Travel Reimbursements Are a Pain. Seriously.

04.04.08 | Money, Work | 2 Comments | by junger

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I've been traveling a lot recently for work — during the month of March, I traveled for three straight weeks; Boston the first week, Orlando the second, then back to Boston the third.

Normally, I don't mind traveling, but three weeks in a row is stressful. It doesn't help, though, that I have to deal with getting all of my expenses reimbursed.

Now that's stressful.

For some reason, my travel expenses are always coming under scrutiny by the accounting department.

THEM: "These receipts don't add up."

ME: "I don't have receipts for a $20 group lunch I paid cash for — I wrote it on the expense report."

THEM: "You need receipts for everything."

ME: "I got a $1.50 soda from a vending machine. How am I supposed to get a receipt? Call up Coca-Cola and ask for one?"

THEM: "If you spend over $55 any day, you have to pay for the rest."

ME: "So if I spend $65 one day then nothing the next, I still have to pay the difference? What kind of sense does that make?"

There's a problem when you're worried that the money you personally put forward for the company may not come back to you. I lose interest on every penny I spend for the company.

I'm not trying to rip them off, I'm just trying to get my money back. But they make it seem like I'm a thief for wanting my money back.

This month, because the accounting person was on vacation when I booked a hotel room, they apparently charged the room to me — even though the company has a corporate account. Too bad my receipt didn't note it. Now I have to carry a balance or transfer money around because I need to submit a second expense report.

There's got to be a better system than employees putting their money first and hoping to get reimbursed. Why not a pre-paid card good for X amount of dollars for employees who travel? If there's any large purchases that exceed the pre-paid amount (like group dinners), you charge it and submit an expense report.

How do you deal with travel reimbursements?

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