We’ve all been there. Three days in on your four-week trip, all of your good expense report intentions seem to have flown out the window as you drown in a river of receipts. Any number of things can get in the way of a good paperwork plan. Dodging downpours in a strange city as you dash from the taxi cab to the door of the event facility, multiple lanes of traffic to cross immediately after paying that latest highway toll, and incidental tips to support staff along the way are just a few examples of the wrinkles than can occur. Here are five tools to help you get a better grip on that pile of paperwork.
Web-based spreadsheets are a great way to keep track of your expense data from everywhere, even when your hard drive bites the biscuit. One place you can set them up for easy access is Edit Grid. It’s an online spreadsheet service that lets you share, collaborate and even publish spreadsheets if the data you are keeping track of lends itself to that. This makes it a great solution for on-the-road expense tracking, particularly for multi-person projects where an entire team is traveling together.
An online service that’s free for individual users, Expensify generates reports, pulls credit card purchases directly into the account info, calculates mileage, and comes with apps for on-the-fly receipt capturing from your smart phone. For businesses, up to two people can use the service at no charge. After that, just five bucks per person lets you continue to use the service for your corporate needs. Bonus? It also works with QuickBooks.
A smart phone app that captures business card as well as expense receipt data, Capturengo allows the user to snap a quick picture to store for later, and categorize them into IRS-approved reports when you are back in front of your computer. The basic service plan is free and allows up to fifty capture and go shots per month. If you go over, you just need to wait until the next month to capture the extra business cards from that conference. They do allow you to upgrade to an unlimited annual plan, but it’ll cost you nearly a hundred bucks per year. Your call.
Pro On Go:
A mobile app that claims to eliminate manual data entry, Pro On Go is the choice for many when it comes to click, confirm, and create the expense receipt tracking. You can use your phone’s GPS to determine mileage, create custom spreadsheets, integrate your credit card expenses and have your report data backed up on their servers. Plan prices range from roughly one to ten dollars per month, depending on how many receipt reads you need.
A scanner app available for a buck on iTunes, Jot Not takes receipt scanning to an entirely new level, allowing you to drag and drop the edges of the scanning area to get the best digital quality possible for your receipt. Basically, the difference with this app is that you get not a photo, but an actual black and white document for your accounting records.
These tools may not be able to control the weather patterns or traffic flow that rock your receipt-filing mojo, but they will give you a bit of extra support in the expense report department. Keeping up with receipt management on the road isn’t easy. A little discipline and the right tools however, make all the difference.
A lifelong money cruncher who can squeeze a nickel ‘til it cries, Myscha is a syndicated columnist, best-selling author, and founder of Trek Hound and We Be Sharin’.