business travel expenses

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: 3 Apps to Help Track Your Business Travel Expenses

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: 3 Apps to Help Track Your Business Travel Expenses

Nearly $500 billion is spent on business travel annually in the United States according to the most recent figures gathered by the Global Business Travel Association. The same study found that more than 452 million business trips were taken in 2012 alone and that number was projected to have risen in recent years. While the idea of traveling for work may seem appealing to a novice, if you regularly jet cross-country for a meeting or hopscotch time zones on a monthly basis to keep clients happy, you know that the novelty of logging air miles on your company's dime can wear off quickly. Between delayed flights, lost luggage, endless TSA screenings and keeping track of all of your travel expenses, all of the glamour of jet setting around the world wears off fast.

Though you may not be able to control the weather, delays or the security screening process, there are plenty of tricks that you learn along the way to streamline the travel process and avoid potential hiccups. For instance, your luggage won't get lost if you carry on instead of checking a bag. And when it comes to logging expenses, there are plenty of apps to help make it a lot easier with a little due diligence.

Why Track Your Travel Expenses?

In this day and age, where nearly everything can be automated and tracked with a programming script, it feels a little archaic to still track travel expenses and create expense reports. However, a lot of business travel expenses can create a red flag for an audit when you file taxes. After all, Uncle Sam wants to make sure you aren't trying to claim a deduction for that Hawaiian vacation or family trip to Disney World after that meeting in Orlando.

Easy Ways to Track It All

Skip the DIY spreadsheets and wrinkled receipts and track your business travel expenses electronically with the help of the following must-have apps:

TripIt (Free; available for iOS and Android) 

If you get overwhelmed keeping track of all of your travel itineraries and hotel confirmation emails, you must not be using TripIt yet. This easy-to-use app compiles all of your travel information into a master itinerary detailing all of your flight, hotel, rental car and restaurant reservation information. Simply forward all travel-related confirmation emails to your designated TripIt email address and the app does all of the work for you. Do this for every trip and your master itineraries can double as records of all of your business travel expenses

Concur (Free; available for iOS and Android) 

Concur is an app designed specifically for business travelers to alleviate the hassle of expense reporting. With this app, you can easily track all of your travel expenses from your phone on the way to your next meeting, so you don't have to return from your trip to spend hours sorting through a stack of receipts.

Expensify (Free; available for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Windows)

When it comes to creating an expense report with minimal effort, this app has you covered. Expensify aims to make the expense reporting process as easy as possible for users by allowing you to sync your debit and credit cards so activity can be tracked. For anything you pay cash for, simply photograph the receipt and upload it into your transaction list.

 

connie-certusi3Connie Certusi is Executive Vice President and General Manager of Small Business Solutions at Sage North America, which includes Sage One, Sage Accountants Network and Sage 50 Accounting product and service offerings.

With over 20 years of experience in the technology market serving small businesses, she has a passion for helping entrepreneurs and small business owners succeed. Follow Connie on Twitter at https://twitter.com/ccertusi