food chain. If that’s the case, it may help to divide food costs by meal so you can see when the meal budget might overlap with entertainment.
While an entertainment budget isn’t as critical as food or lodging, it’s certainly a nice perk to offer a high-ranking employee and you’ll want your representatives to have some money to spare so they won’t feel tempted to let a client or vendor pay for everything. Entertainment can overlap with a few other categories, but there’s no real point in subdividing this category on an expense report template.
By taking into account where your employees go, how they get there, and what they do at their destination, you can find or create an expense report template that perfectly matches your needs. And remember: more items on the template don’t make it better, but precision is always important.