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To Expense or Not To Expense? A Guide to Business Travel Expenses

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When you travel as part of your job, expensing things back to your company can be tricky. Knowing when to expense and when not to expense can be crucial for your wallet as well as your company’s. Follow our dos and don’ts of expensing to ensure you are being reimbursed appropriately all while maintaining trust with your employer.

Do pay with a credit card

The 30 day payment window allows time to get reimbursed by your company before having to pay off the card. Plus, you’ll be helping to build your credit and possibly earning points or miles if your bank offers that perk.

Don’t round up

If something costs $48, don’t expense $50. Even that little amount extra can add up for the company and if you get caught, can diminish the trust they have in you.

Do keep documentation

Most companies will ask for a copy of all of the receipts from your trip so make sure you grab one whenever possible. If you can’t get a receipt, make sure you have a notepad or paper handy to keep a detailed record of all your transactions.

Don’t forget your mileage

Companies usually reimburse you by the mile if you are traveling by car to your destination. This reimbursement can cover gas as well as wear and tear on your vehicle. As a general rule, when you are adding up your miles, subtract the number of miles you typically drive during your daily commute.

Do submit your expense report in a timely manner

Within a couple days of returning from your business trip, make sure you turn in your completed expense report. Don’t let it sit around for too long to avoid misplacing any receipts or upsetting your HR department.

Don’t forget to tip

Companies usually reimburse you for reasonable tips given to waiters, taxi drivers and baggage handlers. Just make sure to document the tip on your receipts.

Do know your company policy

Probably our most important rule: make sure you know your company’s travel expense policy before you leave on your trip to avoid any kind of mix up.

Don’t take advantage

As a rule of thumb, don’t expense things you wouldn’t normally buy with your own money. For example, one glass of $10 wine at dinner is probably fine while one bottle of $100 wine at dinner probably isn’t something you would normally indulge in. Other examples of things that you shouldn’t be expensing include upgraded hotel rooms, movie rentals and snacks from the hotel mini bar.

Does your company have an expense policy in place? If not, did you know Direct Travel can help with expense management? We assist with pre-trip approval to reimbursement and everything in between.

Why work with a travel management company?

Great question. Discover how Direct Travel can save you time and money.

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