Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Expense Report

Many of us work in fields where once in a while we have to spend our own money for a business expense. Generally, this is not a big deal, but it does require some effort to submit an expense report – both personal effort and sustainable impact. Here are a couple of thoughts about how to green the process:

  1. Direct deposit. Rather than sending a check, companies should be able to directly deposit reimbursements into your account.
  2. Receipt requirement. I understand why receipts are required (fraud, etc); however, it is “greener” to not get a receipt at all (think ATM, gas pump, etc). Many transactions are made by credit card or bank card and are tracked by the issuing financial institution. I know in my personal life I try to avoid getting receipts because it means I’ll have to shred them later (annoyance factor trumps green factor, but end result is the same). If companies could accept credit card statements in lieu of receipts, this could help reduce the amount of wasted paper (and for those of us that occasionally lose receipts when travelling, could help cut employees losses).
  3. Receipt submission. Employees should be encouraged to tape their receipts to the backs of used paper, rather than printing out a special “receipt page.”
  4. Paperless submission. Some companies already do this, some do not, and some (like mine) are in the process of converting. We currently have to type up our reports, print them out, tape our receipts to a blank sheet of paper (recycled back sides are ok) and ship them overnight to accounting. They are then scanned and reviewed virtually. More sustainable measures would be:
  • Bundling expense reports weekly/bi-weekly – results in fewer packages shipped.
  • Scanning and sending directly to accounting from our multi-function printers – eliminates need for overnight shipping.
  • Online submission – no printing required.

Any other ideas on how to green your expense report submission process?

Image Source: http://www.gembapantarei.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We will soon be adding the ability to attach digital receipts to expenses on our web expense reporting site: http://paybackable.com. We're also working on an iPhone app to be able to submit digital pictures of receipts right from the point of purchase. Hopefully, we can help reduce the paper clutter.

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