Shorten your year-end checklist: How small businesses and accounting firms can cut down expense headaches

Written by Sylvea Wong

The end of the year is always a scramble to meet year-end deadlines, from straightening out your clients’ books to identifying tax incentives for them to take advantage of. If your clients’ expense reports aren’t perfectly compiled, you’re guaranteed to have a big headache. The problem? Clients’ expense reports are never perfect.

Four major expense related headaches seem to always come up, no matter who you talk to: finding and storing receipts, manually compiling expense reports, reconciling clients’ credit card statements, and categorizing expenses for profit and loss statements. Luckily, it’s easier than you think to fix these issues. Instead of making an annual resolution to get organized next year, get organized now and avoid the headaches all together.

Headache #1: You’re constantly chasing clients down for receipts.

Even if your clients manage to track down those receipts, the slips of paper are often delivered in a shoebox, unsorted and faded. As their accountant, you’ll be spending hours sorting their receipts; imagine multiplying that workload by the number of clients you have… ouch.

Once you get that shoebox…

Headache #2: It’s another long process of manually entering receipts one-by-one.

That means typing in details like merchant, date, and amount from every receipt for your records, and then again into your accounting package.

Solution: it’s frustrating to receive a shoebox of receipts at the end of the month. On the other hand, it’s also unrealistic to expect clients to meticulously sort and  photocopy every single receipt. Expensify is a great solution that solves both headaches without compromising on accounting power.

Encourage clients to use Expensify’s mobile app to take a picture of their receipt as soon as they get it and our SmartScan OCR technology will read the merchant, date, and amount automatically. At the end of the month, your road warrior can be confident that all their expenses are captured and stored in one centralized location. With your clients’ receipts automatically and accurately accounted for, you never have to manually enter receipt info again.

When you’re ready, use Expensify’s direct integration to integrate all the data into  your accounting software with just one click. Multiply those time-savings to the number of clients you have, and you’ll be done with your end-of-the-year checklists before you know it!

Headache #3: No one wants to reconcile credit cards.

Gathering receipts, and matching the expenses one by one is tedious and time consuming. Still, it’s a requirement for accuracy in your tax and statement reports.

Solution: It’s time to start using an expense reporting tool that automates this process and choose a solution like Expensify, where bank feeds are automatically imported. Expensify’s technology automatically attaches your client’s SmartScanned receipt with the appropriate credit card transaction. You’ll be able to centrally manage all of your clients’ corporate cards and see which expenses have or have not been reported. That means missed or incorrect transactions can be caught quickly. The best part? Now, no one needs to reconcile credit cards.

Headache #4: You spend way too much time manually coding expenses for Profit and Loss Statements.

But since expense categories in P&L Statements are critical to understanding your clients’ financial standing, inaccurate data can influence expected profit, depreciable purchases, and the overall health of the company.

Solution: Readers who’ve been proactively following our tips since headache #1 can put down the ibuprofen. Since GL codes from your accounting software are mapped to categories in Expensify, categorizing an expense is as simple as selecting “Meals & Entertainment” from a list. Believe it or not, when you can examine financials (rather than the expenses on it), reviewing P&L statements can be a gratifying way to wrap up your clients’ year-end.

As the year comes to a close, take advantage of accounting tools to save yourself and your firm time and money. Seeking out other accounting tips in conjunction with adopting an expense reporting tool can change the way you see expenses. These small, incremental changes to your workflow can dramatically lower your stress level — especially around the holidays. After all, the only headache you should be getting is from the eggnog with your family and friends— not from year-end expenses.

Start checking off items now! Sign up at www.expensify.com.

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About the author

Sylvea Wong

Sylvea Wong said her first word at 18 months and hasn't looked back since. When she's not talking about Expensify, accounting tech, or marketing, you can find her onstage for open mic nights or karaoke

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