If you’ve ever been on a business trip, you know that travelling on behalf of your company adds more than a few wrinkles to the usual road trip or vacation. It’s not just that you have places you need to go and people you need to see, it’s the fact that you have to keep track of just about everything you do and everything you pay for so long as you’re there on business.
By Canadian and US law, and internationally, if you have to go somewhere on business, that business has to pay you at least enough to cover your basic needs, and that’s aside from your regular income. Sometimes a company will pay for more than just the basics, but they are never happy to pay for more than they expect, which is why they almost universally demand a paper trail for reporting expenses.
This demand often leads to business trips that feel like all you get to do is work, mingle with clients and customers, and then head back to the hotel room to copy, record, and store a small mountain of receipts. Reporting expenses isn’t the way anyone wants to spend an evening in a lovely town or a week in a foreign country, but the alternatives are either not getting compensated for work-related expenditures or going through a tense interview with your boss about your spending habits.
Fortunately, modern technology is making this common annoyance less annoying. Today’s expense reporting software is much more than just an optimized spreadsheet, it’s a way for the accounting and HR departments to keep in touch with a travelling employee. It’s a way for the employee to see at a glance what his or her expense budget covers, what it doesn’t, and how much of a budget he or she has to spare on hotels, food, gas, and more.
Expense software doesn’t make reporting expenses any more exciting or fun, but it can cut down on the time you spend on it and the amount of paperwork you need to do. That means more free time to spend doing whatever you want to do on a paid trip away from home.