Thoughts on Work Expenses

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In my field of work, I have to deal regularly with work expenses.  How my company deals with it is that the employee (me) usually pays for expenses out of pocket and then we get reimbursed after we file our expenses.

Every company is different, but at my company, it can take up to 3 – 4 weeks from when I file my expenses to when the cash gets into my bank account.

From my 3+ years working I’ve learned a thing or two about filing for expenses and wanted to sum them up in a post.

Know When you get Paid for Expenses

This is probably a no-brainer, but I’m gonna toss it in there.

My expenses are disbursed at the same time as my paycheque, and I am paid bi-weekly.  Therefore, I need to know which day to get my expenses in by, or else I won’t see that cash on my next paycheque, but the one after that.  Which can be up to 3 or 4 weeks.  Good to know if you are low on cash, or don’t have the cash to cover the credit card payments.

File Expenses Regularly

While I did take a business trip recently, most of my day-to-day expenses for work include mileage to client meetings.  Sure, $20 here and there might not seem like much so some people, but it all adds up.

I’ve had co-workers “hoard” their expenses until it gets to a more “substantial” sum before submitting their expense claims.  I can’t count the number of times a co-worker has proudly announced their expenses tallied up to $600 or $800 or even $1,000.

The way I see it, my co-worker just lent the company that amount interest free for the last few months when they could have had the money working for them – at the very least earning some interest.

I try to file my expenses weekly.  Not only do I get my money faster (even if it’s just $100 at a time), I also remember more accurately the mileage and any other work related expenses I had.

Know Company Policy on what is Expensable

Most companies have policies in their handbook outlining when they believe are reasonable expenses amounts.  If you are unsure, or do not agree, always speak to your manager or super visor about it before you spend any money.  If the company does not agree with what you deem as “reasonable”, in some cases, they may not reimburse you the full amount.

For instance, before I went on my business trip, I checked the company handbook for the food expense allowance while traveling (may differ from in-town meetings) and checked with my supervisor regarding purchase of supplies I may need while on my business trip.

Also, check what your company’s policy is for missing receipts.  I try to be extra careful of keeping all my receipts, but sometimes, a lunch at Timmies just slips by me and I forget to ask for the receipt.   Oops 🙂

Most companies have allowances for purchase of safety equipment, if required for the occupation.  Make yourself aware of these benefits and take advantage of them.

Always Double Check

Once you finally get paid for your expenses, do a quick check to make sure it matches the amount you filed for.  Everyone makes mistakes, sometimes, so a quick glance never hurts.

I usually make an extra copy of my expense report for my files, including all reciepts.

Do you have work related expenses?  What are some of your tips for expense filing?

Cheers,

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4 Comments

Filed under Finance

4 responses to “Thoughts on Work Expenses

  1. You’re so right about the interest-free loan. It’s the same thing with tax refunds. People act like they’re getting this money for free when it fact it’s already theirs. As part of my job I manage reimbursements and I always try to process them ASAP for my coworkers.

  2. Everything in an Excel sheet as I spend it, then the receipts kept in envelopes, labeled by week and purpose.

    It’s the only way I managed to get organized without being overwhelmed with a month of receipts.

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