Everyone hates the chore of filling out an expense report spreadsheet.
There’s even a website dedicated to the topic: ExpenseReportingSucks.com.
But creating an expense report spreadsheet doesn’t have to, well, suck. I recently used Tiller and a free Google Spreadsheet template to gather, categorize, and submit my expenses from a work conference.
It took me about ten minutes, including reformatting a free expense report spreadsheet template swiped from the Google Template Gallery.
Automation to Speed Up Expense Reporting in a Spreadsheet
Tiller makes it super easy to generate expense reports in a spreadsheet. That’s because Tiller’s job is to automatically import your daily credit card transactions into Google Sheets or Excel.
Simply link your credit card, bank, or other expense accounts to Tiller, chose a Tiller template, then link Tiller to Google Sheets or Excel.
Tiller will pull in your last three months of transactions. Each transaction is automatically organized by date, with a description, total amount, and account number.
With your business expenses in Google Sheets or Excel, can then categorize, analyze, and export them at will.
For people who regularly need to deal with expense reports, Tiller saves hours of manual data entry each quarter. Less data entry = less time dealing with expense reports = more time for productive work. Or fun. It’s up to you.
What’s an Expense Report Spreadsheet?
There are several kinds of expense reports for business purposes. According to the Business Dictionary, the most common expense report is one “recorded by an employee and submitted to an employer either for reimbursement or tracking of any money spent.” (Like my example above.)
Expense Report Spreadsheets typically track:
- travel expenses
- business trips
- mileage tracking
- weekly expense reports
Businesses also run expense reports on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis. These reports are sometimes submitted to the IRS for tax purposes.
Tiller Simple Business template for Google Sheets (included with every Tiller subscription) makes generating these reports easy for freelance and small businesses.
What’s Included in a Typical Expense Report Spreadsheet?
The website Accounting Tools notes most employee expense reports usually require the following core information:
- Date on which an expenditure was incurred (matches the date on the related receipt)
- The amount of the expense (matches the amount of the related receipt)
- The nature of the expense (such as airline tickets, meals, or parking fees)
- The account to which the expense should be charged
- A subtotal for each type of expense
- A subtraction for any prior advances paid to the employee
- The grand total of the amount of reimbursement requested
Again, Tiller automates the collection and organization of data into a spreadsheet for steps 1 – 5.
You can manually categorize transactions (with up to 200 custom categories), or use AutoCat to do this for you.
Expense Report Spreadsheet Templates
Tiller doesn’t currently offer a template that you’d use to submit your expense report. However, there are many free templates available for both Google Sheets and Excel. You can easily modify these with your company and personal information.
To get your transaction data from your Tiller sheet into your expense report template, simply copy the relevant data from your Tiller sheet and paste it into your report.
Google Sheets Template for Expense Reporting
There’s a simple Expense Report template in the Google Sheets template gallery. In Sheets, click New > From Template to access.
Excel Template for Expense Reporting
Microsoft offers a free simple expense report template right here.
Logging Expense Receipts
Some businesses want you to log your printed receipts along with your expense report. There are several ways to do this for Google Sheets:
- Track Business Receipts in Google Drive via the Tiller help center.
- How to Organize Your Receipts (the Easy Way!) with Google Drive via DoughRoller
- Paperpusher add-in for Google Sheets (not tested by Tiller, but has a 4-star review)
Meanwhile, Handshake has several options for Excel.
Submitting Your Expense Report
Both Excel and Google Sheets allow you to convert your expense spreadsheet into a PDF and email or download directly from the application.
You can also save a copy for yourself in Google Drive, OneDrive, or Dropbox.
Tracking Reimbursements With Tiller
If you track spending or make a budget with Tiller budget, consider tracking reimbursements with the transfer category.
“If you are often reimbursed by your employer you could categorize each purchase using a “reimbursement” category that’s set up using a transfer type and then when you’re reimbursed split that transaction (if necessary) to round out the transfers with another “reimbursement” categorized transaction. Read more in our help center.
PS: Procrastinate on your expense reports? You’re not alone. Here’s an article that might help: The Procrastination Doom Loop—and How to Break It.