Expense Reporting 101: Definition, Templates, and Best Practices for Effective Reporting

In the Filipino workplace setting, it is common for employees to shoulder expenses related to their work, such as transportation and meals with clients. They may also spend on office supplies and equipment needed to carry out their tasks. These expenses, even when paid for out of the employee’s own pocket, are considered costs incurred on behalf of the company. 
As such, employees are entitled to request reimbursement by submitting an expense report. This process is crucial for maintaining transparency and accountability in the company’s financial transactions, and it also helps ensure that employees are not unduly burdened by work-related expenses.
Expense reporting is a crucial aspect of any business, regardless of its size or industry. It’s the process of recording, submitting, and reimbursing employee expenses incurred during business operations. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of expense reporting, what an expense report is, how to create one, best practices for expense reporting, sample templates, and FAQs.

Expense in the Organizational Context

In the Philippine organizational context, expenses are a common part of doing business. Employees may incur various types of expenses, such as travel expenses for work-related trips, entertainment expenses for client meetings, or office expenses for necessary supplies and equipment. These expenses can add up quickly and can sometimes place a financial burden on the employee.
To ensure that employees are not unduly burdened by these costs, companies often have an expense reimbursement policy in place. This policy outlines the types of expenses that are eligible for reimbursement and the procedures for submitting expense reports. It is important for companies to have a clear and transparent reimbursement process to avoid confusion and potential disputes.
However, it is worth noting that in the Philippines, the process of requesting and receiving expense reimbursements can sometimes be slow and cumbersome. This is particularly true in small and medium-sized enterprises that may not have a dedicated finance or accounting department.

What is an Expense Report?

An expense report is a document that outlines the expenses incurred by an employee during business operations. It includes details such as the date of the expense, the category of the expense, the amount spent, and the purpose of the expense. The report is submitted to the company for review, approval, and reimbursement.

Importance of Expense Reporting in Your Business

In the Philippine business landscape, expense reporting is a crucial aspect of financial management. 

1. It allows companies to keep track of their expenses, which is essential for budgeting and forecasting.

By monitoring their expenses closely, companies can identify areas where they can cut costs and optimize their spending.

2. In addition, expense reporting also helps companies identify trends in employee spending.

This is particularly important in the Philippine context, where the cost of living can be high, and employees may sometimes resort to excessive spending or unnecessary purchases to cope with their daily expenses. By analyzing expense reports, companies can identify these trends and take appropriate measures to address them, such as implementing cost-saving measures or providing financial education to their employees.

3. Furthermore, expense reporting is essential for compliance purposes.

In the Philippines, companies are required to comply with various laws and regulations related to financial management and reporting, such as the Tax Code, the Accounting Standards, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act. By ensuring that their expenses comply with these regulations, companies can avoid potential legal and financial consequences.

Common types of expenses that need to be reported:

There are various types of expenses that need to be reported, such as:
  • Travel expenses (airfare, hotel stays, meals)
  • Entertainment expenses (meals and events)
  • Office expenses (such as office supplies, equipment, and maintenance costs)
  • Communication expenses (mobile phones, internet service, postage)
  • Training and Development expenses (seminars, workshops, or training sessions)
  • Miscellaneous expenses (parking fees, tolls, etc.)

How to Create an Expense Report

Creating an expense report is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

Step 1:

Collect all receipts and invoices related to the expenses incurred.

Step 2:

Categorize the expenses into different categories, such as travel expenses, 

Step 3:

 Enter the expense details into an expense report template, including the date of the expense, the category of the expense, the amount spent, and the purpose of the expense.

Step 4:

Submit the expense report to the company for review and approval.

Step 5:

If the expense report is approved, the company will reimburse the employee for the expenses incurred.

Best Practices for Expense Reporting

Here are some best practices to follow when creating expense reports:

Tip 1:

Always keep receipts and invoices for all expenses incurred.

Tip 2:

Categorize expenses correctly to ensure accurate tracking and budgeting.

Tip 3:

Submit expense reports in a timely manner to prevent delays in reimbursement.

Tip 4:

Use an expense report template to ensure consistency and accuracy.

Tip 5:

Review the company’s expense policy to ensure compliance with guidelines and regulations.

Expense Report Example and Sample Template:

Automated Expense Reporting

To streamline the expense reporting process, some companies opt to use automated expense reporting tools. These tools allow employees to submit expense reports online, and they can also automate the approval and reimbursement processes. Automated expense reporting can help reduce the risk of errors and fraud, and it can also save time and resources for both employees and the finance team.
If you’re tired of the hassle of manual expense reporting and want to simplify the process for yourself and your team, give OliviaXpense a try. With features like automatic receipt scanning and categorization, intelligent search, and customizable approval workflows, OliviaXpense makes expense reporting easy and efficient. Plus, with BIR-compliant SLP reports and built-in duplicate detection, you can rest assured that your reports are accurate and fraud-free. Connect OliviaXpense with your existing systems today and see the difference it can make for your business.


1. How often should expense reports be submitted?

Expense reporting frequency may vary depending on the company’s policy. Some companies require employees to submit expense reports on a weekly or monthly basis, while others may have a more flexible schedule. It’s important to check your company’s policy to ensure compliance.

2. Should the expense be booked in the month it was incurred or the month the report is submitted and reimbursed?

Expenses should be booked in the month they were incurred, regardless of when the report is submitted and reimbursed. This is important for the accurate tracking of expenses and financial reporting.

Summary and Key Takeaways

Expense reporting is a crucial aspect of financial management in the Philippine business landscape. It allows companies to track their expenses, identify areas for cost-cutting and optimization, and ensure compliance with various regulations. Common types of expenses that need to be reported include travel, entertainment, office, communication, training and development, and miscellaneous expenses. 
Creating an expense report is a straightforward process that involves collecting receipts, categorizing expenses, and entering details into a template. Best practices for expense reporting include keeping receipts, categorizing expenses accurately, submitting reports in a timely manner, using a template, and reviewing the company’s expense policy. Companies can also consider using automated expense reporting tools to streamline the process. Finally, it’s important to ensure compliance with company policies and regulations and to book expenses in the month they were incurred.

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