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Expense reimbursement form
Name of the employee
by next Wednesday
Department of the employee
by next Thursday
Payment method used by the employee
by next Thursday
Expense amount
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What is an expense reimbursement form

An expense reimbursement form is a form that the employees of certain companies have to fill out to claim the reimbursement of a charge the employee paid on behalf of the company. This can be airline tickets, meals or software subscriptions.

The form is usually meant to be the starting point of the the reimbursement process. Following the completion of the form, the finance department will double check the proper completion of the form and will pass it through different stages of validation.

The first validation is from the employee’s manager who will receive the form and confirm the expense was business-related. Following validations are done by the finance department to ensure compliance with tax authorities before processing the reimbursement of the expense to the employee.


What fields are present in an expense reimbursement form?

The expense reimbursement form is composed with various fields that serve as a reference to understand the scope of the expense.

We often find the following fields:

  • The name of the employee
  • The department the employee works in
  • The scope of the expense: this field is needed to understand if the expense is personal (like a business trip) or team-related (like reimbursement for a software subscription). This is often needed to properly identify the budget
  • The category of the reimbursement: for tax and proper accounting reasons, it is often necessary to properly identify what the expense represents. For example, in some countries, taxes from travel expenses are different from taxes for food expenses. Filing out this field helps the accounting department properly categorize the expense and deduce the right taxes.
  • How the expense was paid: credit card, check or bank transfer
  • The amount of the expense
  • The name of the product or service provider
  • The employee’s bank account information when the company doesn’t do bulk reimbursements

Most of the time, the employee will be the only person filling out the form but some companies will add additional fields for managers and accountants to confirm certain information like which budget should the expense be linked to or which tax rate to apply.


Why do you need an expense reimbursement form for?

An expense reimbursement form has two main objectives linked to internal control.

First, it serves an accounting purpose. By collecting information on the nature of the expense, management and accounting can properly control budget spend and avoid rogue spend, which is the spend that is unaccounted for in a company.

Second, it’s used for legal reason. By making sure managers and accounting department control the nature of the expense, the company covers itself from risks linked to fraud

As a result, an expense reimbursement process is usually the first process n newly-appointed finance team will put in a place with a properly created form, usually from a pre-existing PDF template.


Where can you find an expense reimbursement form in PDF, excel or word

An expense reimbursement form template can be found on some accounting software’s websites like Quickbooks. However, most of the time it’s your accountant or finance department that creates the form tailored to your company’s target process.

We offer a template form on this website that you can use for your internal process. The template can be customize to match your organization structure and workflows. After editing the form you can whether use it directly within our software to digitalize the entire process or download it in PDF, xls or word.

Expense Reimbursement and Process Maps

A process map is a planning tool that allows employees to see the order of procedures. These are commonly called flowcharts and can be utilized in a variety of departments at a company. Expense reimbursement should have a process map associated with it as at times this process becomes complicated. A clear plan of action for who to submit these reimbursement forms can help ensure employees are paid back for expenses they’ve incurred. 

The process map can also allow for expense reimbursement and proper organization of expenses. The identification of certain employees that seem to splurge on business trips can lead to policies to prohibit this. Mapping out processes can allow for brainstorming to solve problems that have been plaguing a company. Below are ways a process map can help with expense reimbursement:

  • Helps organize expenses for accounting and can help track individual employee spend. 
  • Reduce confusion on what to do with receipts.
  • Using an app to track expenses can help automate much of this process.

Process maps can help with numerous areas of a business and not just expense reimbursement. Take a look at how a process map can improve your business today!


Exit Interviews and Expense Reimbursement

Exit interviews can provide valuable feedback about the expense reimbursement process. There is a chance it takes weeks or months for an employee to be paid back for an expense they took on personally on behalf of the company. A few month delay in reimbursing someone for booking a block of hotel rooms for a conference can lead an employee to financially struggle. Below are questions that can help the expense reimbursement process during an exit interview

  • How long on average did it take for you to be reimbursed?
  • Was the process clear for expense reimbursement?
  • Did you have to follow-up to receive the money back?
  • Do you see the expense reimbursement process as positive? What could make it better?

Exit interviews can provide the only feedback on expense reimbursement. Current employees might be afraid to voice concerns with the fear of the concern being labeled a complaint. Do not underestimate the solutions given during exit interviews as they are at times brutally honest.

Standard Operating Procedures Can Make Expense Reimbursement Seamless 

A standard operating procedure is a written set of rules and processes that need to be followed. These procedures take the guessing games out of expense reimbursement. SOPs can usually be referred to in company manuals or in onboarding paperwork for new employees. Below are some examples of standard operating procedures that could impact employee reimbursement: 

  • Submit expenses with name, department, and category of expense.
  • Expenses must be submitted within 60 days of being incurred.
  • Questions about expenses should be directed to the accounting department. 
  • If in question, ask accounting if an expense will be reimbursed. Assuming can lead to conflict. 

A set plan for expense reimbursement needs to be created. A company wants its employees to spend company money to help the business reach specific goals. Tying the hands of employees by expecting them to cover expenses and wait for months to be paid back is unacceptable. 

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