Managing Employee Expenses for Remote Teams
As companies shift towards remote work, managing employee expenses has become a crucial task for managers. Remote teams often have different expenses than those in a traditional office setting, and it's important to have a system in place to ensure that employees are reimbursed for their necessary expenses. In this article, we will discuss strategies for managing employee expenses for remote teams and provide tips for implementing a successful system.
Identifying Reimbursable Expenses
One of the first steps in managing employee expenses is to identify which expenses are reimbursable. This can vary depending on the company's policies on what expenses it will cover. Typically, expenses that can be reimbursed for remote employees include:
- Home office expenses, such as equipment (e.g. desk, chair, computer, etc.) and internet/phone bills
- Travel expenses related to work, such as flights, hotels, and transportation for business meetings or company events
- Professional development expenses, such as courses, workshops, and industry conferences
- Software or subscription fees necessary for the employee to perform their job duties
- Other miscellaneous expenses, such as office supplies and postage
Once identified, it's important to communicate these policies clearly to employees so they know what expenses they can submit for reimbursement.
Implementing an Expense Reporting System
Once the reimbursable expenses have been identified, the next step is to implement an expense reporting system. This can be done through a software platform or through a manual process if resources are limited. When choosing a software platform, it's important to consider the following:
- Can it integrate with other systems, such as accounting and payroll software?
- Can it track expenses in detail and generate reports?
- Is it user-friendly and easy for employees to use?
Manual processes, on the other hand, can include using spreadsheets or paper forms. While manual processes may be simpler in the short term, they are more time-consuming and may not provide the same level of accuracy and reporting capabilities as a software platform.
Eliminate employee reimbursements by utilising Digital Corporate Credit Cards
A digital corporate credit card can be a useful tool in managing employee expenses for remote teams. These cards provide a secure and convenient way for employees to make business-related purchases without using their personal cards, removing the need for reimbursements completely. They also allow for easy tracking and reporting of expenses.
Some benefits of using digital corporate credit cards include:
- Real-time tracking and reporting of expenses
- Easy expense categorisation and approval
- Reduced risk of fraud and errors
- Improved cost control and budgeting
The important thing to establish if you’re choosing to go down the digital corporate card route, is to set guidelines and policies for their use – such as spending limits, merchant restrictions and requiring itemised receipts.
Pro tip 💡: We breakdown the key features you should look out for in a digital corporate credit card in our article - Choosing the right corporate credit card for your business.
Reviewing and Approving Expenses
Once employees have submitted their expenses, it's important to review and approve them in a timely manner. This can be done through setting up an expense approval workflow with a designated manager or through a committee. It's important to have a workflow in place to ensure that expenses are reviewed and approved in a timely manner so that employees can be reimbursed on time.
Providing Clear Guidelines
Lastly, once you have your expense management process established, it’s important to communicate it to employees through document guidelines or policies to ensure the process is adhered to.This can include a step-by-step guide for employees on what expenses are reimbursable, how to submit expenses, and how expenses will be reviewed and approved. The key thing to keep in mind here is to communicate these guidelines in a clear and concise manner.
Pro tip 💡: Use bullet points, flow charts or graphs, and include screenshots of the software employees will use or an instructional video employees can watch and reference whenever they submit an expense.
Free resource: Need help creating a policy? Download our Expense Reimbursement Policy Template here.
Managing employee expenses for remote teams can be a challenging task, but with the right strategies in place, it can be done successfully. By identifying reimbursable expenses, implementing an expense reporting system, utilising digital corporate credit cards, reviewing and approving expenses, and providing clear guidelines, managers can ensure that employees are reimbursed for their necessary expenses.
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