- 5 minute read

How to Track Employee Expenses Efficiently and Easily

You know it’s time to start tracking expenses when you get a larger than expected bill in the mail. As a startup, that’s never a welcome surprise: the more you spend, the shorter your runway and the more you dilute yourself in the next round.

The good news is that once you learn how to track employee spending properly, you’ll have a much better handle on your expenses and hopefully won’t end up with any surprises at the end of the month.  

In this article, we want to show you how to track employee spending easily and quickly with a spend management solution.

Looking to sign up for a spend management tool immediately? Join Jeeves for free and start tracking!

Four ways to track employee spending

There are several ways to do employee expense tracking, and the right way for you depends on your specific business needs and business finance requirements.

Here are the top four, in order of least to most convenient:

1. Expense reports and claims

This is the most common and well-known employee expense management method, and it’s most likely to be the one you start off with: asking employees to use their own cards and then filing a claim and expense report. You then keep the reports to track their spending every month, and refund the payment at the end of the month.

The main advantage of this method is that you can get started right away and all you need is an expense report template to get started.

However, once you grow and start having higher business expenses, it can quickly become a pain. The main disadvantage of this method is:

  • Expense claims take a long time to process
  • There is a high chance for errors
  • There’s a lack of visibility
  • Employees don’t usually read expense policies, so they’ll keep getting it wrong
  • Employees have to use their own money

Once you have over 9 employees, filing accurate expense reports and managing claims quickly becomes a nightmare. Which is why this method is best for companies with under nine employees that don’t have high business expenses.

If you’re growing and have higher expenses, it’s time to look at other options.

2. Expense reports and business expense app

The next step up from using expense report templates and refunding employees is to use an app or software to manage it all. It’s the same, but digitised.

Your employees might have a receipt or expense tracking app that is connected to an approval workflow process. This way, employees still use their own debit or credit cards to pay, and then use an app to submit the payment claim electronically along with a photo of the receipt, so they don’t have to manually fill in a claim.

The main advantage is that it’s quite easy to find these apps and software and it doesn’t take long to get set up. The workflows are smoother and you can more easily track employee spending since it’s all digital. That means there are fewer human errors, less time spent on data entry and more visibility into employee spending.

However, most of the disadvantages stay the same:

  • Employees are using their own money
  • Employees might still get expenses wrong since they don’t read expense policies
  • Someone internal still needs to revise each payment, approve it and then send a refund

This option is good if you want to get set up quickly, don’t have too many employees and business expenses are not too high or complex.

3. Prepaid employee debit cards

With prepaid employee debit cards, we forget about expense reimbursements and instead issue employees with their very own company debit card connected to expense tracking software. You can set a specific spending limit, set up permissions, and employees just need to take a photo of their receipt whenever they make a payment. No more hassle with reimbursements or claim filing.

The main advantages of this method is that it’s a lot better than the previous two. Employees won’t be using their own money, and you’ll have high visibility on real-time transactions made by employees. It’s also a lot easier to implement and streamline an expense policy, since it will be integrated into their spending and card.

What about the negatives? You’ll need to partner with a business card payment provider to do this, and it could take a while to set up. The other negative is that since you’re using a prepaid debit card, you’ll need to top up each employee’s card every month.

This option is great if you’re looking for a spend management solution and have over 9 employees and relatively high business expenses. However, if you’re ready to use a solution like this, you might be better off going straight to the next one… 👇

4. Employee credit cards with a spend management solution

With employee credit cards that are connected to a spend management solution, you get all the benefits of using a prepaid employee card, with a lot more. Employees will have their own cards, you can easily set spending limits from a centralised dashboard and have expense policies embedded into the workflow.

But there are more benefits: instead of topping up your account every month, your employee will have a pre approved credit limit which you can set yourself. Which means that at the end of the month, you just need to pay off their credit balance with a simple bank transfer or automate direct debit (meaning, you won’t have to set up anything).

The biggest benefit here, though, is when you have 10 different credit cards for each of your 10 employees. Imagine having to top up 10 different prepaid cards every month! With credit cards, all you need to do is one payment to clear your balance at the end of the month, saving you tons of admin time. And if it’s direct debit, it’s all automatic — you won’t even have to touch your bank account.

And that’s not all: credit cards offer you and your employees other benefits, such as airport lounges, discounts, rewards and cashback.

There’s many other benefits to using credit cards, such as helping smooth out your cash flow, grow more quickly and keep cash in your bank account for longer.

What about the disadvantages? The main negatives of credit cards is that you do need to be approved by the credit card company. As a new business, that can often be tricky as you need to submit 3 - 4 years of financial statements. The other is that you have to make sure you use a credit card that offers a spend management solution. You want to be able to track transactions, have the right software integrations, set spending limits and issue employee cards easily from one dashboard.

With Jeeves, we approve new and small businesses if they can prove they are financially healthy — either through proof of external investment or 6 months of financial statements. You’ll also have a free centralised dashboard that makes it easy to track your employee spending, and you’ll also be able to integrate with Xero.

To find out more, apply to Jeeves for free (we don’t do credit checks).

How to track employee spending with a Jeeves credit card

Jeeves is a business credit card and a spend management solution in one. With Jeeves, each of your employees will have their own business credit card which will be connected to one centralised dashboard.

Since it’s a credit card, you’ll have free working capital for 30 days. And as a spend management solution, you’ll also be able to set spending limits, give your employees their own cards, sync with your accounting software and manage everything from one dashboard.

We don’t charge any interest or fees, and currently offer 10x the spending limit than other incumbent credit cards (and get you approved in under 48 hours).

Here’s how to track employee spending with Jeeves:

1. Sign up for free

We’ve made it easy and smooth to sign up to Jeeves. You simply need to fill in this application form with a few details and we can get you up and running in under 48 hours. Signing up is free and our underwriting system allows us to give high credit limits and a short amount of time.

2. Give each employee a card

Sure, you can track employee spending with expense reimbursements and ask employees to use a tracking app. But the easiest way to track employee spending is to give each one their own card.

With Jeeves, you can order credit cards for free, and easily set spending controls from one dashboard. Since you can add spending limits, you’ll easily be able to make sure no one overspends (even yourself!).

jeeves card management

3. Start tracking

Once you’ve received your card, you can start spending from your Jeeves account and you’ll see the transactions automatically posted to your Jeeves dashboard and mobile device app. As your employees start spending, you’ll also see their transactions coming in.

4. Pay off your balance at the end of the month

Just like a normal credit card, you’ll get a statement at the end of the month (from your Statements tab). In order to pay off your balance, you’ll just need to complete a direct bank transfer (our bank details are on the statement) and you’ll see an update on your dashboard.

We’ll credit any cashback you’ve earned on your statement, which means you’ll probably pay off less than you initially spent. So far, here’s how much cashback we’re offering:

jeeves credit card cashback

You’ll also be able to offer your employees access to over 1,300 airport lounges globally for business travel, as well as discounts on certain tools and products. Learn more here: Benefits and Rewards

Other handy Jeeves features

Add expense receipts and notes

With the Jeeves mobile app, your employees can pay for an item with their card, and use our receipt scanning functionality to attach a photo of the receipt to the transaction. This will sync with the dashboard, so you can view any receipts or notes added to the transaction.

Adding all the info helps make sure you always remember what an expense was for when it comes to accounting time.

jeeves transactions

Use virtual cards

Virtual cards are an incredible tool to track spending. Say, for example, you want to track your Facebook spend at a monthly level. With Jeeves, you can create a virtual card with a spending limit, for example £5k. That unique virtual card is set to only work for Facebook ads, and the limit can’t go over £5k.

That virtual card is then set as a payment method on Facebook. That means that every month you won’t have to worry about overspending, since you’ll have a limit on the virtual card which automatically renews every month.

Get monthly statements with all the information

When you’re dealing with multiple vendors, credit cards and receipts, end of the month accounting can become an absolute nightmare.

But if everyone uses their own credit card that is tied to a spend management solution, you’ll have all the information on one monthly statement at the end of the month. End of month accounting suddenly becomes much less of a headache.

By using a spend management platform like Jeeves, you can easily track employee spending without dealing with different vendors, papers and cards. You can set spending limits, and give your employees freedom with their own cards. Tracking your employee spending diligently via your dashboard means you won’t get hit with a surprise credit card bill at the end of the month.