Smartphones and tablets have enabled small business owners to be more mobile than ever, but with that mobility comes the ever-present challenge of keeping up with expenses. If you’re still stuffing receipts into the front pocket of your laptop bag, there’s an easier way.
“If I'm not traveling, I'm not earning,” says motivational keynote speaker and workshop leader Barry Maher. “And that means a wallet so crammed full of expense receipts that it sometimes cuts off the circulation to my left leg when I'm sitting on the plane.”
Many entrepreneurs report the same problem. Technology has made it easier than ever to keep up with expenses, whether you’re moving from business meeting to business meeting or rushing to catch a plane. Instead of shoving all of those crumpled receipts into his pocket, Maher and others could easily photograph those receipts using the camera on a smartphone or tablet. Those charges are automatically added to an ongoing expense report to save data entry time later.
Taking a photo of your receipts help make your expense reporting easier and more efficient while you are on the go. Here’re some tips to help:
- To take the perfect photo, make sure that you don’t hold the receipt in your hand. Try to use a flat surface and place the receipt straight up and down if you can help it. Also, make sure to have a great light source or use your flash.
- Use a credit card that syncs automatically to your expense management system (this makes it much faster and more accurate to submit your expense reporters)
- When you have downtime process your receipts– take a photo of receipt when you pay, create the expense report while on the plane, in a cab or waiting to check into your hotel. Utilizing a few free moments while on the road will make it easier to quickly file your expense claims.
- Submit your report at end of trip after all the credit card transactions have cleared. This makes it much easier to compare expense reports to credit card transactions.
Many applications are available to allow easy expense automation, tracking and reporting, but before you start snapping away after your next business lunch, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- IRS Compliance. Every business is subject to an IRS audit of its books. For this reason, it’s imperative you choose a solution that ensures IRS compliance at every stage. Receipt images must be legible and meet all current IRS requirements, which are subject to change at any time. By choosing a professional expensing app like Concur Mobile, your small business will know each phase of expense reporting will survive an audit unscathed.
- Trip Continuity. The ability to track expenses is useless if you have to spend hours organizing everything. Each expense should be categorized with other expenses in that same category to help with budgeting and billing. For frequent travelers, try an expense-tracking app that organizes an entire trip, including reservations, itineraries, and expenses.
- Get Paid Sooner. Gathering images of receipts and tracking expenses is only the first part of the process. Your software should also see you through to reimbursements, including obtaining management approvals. Management and administrative staff should be able to log in and sign off on expense reports in order to expedite the process, including getting reimbursed.
- Reporting Capabilities. Whether your business has one employee or 500, you’ll likely want to keep track of where your money is being spent. Regularly getting information on expenses can help you enact changes in your organization that can save money and streamline processes. It also has the added benefit of detecting fraud, even if unintentional, which can severely impact a business if not caught early.
As your small business adopts an automated expense tool, it’s important you choose the right solution. Concur Mobile has the security, reliability, and Cloud features necessary to help your small business save time and money while tracking expenses.