What’s the best method for tracking mileage reimbursement for your business? That’s a tough question. But what’s the most common method? That’s an easier one. The mileage reimbursement spreadsheet has traditionally been used as a quick and easy way to keep track of all kinds of data, and that includes mileage and mileage reimbursement for businesses.
While spreadsheets are pretty user-friendly and easy to fill out, there are several pitfalls to spreadsheets that make them a less effective tool for the reimbursement process than other options. Below, we’ll explore why spreadsheets may not be working out well for you and discuss alternatives to your mileage reimbursement spreadsheet that will work much better for your business.
Potential for Errors
One of the biggest issues with keeping a mileage reimbursement spreadsheet is the potential for various errors, like mislabeled or mistyped data. They might seem small, but little errors in data entry pile up in a big way! In order to reimburse employees for miles traveled, you have to include more than just odometer readings for each trip. When it comes to mileage logs, the IRS is looking for accurate, thorough logs of how many miles employees traveled along with starting and ending locations, when the trip took place, and what purpose the trip had for your business. Any missing info could render a reimbursement payment non-deductible.
If your business is using a spreadsheet to keep track of mileage, how do you know if the odometer readings and trip mileage logged are correct? You don’t, which means approvers have to verify it every time, which is a pretty time-consuming step. If the numbers don’t match up, the claim will be rejected and sent back for correction. Besides the time this’ll cost your business up front, proving the correction for an audit trail in a spreadsheet could be pretty hard to do.
The long and short of it is this: The more human beings—fallible as we are—have to touch something, the more likely it is that human errors will occur. And while these errors may seem minor on an individual level, if employees start to see the process as unreliable, they’ll just stop abiding by it altogether.
Difficulty Keeping Track
Any issues with errors and mistakes in mileage reimbursement spreadsheets are compounded when you stop to consider just how many employees you have and how much they might be traveling for their work on a daily basis. For example, if you’re a home healthcare provider, a single aide might be making dozens of trips every week! That’s a lot of miles, and a lot of data you need to keep track of in order to prove that your organization’s reimbursement process follows IRS guidelines.
Besides the endless potential for information backlogs, pileups, and important data slipping through the cracks, relying on spreadsheets also makes it difficult to hold employees accountable for mileage reporting. How can you monitor that employees are staying up to date and entering information correctly when they’re all responsible for their own mileage logging?
Lack of Integration
Spreadsheets are a useful office tool, there’s no denying that. However, they’re primarily for logging and organizing data, and their usefulness ends there. They don’t automatically integrate with your company’s reimbursement process, which overcomplicates the process.
How exactly is the data from a spreadsheet transferred to an expense report that each employee submits to get reimbursed? Does the mileage reimbursement spreadsheet itself count as the report? Who has access to it? How do supervisors and members of management know when and how to review and approve information? And, finally, how is the data communicated to your company’s payroll or accounting department so they can issue the reimbursement?
That’s the thing about spreadsheets—once the data is on the sheet, that’s the end of its job. That puts a lot of pressure on you and other managers and supervisors to ensure the process of reimbursement is actually carried out. This increases the likelihood of headache-causing complications like bottlenecks, and other hangups in the process that will prevent employees from getting paid.
Alternatives to Spreadsheets
So long, spreadsheets. It’s not us…it’s you. We love ya, but it’s time we see other mileage reimbursement options.
So, what are those other options? Well, have you considered automating the reimbursement process? Low-tech options are all well and good, but utilizing a software specifically designed to track business mileage could save you and your employees a lot of time and strife.
Once you decide to upgrade to a software solution for tracking mileage reimbursement, the next step is to understand what you want from that software. Your business will benefit, first of all, from mileage reimbursement software that is able to differentiate between mileage traveled for work and mileage traveled for personal reasons. It should also be able to automate approval workflows to reduce the amount of time it takes employees to be reimbursed.
Mileage reimbursement software that prioritizes mobile technology and can work with your company’s existing payment systems will also tremendously help your company increase ease and efficiency to the reimbursement process. And, perhaps, most importantly, you’re going to want technology that will be able to catch errors that a human might miss, such as duplicate trips and excess mileage amounts.
CompanyMileage is the Missing Link in Your Reimbursement Process
The mileage reimbursement spreadsheet has had its time in the sun, but it’s time for you to prioritize a smart, digital solution that will integrate with your organization’s reimbursement process, instead of adding steps. So throw over your spreadsheets and embrace the future with CompanyMileage. Our suite of expense reimbursement tools, SureMileage, SureExpense and our mobile app, SureMobile, automate the reimbursement process from start to finish.
SureMobile lets employees log trips right from their smartphones, and since our software calculates the fastest route between the beginning and end of each trip, you don’t need to worry about mileage padding or personal mileage sneaking into the numbers. Employees simply need to take a few minutes each day to organize their trips, snap photos of any receipts, and submit expense reports for review.
Our system automatically moves each report to the next phrase in your organization’s approval workflow for review, eliminating pileups and bottlenecks. Our system can even integrate with your payroll and accounting software, to ensure timely reimbursement for approved expense requests.
If you’re ready to revolutionize mileage reimbursement for your organization, contact CompanyMileage to request a demo today.