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Reducing the costs (and hassles) of expense reporting

With Finra cracking down, it is critical to find the right tools to protect you and your business

Feb 19, 2014 @ 9:16 am

By Alex Murguia

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A recent story by Mason Braswell spotlighted the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.'s crackdown on expense reporting. The entries cited in the article ranged from fraudulent charges to embarrassing mistakes. As both a business owner and as a user of a company credit card, this is an issue that is near and dear to my heart (wallet, actually). Few things are more deflating than coming back from a very productive trip and having to fill out expense reports rather than sending e-mails and making calls.

Check out these 8 expense account blunders — from the wacky to the mundane

In addition, collecting expense reports from our staff was not a very efficient process. According to our comptroller, receipts would not be attached with the expense spreadsheet or staff would forget to return the spreadsheet with the explanations of expenses listed. Ultimately, it was very time-consuming to review each credit card expense for the month and then expense each charge to the appropriate category.

Many of these expense report sins led to countless hallway conversations in an effort to track down information that was once easily available and retrievable in either a receipt tucked away in a right-hand pocket or in your short-term memory. We recently implemented Expensify and it has already begun to streamline this process. Expensify is an online app that has quickly become one of my “go to” working apps on my mobile phone. It has solved many of our reporting issues in the following ways by:

• Managing everything from adding receipts, saving images, creating and sending reports, approving expenses, and sending to accountant all from one place.

&bull: Integrating with Quickbooks ( and various accounting software packages) to streamline the reimbursement processes. This saves a lot of time for both users and accountant.

If you read my previous post on bring your own mobile device policies, it is available on both IOS and Android devices and provides mobility that you can use anywhere. Hence, you can fill out reports during dead times (e.g., while waiting for flight, etc.).

And although you can easily do this on your desktop browser, working off your mobile device while the expenses are still fresh in your mind will really streamlines the process.

Alex Murguía is a managing principal at McLean Asset Management Corp. and chief executive of inStream Solutions. He can be reached on Twitter @alexmurguia1


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