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Expense policy template

Download a ready-to-use expense policy template compatible with Microsoft Excel and Google Sheets. Empower your employees with a custom business expense policy, and stay in control of company profits.

How to use this company policy template

This downloadable company expense policy form is ready to personalise. It should help your finance team provide faster expense reimbursements alongside better overall expense management. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Download the expense policy template

  2. Complete the short form and the template will be sent to your email inbox

  3. Use “CTRL + F” to replace mentions of the word [company] with your own company name

  4. Use “CTRL + F” to replace mentions of [insurance provider] with your company insurance provider

  5. Look for sections highlighted in yellow. These are the parts where you are free to add and customise your own spending rules.

In order to standardise employee spending, share this free template with any team member that has access to company funds for the purpose of work-related expenses. Forget business class airfares, this template will help to create a first class expenses experience across your entire company.

Guide your employee expense claims

Give team members the power to pay by showing them the types of expenses that do and do not fit into your specific company policy. Using this download enables your team to always have a clear understanding of the expense categories that are allowable, as well as those that may require pre-approval.

By publishing a concrete list of rules around company spending, no one is left in the dark. Every single employee feels responsible for helping to retain the revenue and make spending decisions within the best interests of the business.

What should a business expenses policy include?

Clarity around allowable and reimbursable expenses is going to be key for any company that wants to move towards a ‘hands off’ approach when thinking about their finances. By giving your employees more control, they inherently act like an owner.

Not only this, but a clear list of expense categories can shorten the overall month-end, accounting practices and employee expense reimbursement processes in the finance function.

A complete expense policy should include:

  • The company values and attitudes towards spending

  • The maximum spending threshold for transactions that do not require pre-approval

  • Categories of expenses, including examples of purchases within those categories (such as travel: train tickets to attend conferences)

  • Rules around incurring accidental personal expenses on the company card

  • Each expense type (to allocate to the correct expense account).

  • The total amount allowable for expense reimbursement.

  • How to submit your valid receipt

  • Expectations around reimbursement

Expense policies are useful for everyday spending, not just for a business trip. But it should also act as a tool between management and staff instead of adding friction and frustration. Your business expenses policy should therefore reflect urgency around receipt reconciliation so that staff are not left in a poor financial position, for the benefit of the company.

Common expense policy questions

What does per diem mean for business expenses?

Per Diem is a phrase of latin origin, meaning ‘per day’. From a business perspective, it refers to a daily quota or rate of costs covered by an employer when the employee is out-of-office on business purposes.

For example, an employee who attends a conference would typically incur costs relating to the hotel room, transport such as car rental or airfare, as well as food and drinks. Each of these expense categories would likely have a per diem maximum rate.

How can I set one standard around travel expenses when each work trip is different?

There is one major dilemma that most businesses face: what to set the per diem rate? It can be hard to come up with a set figure when prices fluctuate and every business trip is different, but the expense policy exists to create a clear expectation and standard around business costs incurred.

Therefore, we recommend looking at the government guidelines and agreeing on a per diem rate with HMRC based on past expenses if you don’t want to use their benchmark.

Do we really need a formal employee expense policy?

Introducing expense policies will have a positive knock-on effect to all of your paperwork, including expense reports. They are often regulated, and such are considered a legal document that will help protect the business from maverick spending.

What if my employees use their business cards for personal property and personal purchases?

On occasion, employees will mistakenly use the wrong card to purchase a personal item. Instead of getting human resources involved, we recommend that your expense policy outlines the exact next steps to rectify the error.

If your expenses process is automated, the team can usually just mark the purchase in-app as a personal purchase and claim the fare back from the employee. When the expenses process is manual, it may require some chasing from finances.

What is the best expense reimbursement policy?

There’s no two ways about it: employees need to be reimbursed. Not only is it legally required, but reimbursement on time (and in full) is also just the right thing to do. But let’s face it, even in the finance team no one is passionate about expenses, or collecting those original receipts.

So, using software for this part of the process is a good way to regulate and standardise the process without taking the finance function away from growing the business. This way, reimbursements don’t have to take a back seat, even when the business is swamped.

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