It’s important to have a clear policy that details how your organization reimburses employees for their business and travel expenses. A written policy can help all employees understand what types of expenses will be repaid and follow your procedures for documenting them.
Business expenses typically fall into categories such as meals, entertainment, conferences, and professional development. Your organization’s policy would explain the rules and parameters for each type of expense to be reimbursed.
Travel expense policies typically state that all staff travel must be authorized by the organization in order to be reimbursed. It’s also a good idea to include a statement encouraging employees to confirm that their planned travel is eligible for reimbursement before making travel arrangements.
Here are some elements to consider including in your policy:
Time frame for submitting documentation (Example: 30 days after traveling)
Minimum expense requiring a reimbursement request (Example: At least $10)
Person designated to review & approve reimbursement requests (Example: business administrator)
A provision stating that the organization will withhold reimbursement of expenses the designated reviewer deems inappropriate or extravagant.
A statement noting that individuals may not approve their own reimbursement requests.
A requirement that a certain person, such as a manager, sign all reimbursement requests.
A procedure for allowing staff to seek exceptions to the policy, if provided in writing and approved by the designated person in your organization. (This could be helpful in situations where the policy cannot be followed, such as when an executive staff member needs to travel before authorization can be obtained).
A list of travel expenses that will not be reimbursed. (Example: laundry, dry cleaning, haircut, childcare, etc.)
A statement specifying that additional costs or travel expenses for spouses or other family members will not be reimbursed unless the organization provides prior written authorization.
It’s important to give all employees a copy of your organization’s expense reimbursement policy and have them sign an acknowledgement saying they have read, understand, and agree to follow the policy.