How To Create Expense Reports

13 minute read

What You Need To Know About How To Create an Expense Report And Use Excel For Expense Reports



Expense reports are like detailed maps. They show where money goes in a business. Just as a map helps travelers navigate their journey, expense reports assist stakeholders within the organization in navigating financial decisions.

These reports give a clear view of spending. They're vital for making smart decisions and keeping finances in check. In turn, these help businesses grow wisely. So, they're not just paperwork—they're essential guides for managing money and reaching goals.


Learn how to track expenses using expense reports.

What are Expense Reports? 

Definition of Expense Reports

Expense reports are summaries of expenses incurred by individuals or organizations during a specific period, typically for business purposes.

These are documents that employees submit to business owners to reimburse them for expenses incurred during business trips or business travel. These reports typically involve tracking expenses and submitting them for audit to ensure they were for a business purpose.

These reports also help with the expense management process by providing a detailed breakdown of expenses incurred during a business spend. Employees are usually required to submit these reports using an expense report form, excel spreadsheet, or mobile app.

Common expenses include recurring expenses, personal vehicle usage, and other one-time expenses.

Why do businesses need expense reports?

Businesses need expense reports for several important reasons. By requiring employees to submit them regularly, companies can effectively track their spending and identify areas where cost-saving measures can be implemented.

Expense reports also provide a comprehensive overview of all expenses incurred, making it easier for organizations to analyze their financial data and make informed decisions.

Also, expense reports are used to create budgets, monitor spending patterns, and ensure that all expenses comply with company policies and procedures.

Further Reading: Breaking Down Per Diems For Your Business

How can small business benefit in creating an expense report?

Small businesses can benefit from creating expense reports by gaining better visibility and control over their spending. This helps in budget management, identifying cost-saving opportunities, and ensuring compliance with financial regulations.

By submitting the report, businesses can keep track of their expenses and identify patterns to make more informed financial decisions. This document can also be used as a one-time expense report or as a regular expense tracker.

What is included in an expense report?

The report typically includes the date of the expense, description of the expense, expense type, and amount spent. Employees can use an expense tracker or manual expense tracking to keep track of their expenses before submitting the report.

A typical expense report includes:

Category Description Example
Employee Information Identifies the employee submitting the report. - Name
- Department
- Contact information
Date Range Specifies the period covered by the report. - Start date
- End date
Expense Details Itemized list of all business-related expenses incurred. - Date: Date the expense occurred.
- Vendor: Name or description of the vendor.
- Category: Type of expense (e.g., travel, meals).
- Description: Brief explanation.
- Amount: Total cost.
Payment Method Indicates how the expenses were paid. - Company credit card
- Personal reimbursement
- Cash
Receipts Attached documentation validating the expenses. - Physical receipts
- Digital copies of receipts
- Credit card statements
Total Expense Amount Summarizes the total cost of all reported expenses. - Sum of all individual expense amounts
Approval Section Provides space for authorized personnel to approve/reject. - Signature line for manager/supervisor

Further Reading: What Is Bad Debt Expense?

How to create expense reports?

Creating expense reports is essential for tracking company spending. An expense report is a form where employees can submit their expense reports to keep a record of their spending. A well-documented expense report can help in budgeting and forecasting.

In the report, be sure to date the expense and provide a detailed description of each cost. After an employee submits an expense report, it is important for managers to review and approve them.

Choosing the Accurate Expense Report Template

Choosing the accurate expense report template is crucial for businesses to effectively track and manage their expenses. When employees submit expense reports, using the right template ensures that all necessary information is captured accurately.

Without a proper template, an expense report might contain errors or omissions that could lead to financial discrepancies. Expense reports should be accurate for budgeting and forecasting future expenditures.

Steps to Creating a Basic Expense Report

Here's a brief overview of the process:

  1. Collect Receipts: Gather all your receipts and documents showing what you've spent money on.
  2. Use a Template or Software: Choose a tool or method to organize your expenses, like a spreadsheet or specialized software.
  3. List Expenses: Break down each expense into categories like food, travel, or supplies. Write down the date, what it was for, and how much it cost.
  4. Add up Totals: Calculate how much you spent in each category and overall.
  5. Attach Receipts: Scan or take pictures of your receipts and attach them to your report.
  6. Check and Submit: Review your report for errors, make sure it follows company rules, then send it to be approved.
  7. Keep Records: Hold onto a copy of your report for your records.

Tips for Submitting an Expense Report Efficiently

Submitting expense reports efficiently requires attention to detail and familiarity with the process. Here are some tips:

  1. Categorize Expenses: Clearly differentiate between different expense types such as travel, meals, or supplies.
  2. Utilize Travel and Expense Management Tools: Take advantage of online expense management systems to streamline the submission process.
  3. Online Expense Submission: Submit expense reports digitally whenever possible for faster processing.
  4. Review Recent Expenses: Prioritize recent expenses to ensure they are promptly submitted and processed.
  5. Ensure Accuracy: Double-check all entries to avoid errors that could delay approval or reimbursement.
  6. Include Necessary Documentation: Attach receipts and supporting documents to validate expenses.
  7. Follow Company Guidelines: Adhere to company policies and procedures for expense reporting to avoid complications.
  8. Communicate with Approval Authority: If needed, communicate with the appropriate authority to expedite the approval process.

How to Fill Out an Expense Report Using Excel

To fill out an expense report using Excel, start by opening a new spreadsheet and labeling each column with categories such as date, description, amount, and type of expense.

Next, input the relevant information for each expense, making sure to use formulas for calculations and organization.

Finally, review the completed report for accuracy before submitting it for approval.

How to track expenses using receipts?

Tracking expenses using receipts can help you stay on top of your finances and budget effectively. Start by organizing your receipts by category, such as groceries, utilities, and entertainment.

Record each transaction in a spreadsheet or financial tracking app to easily review and analyze your spending habits. Regularly review your receipts to identify areas where you can cut back and save money. Create a system for storing and organizing your receipts so you can easily access them when needed.

You can also use a tracking software or spreadsheet to record the details of each receipt, such as date, amount, and purpose. Review your receipts regularly to analyze your spending habits and make adjustments as needed.

How to use expense report software?

How to track every expense reimbursement using an accounting software?

Tracking every expense reimbursement can be efficiently done using an accounting software. Start by creating categories for different types of expenses, inputting each reimbursement as a separate entry.

Utilize the reporting features to generate detailed summaries and reconcile with bank statements. Regularly update and review the data for accuracy.

Further Reading: Income Statement Template

What do business expense report include?

Expense reports include a detailed breakdown of all expenses incurred by a business during a specific period.

What are the expense categories in the expense reporting process?

Expense categories in the expense reporting process typically include travel expenses, entertainment expenses, office supplies, meals and entertainment, transportation costs, lodging expenses, communication expenses, and miscellaneous expenses. These categories help organize and track spending for accurate reporting and budgeting.

Understanding Different Types of Expense Report

Travel Expense Report

Travel Expense Report is a detailed breakdown of expenses incurred during a business trip. It includes costs such as airfare, accommodation, meals, transportation, and other miscellaneous expenses. This report is essential for budgeting, reimbursement, and tax purposes.

Submitting a thorough and accurate expense report is crucial for companies to track and manage their expenses effectively. It provides transparency and accountability for employees traveling on behalf of the company and ensures that expenses are within budget constraints.

Further Reading: Understanding IRS Form 1040 Schedule C For Sole Proprietorships

Monthly Expense Report

Monthly Expense Report is a crucial tool for tracking and managing financial activities. It provides insights into where money is being spent, allowing for better budgeting and decision-making. Keeping accurate records ensures that expenses are properly accounted for and can help identify any areas where costs can be reduced.

An organized monthly expense report can help individuals and businesses stay on top of their financial health. By documenting expenses such as rent, utilities, groceries, and entertainment, it becomes easier to spot patterns and make adjustments as needed. This can lead to more efficient and responsible spending habits.

With the help of a monthly expense report, individuals can set financial goals and track progress towards them. Whether saving for a big purchase or trying to pay off debt, monitoring expenses regularly can provide valuable information on where adjustments may be necessary. This proactive approach can lead to better financial stability and peace of mind.

Reimbursement Expense Report

Reimbursement Expense Report is a document used by employees to request reimbursement for any business-related expenses they have incurred. This report typically includes details such as the date of the expense, the purpose of the expense, and the amount spent.

Employees are usually required to provide receipts or other documentation to support their expenses. Once the report is submitted, it is reviewed by the appropriate department for approval before the employee is reimbursed for the expenses.

Organizations use reimbursement expense reports to track and manage their expenses, ensuring that employees are only reimbursed for valid business expenses. This process helps maintain accurate financial records and ensures compliance with company policies and regulations.

Personal Expense Report

Personal Expense Report is a document that outlines all the expenses incurred by an individual within a specific period of time. It typically includes details such as the date of the expense, the category of the expense, the amount spent, and the method of payment.

Keeping track of personal expenses and creating a Personal Expense Report can help individuals manage their finances more effectively. By analyzing the report, one can identify areas where spending can be reduced and make informed decisions about budgeting and saving.

Creating a Personal Expense Report can be done manually using a spreadsheet or through various personal finance apps. It is a valuable tool for financial planning and can provide insights into one's spending habits and patterns.

Automated Expense Report

Automated Expense Report streamlines the process of tracking and managing business expenses. By automatically capturing data from receipts and invoices, this tool eliminates the need for manual entry and reduces the risk of errors. It also allows for real-time monitoring of expenses and provides valuable insights for financial planning.

With Automated Expense Report, employees can easily submit their expenses through a user-friendly interface, saving time and improving efficiency. Managers can review and approve expenses quickly, leading to faster reimbursement for employees. Also, this technology enhances compliance with company policies and regulations, ensuring accurate and timely expense reporting.

Employee Expense Report

Employee Expense Report is a document that records the expenses incurred by an employee during the course of their work. It includes details such as travel expenses, meals, accommodation, and other miscellaneous costs. This report is usually submitted to the employer for reimbursement or for tax purposes.

Further Reading: LLC Tax Write-Offs

Keeping accurate records of expenses is crucial for both the employee and the employer. It helps in tracking spending patterns, identifying areas of improvement, and ensuring compliance with company policies and tax regulations. This report is also important for budgeting and financial planning purposes.

Further Reading: Operating Expenses. What Are They?

How to Manage Expenses Effectively?

Utilizing Expense Management Software

With the advancement of technology, organizations are now turning towards expense management software to streamline their financial processes. This software automates expense reporting, tracks budgets, and provides real-time insights. By utilizing expense management software, companies can increase efficiency, reduce errors, and ultimately save time and money.

Best Practices for Tracking and Categorizing Expenses

Best practices for tracking and categorizing expenses are essential for maintaining financial organization. Utilize expense tracking software to monitor spending and categorize expenses accurately.

Keep receipts and invoices organized for easy retrieval. Regularly review and analyze expense data to identify areas for improvement. Implement a consistent system for tracking expenses to ensure accuracy.


An expense report typically includes various expenses incurred by a business over a specific period, following established expense policies. These expenses can range from travel and entertainment to office supplies and utilities. Yearly expenses, different types of expenses, and standard expenses are all part of it.

When preparing an expense report from scratch, employees need to ensure they include all relevant expenses according to the company's expense policies. This might involve generating an expense report online or using standardized forms provided by the company.

A standard expense report usually contains details such as the date of the expense, the amount spent, the purpose of the expense, and any supporting documentation like receipts. Following proper procedures for preparing an expense report is crucial, as it ensures accuracy and compliance with company policies and tax regulations.

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February 28, 2024


Richard Laviña, CPA

Richard Laviña, CPA


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