In Canada, the United States, and throughout the rest of the world, when you go on a business trip, you’re officially on the clock. This means your employer has a legal obligation to cover your basic expenses, although they do have the option to cover more than just the necessities – they should have a list of what’s expensed and what isn’t in the employee handbook, and if it isn’t then you need to ask and get their answer in writing.
Still, the unfortunate fact is that if you want to compensated for spending your own money or if you don’t want your corporate credit card purchases to come back to haunt you, you need to be keeping track of your expenses so your HR department or your accountant will approve your expense report. Not only does this mean recording every time you spend money, just in case, it also means collecting all the receipts and bills so that you can bring them home and attach them (physically or digitally) to your final report.
Fortunately, modern technology has made keeping track of your expenses and entering them into your reports much easier than it ever was before. In modern expense report apps, program automation is simplifying things on both sides of the software: On the corporate side, the HR personnel can assign certain kinds of expenses to be automatically approved or rejected, and on the employee side you get the benefit of having that instant reaction along with the ability to drop receipts right into the program by using your phone camera and importing the picture.
Of course, your smartphone still can’t automatically register what you pay for and when (not yet, anyway), so you still need to be keeping track of your expenses, but with the right software you can at least make it an easier and faster process than ever before. Expensing your business trip is as necessary as it is annoying, but at least now it can be over and done with in no time at all.