August 6, 2019

Let’s Finish Up With Expenses

By Paul Bieber

It is simple. Don’t pay any expenses and you’ll have no headaches. But in six months you won’t have a company. Expenses are necessary in every company of any sort. Even if you don’t have on-the-road salespeople, you have a company credit card and probably one or two others do as well.

There are many computer-based expense reporting and payment companies. Just Google: “expense account companies” and you will see some for large and for small companies. A company should not cost you anything … in fact it should save you money. You will not have a major time and grief job being done by your bookkeeper and your employees know they will have to get their expense accounts in on time. The big corporation on the internet doesn’t listen well to excuses.

Doing expenses in-house puts your bookkeeper in the position of a traffic cop and a banker. Try not to do this if you have more than a half-dozen folks putting in expense reports. 

Don’t be afraid to question what an employee has submitted. It is not to check their honesty, but for you to have correct bookkeeping on your expenses. Ninety-nine percent of all the people I ever managed were just perfect with expenses. But I did find a couple of cheaters. They were small-time, but that didn’t matter. I saw that one salesman always took the same customer to lunch every other week. One day I happened to speak with that customer and he asked if we had a salesman in the area. Within a week we had a new salesman in the area who did take good care of this customer. I never looked at expenses other than to sign the checks. Never played “gotcha.” So when a problem occurs it is even harder to accept an excuse from a salesman that this was just his way of combining small expenses into one bigger one and save time in writing his expense report. It made me think that his call reports had the same sloppiness. He complained when fired that it was only three or four hundred dollars over a year. I wished him well. Amazingly, I never received a request for an employment reference from his next employer. Probably better off anyway.

So, expenses are a necessity in any company. Don’t try to choke them off. Just make sure you are getting the bang for the bucks that are spent.