Best Expense Report Templates for Excel, for Any Industry

expense report templates

Expense reports are there to keep track of whichever items and/or services you spend money on while working. Frequent examples might include costs associated with business travel — ranging from transportation and parking to meals and hotels — to give one illustration of common business expense categories. These are often non-recurring expenses, meaning that they must be carefully noted and tracked so that they can be properly accounted for.

For many businesses, the primary way that expense reports are carried out is via Excel spreadsheets. This powerful Microsoft tool is a cornerstone of virtually all workplaces and is used every day by finance and accounting professionals to make this manual data entry task as straightforward as possible. The advantage of Excel, alongside its ubiquity, which makes it accessible and familiar to large numbers of users, is how straightforward it is to create and update expense reports. Simply choose a free template, create an Excel workbook, then start entering dates, charges, and the like as they occur.

In this article, we’ll look at the best expense report templates for Excel, regardless of which industry you’re in — as well as how automation can help make this kind of expense tracking even easier. Let’s get started.

Types of Business Expense Report Templates for Excel

Basic expense report template

The basic expense report is a great one-size-fits-all solution for non-specialized requirements — although there’s the option to customize it to your purposes if required. As a template, it allows you to record the date of a transaction, the payment method, the vendor, a brief description of the expense, and the total payment amount. These templates are especially well-suited for startups and smaller organizations.

Example

Travel expense report template

As noted up top, travel expenses are likely to be a common expense for tracking by many organizations — especially now that the world is opening up again following the pandemic. A travel expense report template is tailored to travel, with information that can be recorded regarding costs like transportation, meals, hotels, and more.

Example

Business mileage log template

If your travel expense tracking is particularly focused on mileage (for instance, remunerating gas costs for car-owning employees), then you may want to use a template built around mileage. Mileage log templates include categories like date, starting point, destination, travel purpose, space for odometer readings, and rate. Especially if you’re a salesperson or anyone else who spends hours on the road, keeping accurate track of business mileage is essential for gas cost reimbursement, potential IRS deductions, vehicle maintenance purposes, and more. This is a great way to do it.

Example

Event budget and expense template

Whether it’s a virtual, a hybrid, or an in-person event that you’re hosting, it’s crucial to keep stock of your costs — both projected and actual. An event budget and expense template can help you keep track not just of how much it cost versus expected cost, but how many people attended, a breakdown of expenses during the event (from venue rental to equipment to staff), other important recordable details, and more. By tracking both projected and actual figures, you can also easily determine profitability and ROI (return-on-investment).

Example

Project expense report template

Like an event budget and expense report, a project expense report template is essential when it comes to tracking both the estimated advance costs and the actual costs — making it easy to work out whether you’re under-, on-, or over-budget. A template of this kind allows you to break projects into tasks, include details about the necessary resources you need to spend on (whether it’s contractors, materials, or anything else), and generally track the myriad of expenses you have to properly account for.

Example 

Timed expense template

While many employees may be on fixed salaries, plenty of others may have to fill out timesheets to account for hours worked each day. These templates will track total hours, made up of both regular and overtime hours, in addition to any breaks taken. In the micro sense, this kind of tracking is important to ensure that those people working for you are paid the right amount for work done. In the macro, this can help you to better measure the productivity and efficiency of employees or teams when viewed alongside other data regarding work completed.

Example

Contractor expense report template

A contractor expense report allows contractors to log the various out-of-pocket expenses they may rack up on a job, so that these can be paid back to them or otherwise noted for tax purposes.

Example

Business expense reimbursement template

Much like the basic expense report, a business expense reimbursement template allows employees and businesses to track expenses ranging from training fees and office supplies to one-off travel items in order to reimburse them for such out-of-pocket expenses.

Example

For better tracking, automated solutions are the answer

The advantage and disadvantage of tracking business expenses in Excel is largely the same: That it’s a simple and stripped-down solution. That makes it accessible to large numbers of people, even without much technical proficiency or training. The fact that such templates are free can also keep costs low. However, it doesn’t necessarily offer a high resolution view of payments — not allowing, for example, scans of receipts to be easily linked to within Excel workbooks. Such tools may also be inadequate for larger organizations.

For more control over payments, many accounting teams increasingly use automation to augment these simpler tracking solutions. Automating business expense reporting can help simplify approval flows, carry out tasks like automatic receipt matching, offer real-time notifications, and integrate with a broad stack of payments tools. In doing so, they can help increase payment efficiency — while keeping time spent on this task at a minimum. 

For help automating your business expense reporting with Mesh, you’re welcome to get in touch for a free demo

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