Pluto is the fastest way to reimburse your employees
Automate your reimbursement process by submitting expenses through Whatsapp, automating your approval workflow, and receiving reimbursements in seconds.
Pluto definitely helps the business manage their operational spending in a most efficient manner and provide visibility of how the forecast would look like. Before Pluto, me as a CFO had to wait for a month-end report to understand the spending and frequency of the same but now we have much better visibility on each department and their frequency of spending.
Companies in UAE love Pluto!
What Pluto Reimbursements can do for you
Get access to a reimbursement platform that saves your business hundreds of hours in managing expenses.
Ensure expenses are reviewed and approved by the appropriate parties before reimbursement.
Automate expense filing through OCR using Pluto's AI.
Issue unlimited corporate cards and eliminate the need for out-of-pocket expenses.
Get notified on Whatsapp when an expense is made and snap an image of your receipt to send to Pluto’s Whatsapp Receipt Bot.
Reimburse all your employees by exporting reimbursement reports and making instant mass payments using your bank.
Monitor your company's expenses in real-time, allowing you to make timely adjustments for better budget management.
Hassle-free and error-free employee reimbursements
Create approval workflows tailored to your company's structure for a more efficient review process, ensuring expenses that require a manager's attention are flagged and reviewed accordingly.
Establish manager hierarchies
Streamline your approval process by setting up manager hierarchies, ensuring that expenses are reviewed and approved by the appropriate managers before being sent to the finance team for payout.
Keep track of all reimbursement requests and approvals in one place and get notified in real-time as new requests or approvals are made.
Maintain an activity log for all requests and communication
Multi-Level Coding: Add multiple levels of detail by importing GL codes from your accounting platform, mapping them to Pluto categories, and exporting them into your accounting platforms.
Advanced Tax Tracking: Sync tax rates from your accounting platform or set custom tax codes and descriptions for every expense policy
Accounting view-only access
Protect your financial records by granting external accountants "view-only" access, allowing them to review and analyze your financial data without the ability to make any changes.
Deep customer care
Helping your business grow with exceptional customer care and 24/7 support
Pluto is committed to providing excellent customer service, with a dedicated team to assist and support you with any of your needs.
Resources for finance leaders
Efficient Receipt Management For UAE Businesses
Collecting, storing, and otherwise managing receipts is essential to a well-oiled expense reporting machine.
Each receipt serves as confirmation of payment processing between yourself and the customer or vendor. You also need expense and sales receipts to file taxes and maintain your peace of mind.
Unfortunately, while saying receipt management is easy, the whole process itself is daunting. Tracking hundreds, thousands, even millions of employee and customer receipts leaves loopholes for fraud and misreporting.
Physical expense receipts are especially susceptible to being lost, damaged, or fading with time.
Fortunately, there’s a better way to do it: digital receipt management with Pluto.
- Automate more of the expense management process
- Reduce the risk of fraud and inaccuracies
- Create more efficient workflows and financial departments
- And overall streamline modern business operations
While you probably can’t eliminate 100% of paper receipts from your workday, you can still improve your process with an increasingly-digital footprint!
What is Receipt Management and Why Do You Need It?
Receipt management is the process of collecting, tracking, and storing business receipts.
Traditionally, receipt management is handled by internal finance teams. These employees collect various receipts, track costs in your accounting software, and store them for later. If necessary, the accounting team will also manually sort each expense.
A well-run protocol helps businesses:
- Simplify employee reimbursement programs
- Track and report tax deductions
- Provide proper proof during a tax audit
- Streamline expense reports and budgets
- Combat internal fraud and inauthentic chargebacks
- Avoid eating repair or replacement costs for items under warranty
- Calculate and improve long-term profitability
But there isn’t just one kind of receipt management system. Today, businesses have to wrestle with printed receipts, e-receipts, and even (gah!) handwritten receipts.
The mix is frustrating for businesses that have to follow several procedures just to reconcile the books.
Difficulties of Manual Receipt Management
Today, there are three basic ways to handle receipts directly:
- Manual receipt management involves handling, tracking, and storing paper receipts
- Digitization receipt management scans physical receipts to digitize the tracking process
- Digital-only receipt management is used for online or digitally generated receipts
While many businesses are moving toward digitization and digital-only receipts, some businesses are stuck in the dark ages. (The kind that involves typing physical receipt information into a digital spreadsheet.)
And as we’ll see below, manual entry strategies come with some…problems.
Easily Lost or Damaged Receipts
Perhaps the most obvious problem with physically tracking expense receipts is that there’s so much that can go wrong. Lost, damaged, or faded receipts make the business expense tracking process that much harder.
Even if the employee who spent the money doesn’t drop their receipt, it’s possible for paperwork to get lost on a desk somewhere. And if you need to find a receipt two years later? Better hope it was filed properly and hasn’t faded completely.
Consumes Human Resources
Manual receipt management is an extremely hours-intensive process.
Your financial team has to collect invoices, type their data into your accounting software, and double-check their work. Then, they have to reconcile business expenses against company credit card statements and track down potential instances of fraud or misreporting.
Not only does this require a lot of time, but it also impacts employee productivity. Every hour an accountant spends tracking receipts is an hour of productivity lost elsewhere.
Leaves Room for Human Error
Aside from the time and human resource cost, manual receipt management presents the potential for human error. And unlike on the product line or in customer service, every reporting mistake risks an unfavorable tax audit.
Even the simplest receipt management and tracking process involves several steps from collection to reconciliation. Every stage is an opportunity for an employee to get distracted, mistype a name or number, or duplicate entries. In bigger cases, they might even duplicate a payment, costing you more money.
And even if you catch the mistakes before they’re submitted, that’s more human hours wasted double-checking and correcting completed work.
Increases Fraud and Misreporting Risk
The risk of fraud is higher in manual receipt management programs, and instances of fraud may be harder to detect. Types of fraud that commonly crop up in expense reporting include:
- Inflated claim amounts
- Claiming personal costs on the business’ dime
- Submitting expense reports twice
- Falsifying “proof” to claim for money that wasn’t spent
Unfortunately, manual receipt management makes these kinds of fraud more likely and difficult to catch. For example, if the employee who authenticates receipts is committing or permitting the fraud, it’s harder to detect until after you’ve lost money.
Over time, even small acts of fraud can have massive financial consequences.
Contributes to Employee Dissatisfaction
For many companies, employee reimbursement programs contribute both to the need for manual receipt management – and to employee dissatisfaction.
Think about it. In a modern, tech-savvy business world, why should employees have to pay out of pocket, ever?
Virtual cards and online-based businesses have all but eliminated the need for an employee to front your expenses.
But if you’re still stuck doing manual receipt management, chances are, your employees are still submitting reimbursement tickets. (And grumbling about the time it takes to get paid back.)
And that’s not even touching on the frustration, tedium, and headaches manual receipt management programs cause your high-paid finance teams.
Jacks Up Business Costs
Together, all these factors paint a picture of increased business costs.
The time and human resource cost to track, reconcile, and store receipts.
The human and financial cost of detecting and counteracting fraud.
Even the maintenance costs for your printer and filing cabinets.
Every dollar spent on manual receipt management is a dollar sucked from office parties, growth, or your bottom line.
Benefits of Digital Receipt Management
It’s easy to see the costs that manual receipt management impose. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution: digital receipt management.
In short, digital receipt management involves using digital copies of receipts in your expense reporting strategy. Digital smart receipts are easy – simply integrate them into your accounting software and let automation take you away.
But even physical sales receipts can be digitized, Pluto allows you to digitize your receipt very simply - through your phone.
Incorporating such technology means that even paper receipts fold neatly into your overarching digital strategy.
And as you’ll see, the process comes with tons of benefits.
Increases Integration Potential
A massive benefit of digital tracking is the sheer integration potential. Most receipt management tools, from receipt scanning devices to receipt tracking software, easily mesh with your existing expense reports system.
From there, you can automate mindless tasks and set up occasional human checks to ensure the system works as intended.
Fewer Costly Errors
Another way that a digital receipt management program saves costs is by reducing employee errors. Digital receipts should meld seamlessly into your tracking system – no surprises there.
But even processing physical receipts is cheaper and easier.
With their mobile phones, employees can scan receipts and upload them instantly. From there, Pluto categorizes the information and adds it to the overall report.
While employees may spend a second filling in any blanks, increased automation greatly reduces the risk of input errors.
Reduces Risk of Fraud
Less human interference means your financial system is more resilient to fraudulent activities. Pluto improves speed and accuracy while digitizing the receipts.
That leaves fewer opportunities for fraudulent claims.
Uploading physical receipts means less physical space is needed for storage. That can save you on storage costs and reduce desktop and file cabinet clutter.
And because everything’s digitally maintained, you’ll still meet or exceed your tax authority’s required financial record storage period.
Not to mention, just finding your records will be easier than ever!
No person or business enjoys tax season. But digital management makes the process at least a little easier.
Because all of your information is stored online, it’s easier to access and export receipts as needed.
When tax time or the dreaded audit comes around, your data will be well-organized and easily accessible.
More Efficient Expense Reporting
Traditional receipt management is a costly, time-intensive, error-prone manual process that used to be necessary. With modern tools, businesses can streamline the entire financial structure of their organization.
No more lost receipts or worrying about fraud.
Less time spent inputting and double-checking data, and more time helping your business grow.
All these positive benefits will improve efficiency – and even bring smiles to your accountants’ faces.
Like using a virtual corporate card, digital receipt management speeds up the reimbursement process.
Since everything is tracked and verified electronically, it’s easy to set up an automatic or streamlined reimbursement protocol.
Putting Your Eco-Friendly Foot Forward
Lastly, any step your business can take toward going paperless is good news for the environment.
Cutting down fewer trees and reducing printer ink usage are laudable goals that can decrease your environmental footprint.
Not only will you enjoy cost savings, but you’ll feel better about doing business in an increasingly eco-conscious world.
8 Tips for Efficient Receipt Management
Digitizing your receipt management strategy is just the first step toward expense report success. To ensure you’re operating at maximum efficiency, consider the following tips.
1. Use Pluto App
The first step is to get Pluto and start managing your spending digitally.
While you’re moving toward digital efficiency, your vendors aren’t required to follow. Keeping the proper tech on hand ensures you can digitize any paper receipts that come your way.
Pluto allows you to take a picture of the receipt, upload it to your expense and just like that the reconciliation process is done!
2. Save Your Receipts
While you can set up secure digital folders to store all your digital originals and copies - Pluto does that for you!
Just take a picture of the receipt, upload it to the app and that is it.
3. Ensure High-Quality Digital Format Uploads
There’s no point in uploading and saving documents if you can’t read them.
Before tossing your physical copies, make sure you can clearly read the essential information on each receipt. (Such as the company name, date, purchased item(s), and amount.)
4. Categorize Submitted Expenses
Take some time to categorize your expenses (most businesses do this in chronological order). Pluto helps you with that, but just make sure to check the right category so the reporting stays in top notch condition.
5. Set Up a Simple Expense Report Strategy
Expense reporting is the backbone of any business’ financials. For prompt, complete reporting and tracking, ensure that you design a straightforward strategy.
Same-day submissions, fewer Excel sheets, and faster reimbursement protocols will improve efficiency and attitudes. Better yet, invest in a quality expense and receipt management software.
Or even better - start with Pluto, we have a free package. It will allow you to completely digitize and control your spending, while keeping your reporting in the best possible shape.
6. Establish Accountability
A top-notch expense reporting strategy only works if people use it.
To ensure your protocols are followed, emphasize and encourage accountability. Keep all managers and supervisors up-to-date with company spending and card policies and remind them to disseminate that information appropriately. Follow up with employee expenditures as needed.
7. Run Regular Internal Audits
Regular expense report audits help businesses track receipts fraud, clear up discrepancies, and streamline inefficiencies.
Take time each month or quarter to check for fictitious or overblown expenses or troubles with your expense reporting strategy.
Pluto allows you to run real-time reports at any given moment for any period of time.
8. Switch to Virtual Corporate Cards
Virtual corporate cards make managing receipt tracking even easier. Not only can you digitize the entire process end-to-end, but corporate p cards give you greater control over your expenditures and tracking.
Sure, you can’t prevent vendors from handing you physical receipts. But you can greatly minimize instances of employees walking in with a big stack of thermal paper to scan in.
Pluto offers unlimited virtual cards which will book all your expenses right into the dashboard!
- Proper receipt management is key to running a financially successful business.
- While manual receipt management reconciles physical copies, it’s increasingly unnecessary in an increasingly digital world.
- Digital receipt management simplifies the collection, reconciliation, and storage process.
- Digital tracking also reduces fraud potential, time and financial waste, and increases employee satisfaction.
- Digitizing your expense reports pairs nicely with digitizing your own payments with virtual corporate cards.
How to Manage Petty Cash Effectively in 2023
Not every expense in the company requires you to issue a check. Payments like petrol, supplies, stamps, etc., are paid via cash. For these business transactions, either the employees take cash in advance or put in a request for reimbursement. This mechanism requires you to set some cash aside and employ a person for receipt management and reporting. The cash is referred to as petty cash.
What Is the Meaning of Petty Cash?
Petty cash refers to a small amount of money that businesses keep readily available for handling minor payments and expenses that are too small to be processed through regular accounting procedures. It is often kept on hand and is reimbursed periodically.
What are Petty Cash Examples?
Petty cash includes small miscellaneous expenses, such as:
- Office supplies
- Client lunch
- Medicine and first aid
- Minor repairs
What Is the Process of Petty Cash Disbursement?
The first step in petty cash disbursement is to define policies and procedures. This includes specifying:
- The purpose of the fund
- The maximum cash amount
- The types of expenses the fund can cover
- The process for replenishing the fund
The next step is to appoint a petty cash custodian. They are responsible for handling the petty cash fund.
Then, you set up the fund by transferring the initial sum of money into a safe or locker. This amount should be sufficient to cover minor expenses for a defined period.
When employees make small purchases, they request funds from the custodian. After the purchase, they return with a petty cash voucher, receipt, and cash balance.
The custodian reviews the receipts and provides reimbursement. They maintain detailed records of every transaction, including the date, purpose, recipient, amount, and a brief description of the expense. This record-keeping method ensures transparency and accountability.
After that, the custodian reconciles the petty cash fund at regular intervals. They add up the safe's cash balance and the receipts' value. The total should match the original amount in the fund.
What are the Two Types of Petty Cash?
To manage petty cash, the custodian relies on either of the petty cash book systems:
1. Imprest Petty Cash Book
An imprest petty cash system involves maintaining a fixed amount of money in the petty cash fund at all times.
For instance, you set up a fund of $100. When the fund gets down to $20, the custodian requests reimbursement and replenishes the fund to $100.
2. Columnar or Analytical Petty Cash Book
A columnar or analytical petty cash book is a detailed and structured method of recording petty cash transactions. It categorizes expenses into different general ledger codes for better tracking.
For instance, you create separate columns, such as "office supplies," "refreshments," "meals," etc. Whenever a transaction occurs, the custodian records it in the appropriate column and specifies its purpose.
What are the Challenges of Petty Cash?
While the process of petty cash seems linear and simple, it has many intricacies in practice.
Imagine the custodian getting hundreds or thousands of requests and receipts every day. So, maintaining a petty cash system is easier in a smaller business with limited expenses and reporting needs. However, for larger enterprises, relying on manual vouchers and physical safes/lockers causes a lot of chaos.
1. Vulnerability to Theft and Misuse
Unlike an automated system, a manual petty cash system lacks controls and security measures.
For example, if the custodian is not vigilant, employees can use the cash for personal expenses. Similarly, if the custodian gets stuck between multiple requests and receipts, it leads to oversight.
Moreover, the physical nature of cash in a petty cash box makes it an easier target for theft. Since there's no immediate digital record, anybody can steal money, which goes unnoticed for a while. This lack of transparency and a digital audit trail makes it difficult to identify funds misuse.
2. Poor Receipt Management
Receipts are the document of proof for the expense. With the traditional approach, custodians have to chase employees for receipts. This results in incomplete or unaccounted-for submissions.
Moreover, relying on the manual petty cash process makes it harder. The custodians have to manage countless receipts daily, making reconciliation tedious. Hence, you end up with misplaced, duplicate, or even damaged receipts.
A common example of this issue is when a custodian receives multiple receipts and with an analytical petty cash book to maintain. It takes them hours to reconcile, report, and ensure accurate categorization.
The worst is when it's time to report, and locating these receipts takes hours.
3. Chaotic Approval Workflow
In smaller companies, getting approval for expenses is easy. But, in large enterprises, even small expenses can prompt approvals from various departments and stakeholders. This makes the approval workflow complicated and time-consuming. This delays the fund release, disrupting the workflow and reimbursement process.
For example, imagine an employee who wants to buy a subscription for less than $300. In a big company, it will prompt approval from the manager, IT, finance, and legal departments.
All this back-and-forth slows things down a lot.
4. Internal Resentment
In big companies, there's tension between the finance team and other departments. This issue occurs when employees can't access the funds and have to wait for approval. Such a delay disrupts the work or delays the reimbursement.
For instance, an employee needs to buy a subscription for work. But the delay in approval impacted the deadline and client relationship. This creates problems and stress between the finance team and other departments.
5. Branch-Level Petty Cash Management
Large enterprises use separate petty cash systems for departments at the branch level. This means that each department has its own petty cash fund to manage.
Managing small amounts of cash at individual branches is tricky. Employees misuse/steal the money as there's not much oversight. There is no visibility on how money is being spent. Maintaining funds for multiple branches becomes a headache. Also, departments find it challenging to request more funds.
Reconciliation becomes challenging as the finance teams have to chase branches for complete information. This leaves a lot of loopholes for employees and branch custodians to misuse petty cash.
6. Tedious Reconciliation Process
Reconciliation ensures that the petty cash fund's balance matches the sum of all expenses.
Manually, reconciliation in large enterprises takes weeks and is prone to errors. Moreover, when adding up expenses, the process is prone to manual errors, which are hard to identify and correct.
For instance, the custodian overlooks a receipt. This mismatch between the recorded expenses and the actual cash on hand can take him weeks to spot errors.
7. Low Visibility Over Expenses
Traditional petty cash systems lack real-time data. At any given point of time, the custodian is unaware of the fund's current status. This lack of visibility delays financial decision-making. For instance, it can take weeks before the custodian realizes that the petty cash fund is running low. This can lead to temporary cash shortages for essential expenses.
The absence of a clear record makes it slower to notice problems and reconcile the cash. Moreover, transactions and expenses are recorded on paper, which leads to further errors. For example, when an employee uses petty cash to buy office supplies, there will be a delay until the expense is recorded.
Similarly, when many employees spend money simultaneously, tracking them in real-time is tough. This lack of transparency allows employees to misuse petty cash for personal expenses.
How to Manage Petty Cash Effectively With Pluto?
To overcome the challenges described previously, you can not rely on any automation tool. Instead, you need a product that is tailored to your specific needs. While many tools can assist you in digitizing petty cash management, Pluto goes the extra mile.
With Pluto, you no longer need to maintain a physical safe or countless vouchers and receipts. Pluto records every transaction in real time and gives you visibility at each step. From receipt to reimbursement, you manage everything with complete control and clarity.
Unlimited Corporate Cards
Pluto enables you to issue unlimited corporate cards, simplifying petty cash management. It eliminates the need for physical lockers or safes, promoting smoother cash flow. The availability of unlimited cards allows you to replace shared credit cards. This enables the use of cards for even small petty cash expenses.
Finance teams get full control and visibility over each petty cash expense in real time.
Employees can either swipe the cards for a seamless process or withdraw cash from ATMs. Every expense made with the corporate card triggers an approval workflow. It prompts employees to add receipts and managers to approve expenses. They can then add the receipts simply via WhatsApp and get reimbursed without any delays.
With all the data consolidated on a single platform, reconciliation becomes easier. This simplified process eliminates the need for a dedicated custodian to manage petty cash.
Not only do you get more control, but you save money with visibility at each step.
Pluto allows you to specify limits for corporate cards issued. This ensures employees stay within budget.
When the spending exceeds, employees can request more funds. The budget expands on the manager's approval in seconds, allowing for necessary spending.
Administrators can also issue zero balance cards. These cards with zero balances prompt an approval request for each expense. This approach ensures budget control without causing any delays or resentment.
Easy Receipt Management
Pluto simplifies receipt management thanks to its seamless WhatsApp integration.
Your employees can upload receipts via WhatsApp, which are recorded in real-time. The custodians no longer need to run after employees for the receipts.
However, Pluto does more than just store receipts. It extracts vital information through OCR, including vendor names, amounts, and GLs. As a result, your accounting team spends less time on manual tasks like creating logs.
Normally, getting approval for expenses can involve a lot of back and forth. But with Pluto, you can set up custom approval processes to make the process smoother.
When an employee uploads receipts, Pluto automatically starts the approval workflow. It notifies the custodian and managers to approve the expense, removing the friction.
The reimbursement process accelerates without any compromise on efficiency.
Further, Pluto uses OCR to detect duplicate receipts to avoid dual payments and fraud. This makes it easier to double-check expenses and approve the legitimate ones.
Digital Expense Report
Pluto offers digital expense reports that compile data from all the receipts.
The report simplifies the task for your finance teams to see how each branch/department is spending. It enables them to make adjustments to policies and procedures as needed.
For instance, a company has small office supply purchases spread across various departments. Pluto's real-time visibility and report help to locate these costs. As a result, finance teams can reconsider and promote bulk purchases for cost savings.
With Pluto, the custodian gets complete visibility into the expenses and the available funds at all times.
Close Books 10X Faster
Pluto simplifies the process of closing books.
Since employees can submit receipts directly through WhatsApp, custodians don’t need to chase employees for receipt submissions. This enables you to close the book 10X faster by accelerating the reconciliation process.
Pluto records all transactions in a centralized digital platform. This streamlines audit logs and eliminates the need to maintain physical records.
With its OCR-based receipt retrieval, finding specific receipts and information becomes more effortless. This simplifies the reconciliation process, making the entire book-closing process faster.
Replace Petty Cash With Corporate Cards
Small expenses and cash transactions can not be removed. However, finding an expense management tool can make petty cash management simpler.
Stop relying on manual traditional processes to manage petty cash. Choose Pluto to replace your tedious petty cash books and vouchers with corporate cards.
Sign up today to digitize your petty cash for complete visibility and control.
What Are Reimbursements? Types, Policies & Management Tips
Business expense reimbursement is one area of spend management that business owners do not always give its due. And yet, nearly every organization will have to reimburse employees for their expenses at some point.
Part of the problem is that these expenses can vary significantly, from buying office supplies to traveling or even medical costs. If your business deals with many types of expense reimbursements, you might wonder what you need to cover and how you should handle it.
If you’ve had trouble working out your organization's different business expense reimbursements, or you want to learn more about repayments, you’ve come to the right place.
Today, we’ll take a look at the different types of business expense reimbursements and even share some tips to help you streamline your expense reimbursement process.
The Definition Of Reimbursements
A business expense reimbursement is simply the act of paying back an employee for expenses incurred while performing a job for your organization.
Technically, almost any type of expense can qualify as a business expense for the purpose of reimbursement, depending on the reimbursement policies of the business. But to give you a clearer idea, here are some common examples of reimbursable expenses:
- Business travel costs
- Meals and entertainment
- Employee education or training
- Medical expenses
- Gas expenses for a company-issued or private vehicle
- Business supplies or tools
- And other miscellaneous business-related expenses
You could handle these expense reimbursements individually, meaning you review each expense separately, or you could create a policy for employee expense reimbursement.
Do I Need to Have an Expense Reimbursement Policy?
You are not required to have an expense reimbursement policy, and in some cases, reimbursing expenses is not even mandatory to begin with. Though that largely depends on the legal framework of your country.
However, since it is customary in the UAE and the MENA region to reimburse employees for expenses, then it would be wise to create guidelines and policies to help you organize and streamline that process.
Creating a policy for reimbursements helps set the right expectations for employees about what qualifies for repayment and enables you to streamline your expense reimbursement process.
With an expense reimbursement policy, your employees will know precisely what they can be reimbursed for, how to request said reimbursement, and how long it would take to receive the funds.
Types of Reimbursements
Whether you have a business reimbursement policy or not, you need to have a clear picture of which expenses your employees might incur for your business and how you would go about reimbursing them.
- Is the expense tax deductible?
- Is this a common type of business expense in your industry?
- Do you have a policy in place for this expense?
- Are there any types of emergency purchases that an employee might need to make?
Expenses that are commonly reimbursable include:
Traveling and accommodation
One of the most common types of reimbursement requests is for travel expenses. Gas has been a particular pain point for many businesses in the MENA region due to the rising costs of fuel. Other examples of travel expenses include moving to and from an airport or travel terminal, travel tickets, public and private transportation expenses, car rentals, and lodging.
Office supplies and communication
If your organization relies heavily on digital work, you might need to reimburse your employees for supplies like laptops, tablets, software purchases or subscriptions, training materials, and more.
Also, if your team needs to move around frequently and you need to maintain communication at all times, reimbursing them for their cell phone plans might be necessary. In particular, this applies to teams in sales, marketing, and business development.
Food and entertainment
Business trips typically cover employee meals as reimbursable expenses. As long as the expenses are incurred in the interest of the business, they’re reimbursable.
Medical expenses, such as health insurance, insurance premiums, and tuition, are another form of employee expense that is often reimbursed by companies. If your business deals with these types of expenses, make sure you have a clear policy for handling them.
5 Tips to Simplify your Reimbursements
Managing your business expense reimbursements can be a hassle if you don’t have a specific process in place to do so, and sometimes even if you do.
If you struggle with your expense reimbursement reports, consider following these tips:
Learn What you Need to Reimburse
Although the legalities of employee reimbursements vary from country to country, it’s traditionally customary for employers to reimburse their employees for expenses incurred on behalf of the company.
It is important to note, however, that your employees cannot claim reimbursements for every purchase made, only those that are specifically tied to your business in some form.
While the specific type of expenses you have to reimburse will vary from industry to industry, you should have a general idea of what costs an employee might have to cover out of pocket in the process of working for you.
- Do they need to travel around in their own vehicle?
- Do you need them to be communicated at all times?
- What kind of equipment do they require?
- Are there any health risks associated with their job?
These types of questions can help you figure out which expenses you will have to deal with. Clear guidelines about what is and isn’t reimbursable will help reduce instances of fraudulent reimbursement requests.
Use a Spend Management Platform
With the right expense management software, you would be able to automate and optimize end-to-end workflows throughout your process.
For instance, with a spend management platform like Pluto, employees can use a mobile app to record expenses as they incur them.
In this way, your employees no longer have to save receipts or wait before entering their expenses. Plus, Pluto can automatically assign reports to the right reviewer, making the review and approval process more efficient.
Not only that, but Pluto can also tag the receipt so the categorization of the expense is much easier and reporting is real-time.
In addition to providing digital copies of relevant documents, Pluto can notify your finance team of approvals and deadlines.
Spend management platforms enhance collaboration
Pluto’s expense management solutions come with an employee portal so that your finance team can collaborate seamlessly with your employees.
This allows you to save time when you need to discuss any irregularities with their expense reports. Additionally, your employees can use Pluto to check the status of their reimbursement requests.
The finance team can also use Pluto to manage costs more efficiently due to its analytical capabilities, real-time reporting and instantaneous spend limit settings.
Create a Thorough Expense Reimbursement Policy
When creating your reimbursement policy, you’ll want to make sure that it covers as many angles as possible.
One way to do so is to invite stakeholders from multiple different departments, such as HR, finance, legal, and procurement, to a brainstorming session, as their knowledge will make it easier to draft the policy.
Crafting your reimbursement policy
It’s also critical to consider the following when drafting your expense reimbursement policy:
- The specific type of expenses that can be reimbursed
- The process your employees need to follow to submit their expenses, including any proof and supporting documentation
- Whether any allowances will be given for expenses, and how to manage any excess
- The specific time an employee has to submit their expense report
- How the approval process will be handled
- When and how your employees are reimbursed
Promote the adoption of the policy
One way to help employees adopt the policy more quickly is by making it readily available to them. The policy should be emailed to your employees or posted on your internal networks.
Employees should be informed when they will receive their payment from the company. You should set up a transparent and clear process to communicate what can be expected in terms of expense reimbursement.
Be extra clear about deadlines and payments.
Be sure to let them know how they will receive the payment, such as via direct deposit or check, as well as how they will receive recorded confirmation of the payment made (such as a statement on their paycheque). You can complete this step easily with the help of an online payroll solution.
It is important to keep things running smoothly when it comes to paying employees. By processing reimbursements timely and reliably, you can easily prevent frustration caused by late payments.
Having your employees pay out of their own pockets and not receiving payment back sooner rather than later can cause unnecessary ill feelings toward your company. When you handle reimbursements well, it reflects back on you as a respectable and considerate employer who cares about employees.
Make sure your employees follow the deadlines you set
You need to provide employees with deadlines for submitting expense reports, such as one week before their next pay date, so they can be reimbursed and get approval for their claims.
Make sure the expense reports comply with the policy guidelines by giving yourself enough time to review them. By doing so, you can consult with the employee if there are any discrepancies, missing or incomplete documentation, or expenses that do not fall within the policy.
It’s important to submit expense reports on time since certain business expenses are tax deductible.
Optimize Your Expense Reimbursement Management Process
It’s not enough to know what your expenses are and to create a policy for their reimbursement.
You also need to make sure that your reimbursement process is organized and efficient.
Otherwise, you run the risk of creating bottlenecks if you get slammed by more requests than you can handle. You can avoid this by optimizing the process used to submit reports and their attachments, ensuring all reports are reviewed in a timely manner and processing reimbursements as quickly as possible.
Having put all of this in place, it’s now time for the audit. The importance of audits is particularly important for enterprises and mid-size firms where employees incur large expenses. Auditing your expense reports also helps you identify loopholes in your policy and reduce instances of fraudulent claims.
You can also use audits to analyze your business expenses and identify areas for reduction.
Ensure there is an organized system for expense reimbursement requests
You should ensure that the system your employees need to use to submit their expense reports is easy to use and understand.
Pluto allows the employee to submit all necessary supporting documentation, such as their receipt, the total amount of the purchase, a description of the goods or services purchased, and the date of the transaction.
What qualifies as supporting documentation?
Ticket stubs, credit card statements, receipts, invoices, and vehicle logs are acceptable records. To minimize employee time spent sending in expense reports, you should simplify, streamline, and digitize the process as much as possible. For instance, Pluto allows the employee to submit a picture of their receipt.
Use a Corporate Card or Direct Deposits to Remove the Need for Reimbursements
A corporate p card is a great way to prevent employees from paying out-of-pocket for business expenses.
You can track your expenses more efficiently and effectively with corporate cards, which provide spending limits that prevent employees from abusing their privileges.
Consider issuing corporate cards only to your regular travelers, or try direct deposits if you’re concerned about the cost.
Alternatively, you can also use direct deposits of reimbursement funds to eliminate the reimbursement process.
Two benefits result from this: One great perk of following either process is that your finance teams will have better visibility into the reimbursement process, making auditing employee expenses easier.
- The best way to deal with business expense reimbursements is to have a rock-solid reimbursement policy in place. This way, you can reimburse employees for their costs on your terms.
- Another great way to manage your expenses is to make use of a corporate card to eliminate the reimbursement process altogether, though this might not be feasible for all cases.
- As in many situations, your best option will most likely come in the form of digitization. Using a spend management platform like Pluto, will not only give you much better visibility over your employee spending but also streamline the reimbursement process for you.
How to Take Control of your Employee’s Fuel Reimbursements
Many companies require in-person meetings, site visits, or attending events. Whatever the business-related travel may be, fuel reimbursement comes into the picture.
What is Fuel Reimbursement?
In a nutshell, fuel reimbursement is when an employer reimburses you for the cost of fuel used for business purposes.
While other countries may consider this a travel expense or a mileage reimbursement, the UAE considers this a 'fuel reimbursement.'
Why Did Reimbursing Travel Expenses Grow?
In a post-pandemic world, where many companies are going back to the norm of office work, it is common for travel reimbursement costs to increase.
The mileage reimbursement rate has risen with regular office hours, more in-person meetings, and less remote work. But that's not the only reason.
Due to the surge in fuel costs globally, it's no surprise that consumers are becoming more aware of their travel expenses.
The UAE alone has seen a significant spike of 74% in fuel prices and petrol prices over the last 7 months, indicating that reimbursing travel expenses grew.
Subsequently, UAE companies have seen a 38% increase in fuel reimbursements and travel reimbursement requests from their employees. Inflation alongside a post-pandemic world, fuel reimbursement expenses have become the most requested reimbursement category in the UAE.
A study by Bayzat has shown that fuel is among the most requested reimbursements category for UAE employees, with an increase of 18% in the average amount per reimbursement since January.
This indicates that companies and employees have spent more time managing and filing fuel reimbursement expenses.
Unsurprisingly, the cost of average travel reimbursements has increased with the significant spike in fuel prices and petrol prices these past few months.
With Pluto's corporate cards, companies can wave goodbye to everyday fuel reimbursement expenses' pain points by issuing their employees fuel cards to keep track of their fuel expenses and travel reimbursement costs.
Why Use Pluto Fuel Cards For Fuel Reimbursement?
There are many advantages to using Pluto fuel cards for business travel expenses:
Create unlimited fuel cards
Create and distribute as many virtual or physical fuel cards as needed for your employees, so you won't have to worry about travel expenses, mileage reimbursement requests, or having to reimburse employees.
Set limits on fuel cards
Create fuel cards for employees with daily, weekly, or monthly spending limits to keep track of employees' fuel expenses.
Track fuel expenses in real-time
It's essential to keep track of what is being spent and where. With Pluto, you can:
- Get notified as soon as a fuel expense is made so you know who spends what, where, and when.
- Keep track of average travel reimbursements' costs, travel expenses, and employee expenditure data to avoid going over budget on fuel expenses.
No more end-of-month expense reports on fuel!
Digitized receipt reconciliation
Whether your employees are using personal vehicles or company vehicles, they can simply make a transaction with their personal card, snap a picture of the receipt and upload it to the Pluto dashboard for fuel reimbursement.
Alternatively, UAE companies can issue their employees virtual or physical cards, and the receipt can be attached to the business expense by dragging and dropping it onto the Pluto dashboard.
No more searching through piles of paper receipts!
Fill up your tank anywhere
Once you issue your UAE employees a virtual or physical fuel card, they can use it at any gas station in the UAE for business travel expenses.
While requested reimbursements for fuel expenses grew over five-fold over the past couple of years, there is a solution to make CFOs' and finance teams' lives easier; Pluto Card.
With Pluto, finance teams have an all-in-one integrated platform for fuel reimbursements, budget & spend control for business travel expenses, and fuel receipt reconciliation.
Fuel Reimbursement vs. Mileage Reimbursement
When looking for information about fuel reimbursement, another term that you may stumble on frequently is mileage reimbursement. While they are similar and sometimes interchangeable, they are not the same.
What is Mileage Reimbursement?
Mileage reimbursement refers to the practice of reimbursing employees for business-related travel expenses.
While it accounts for fuel, it also considers lease, vehicle depreciation, and other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given per mile driven.
In some countries, mileage reimbursement refers to accounting rules and categories that help standardize expenses.
What is Fuel Reimbursement?
Fuel reimbursement, on the other hand, only covers the cost of fuel used for business travel. It doesn't take into consideration any other car-related expenses. This type of reimbursement is usually given based on receipts.
The difference between fuel reimbursement and mileage reimbursement is that mileage reimbursement takes into account all car-related expenses, while fuel reimbursement only covers the fuel cost.
How Does Fuel Reimbursement Work?
If you use your car for business purposes, you can be reimbursed for the fuel costs incurred. The reimbursement is usually calculated based on the number of kilometers traveled or miles driven.
However, to qualify for fuel reimbursement, you will need to keep accurate records of your travel expenses. This includes maintaining a logbook of your travels and keeping receipts for all fuel purchases.
To ensure that employees are reimbursed correctly, they need a receipt and an accurate logbook. Fuel and travel expenses can be included as costs, but you must show all travel logs if necessary.
What Counts as Business-Related Fuel Reimbursements?
Here are some examples of obvious and less obvious fuel expenses that you can get reimbursed for when you are an employee:
- Traveling for a client meeting;
- Driving to pick up anything on behalf of the company;
- Driving to the airport to pick up a client or a colleague;
- Going to another city for a business-related event;
Anything done to advance the business, big or small, is business related.
Is Commuting to Work a Business-Related Expense?
While some big corporations may reimburse you for commuting to and from work, typically, commuting is not considered a business expense.
What to Track For Fuel Reimbursement?
Keeping a gas log is one of the best ways to ensure employees are correctly reimbursed while companies have a clear overview of their travel expenses.
Last but not least, when you put fuel reimbursements into your profit and loss statement to apply them as costs (which you should), you must have a detailed log of travels - in case the tax authority wants a record.
Here is the main employee expenditure data that you should store in your fuel reimbursement logbook:
- Date of each journey
- Start time and end time of driving.
- Purpose of the trip.
- Kilometers driven.
If a company provides employees with company cars, this is all. But, if you're filing for fuel reimbursement while traveling with your personal vehicle, you will have to provide the following:
- Brand of the car and the year it was made.
- Average fuel consumption as per the car documentation.
- Engine size or engine capacity.
- Copy of car technical documentation.
Does an Employer Have to Pay For Fuel?
Most companies reimburse fuel expenses for employees who need to travel for business, but there might be some limitations. For example, a company may ask you to use its corporate Careem account for business travel.
Typically, if you incur the cost of fuel, your company will reimburse you as it is a cost tightly associated with the business.
Is Fuel Reimbursement Tax Deductible?
A massive shift for UAE companies will be the introduction of corporate taxes in 2023. With a corporate tax rate of 9%, UAE companies must keep track of all their spending. Fuel reimbursements fall under that category, as they can help reduce the amount of taxable income that a company has.
If you have a fuel reimbursement policy in place, it will help ensure that all of your employees are mindful of their spending on fuel and that they only claim back what they have spent.
Pluto allows UAE companies to issue unlimited fuel cards while centralizing the expense in one dashboard, so you can see in real-time how much is being spent and the number of tax-deductible costs your employees are making.
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