If there is one thing that is sure to delay the processing of my submitted travel expense reports, ?it is me not choosing the right expense category for an expense. And since my company has lots of GL codes embedded in the accounting system, I have ample opportunities to choose the wrong expense category.
For Example:- Expensing Business Lunch
I can eat lunch four times during my business travels and have each meal call for a different GL code when I upload my receipt to my online expense report software account:
- If I pay only my share (at a trade show lunch, say) I should I enter it as a Business Meal. That’s clear.
- The moment a prospect or client shows up, is it a business meal if they insist on paying their share? I err on the side of business meal in this case.
- If I pick up the tab, naturally it becomes entertainment. But if two clients show up (that trade show again!) I must allocate it between client codes, right?
- Then again, some lunches are more formal presentations, focused on getting new clients to better understand what my company does, making the lunch a Promotional Event expense.?
- The accounting department wants me to get this coding right the first time, and the software makes it easy to apply the codes. I still have to makes sure I understand the policy, though.
On the other hand, the online expense report software we use allows an administrator in the finance department to kick back the expense item without having to kick back the whole report, so I get a break there! And, I get instant notification, so I can fix the issue within hours to keep my reimbursement on schedule!
What’s Your Policy?
In the end, I make my best effort to get my expense report coded correctly and those who approve my expenses seem okay with my selections so far.
What do you do? Are traveling meals the only expense category where we have these issues? Are there others that your organization obsesses over and creates lots of arcane GL codes to master?