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What are the common types of expenses?

Employees can claim a whole range of expenses when they are conducting business on behalf of their company. Every employer will have specific guidelines for what can and can’t be claimed for, but there are some common types of expenses that one would expect to be included in any expense and travel policy.

Travel checklist

Transportation costs where the business is away from home or the usual place of work

Most companies will offer compensation for transportation costs when an employee is required to work away from their usual place of work or from home. Common expenses in relation to travel and transportation would be:

  • Flight costs and related taxes
  • Train fares
  • Taxi or Uber fares
  • Car hire fees

Lodging

If working away, employees can claim for hotel or other lodging fees such as AirBnB or short term rentals. Most companies set specific limits on the costs per night in accommodation, so employees will need to find a room that’s within policy. Modern travel and expense management systems can facilitate this by intuitively searching for accommodation based on any policy rules and automatically create an expense claim once booked.

Eating away from home

Most companies will reimburse employees for food and beverages purchased when staying away from home. Companies may have different policies for “day trips” versus overnight stays. If an employee is having an overnight stay of one or more days, most expense policies allow the employee to claim for breakfast, lunch and dinner costs.

Some companies set a per diem (daily budget) for miscellaneous expenses spent when away from home and this per diem includes food and beverage and tips. As expenses are claimed against this category, expense management systems automatically deduct totals away from the per diem amount making it easy for employees to stay within limits.

Entertaining prospects, partners or customers

Another common expense is entertaining business acquaintances from other companies e.g. partners, customers and prospects. Many companies will set strict limits on how much can be spent per person so that they avoid any suggestion that they are bribing a potential customer. “Entertainment” usually relates to business dinners or drinks, but could also be corporate entertainment such as sporting events.

Communications

When travelling away from their usual workplace or home, employees may incur communications costs. If they do not have a work mobile phone, they may need to make calls on their personal mobile phone and claim for those. Though rare these days, there may be occasions where an employee needs to pay to access WiFi, either at a hotel or even at a cafe.

Miscellaneous less common expenses

Other expenses that can occur but are typically less common could be dry cleaning or laundry costs – usually for much longer stays away and clearly defined in their company’s expenses policy

Employees should always check their travel and expenses policy before incurring costs out of their own pocket on behalf of their employer. Companies that operate a dynamic expenses policy – which assess the need for spend in the first instance – allow for greater flexibility based on the circumstances of the trip and when employees find themselves in “out of the ordinary” situations.

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most ridiculous expense claims

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