49+ Sample Expense Forms

What Is an Expense Form?

An expense form is a formal document that is used to itemize or list down various expenses of an individual, typically an employee or a professional. In most cases, an expense form is used to expedite the process of reimbursement. 

According to a recent article by TravelPerk, the average cost for a US business trip is $1,293- based on a 2019 Runzheimer report. When it comes to international business trips, the average expense was about $2,525.     

Types of Employee Expenses

There are all kinds of expenses and it’s important to classify them into groups. There are household expenses, office expenses and also personal expenses. But for the purpose of this article, the following examples below describe the common types of employee expenses that are generally eligible for reimbursement.   

Travel. When it comes to travel, a trip can be classified as either leisure or official business. Work trips obviously fall under the latter while vacations and recreational trips fall under leisure travel. With the increased ease in mobility and greater accessibility in today’s global economy, it is not uncommon anymore for people to travel for work- whether domestically or internationally. Employees are sent on business trips for various reasons but generally to represent the company in events or engage in business transactions on behalf of the company. Whether it is to meet with a potential client or establish a new branch of operations or satellite office, traveling for work would always entail considerable expense. The organization or company normally shoulders the travel expenses, whether it’s a plane ticket or hotel accommodation. In cases wherein the employee ends up paying for the trip themselves due to unexpected reasons, he or she may file a reimbursement expense form so the company may pay them back. Meals. Another basic expense that employees spend is meals. It is important to note that this is different from the daily meals that an employee has at their workplace during lunch break. When it comes to business trips, company functions and official engagements, food is most likely to be served. Whether it is a full-course meal, afternoon snacks, or even free flowing coffee, these all fall under meal expenses. For meals served during important business meetings or company-sponsored events, then it is usually the company’s responsibility to shoulder the cost. An employee is not expected to spend for meals other than what is done outside of the official itinerary or schedule. If the employee advances the payment for meals himself, then the amount he spent can be paid back as long as he follows the company’s reimbursement process and guidelines. Transportation. In addition to housing or accommodation, transportation is easily considered one of the major expenses. Again within the context of business travel or work trips, the company must usually shoulder the transportation costs of the employee. The latter obviously needs to get around to get things done. And whether the employee rents a car or takes public transport, as long as he is attending to business-related matters then he has no reason to pay for it himself. However, the mode of transportation is an important consideration as well. Taking the bus or mass transit generally costs less than riding taxis or hired vehicles. So if the company wants to economize, the employee has little choice but to manage or adjust accordingly. In other cases where the employee’s personal car is used for official business, they may seek recompense from the company for gas expenses and even parking fees.

Tips for Filing an Expense Form

If you want to claim your refund or be reimbursed properly, then you need to keep in mind these important tips. Of course, each company or organization has their own process or system for expense tracking. But needless to say, you also should be responsible for your own expenses especially if the funds you are using belong to the company.

Keep the receipts. This is standard protocol for most companies and businesses. Expense forms must be sufficiently backed up by proof of purchase or an official receipt. You have to be able to produce the receipts if you want the liquidation process to go smoothly and swiftly. This means saving or keeping the receipts of all your company expenses. Whether it is a lunch meeting, a taxi ride to the event venue, or even materials you had to buy at the last minute for a company function, make sure to keep track of all these. In rare cases where an official receipt cannot be produced because it’s an informal transaction or the establishment simply couldn’t issue one, you can ask them to sign an acknowledgement receipt. All these must be kept in mind if you want to avoid being questioned by the company. Liquidate as soon as possible. Most companies set a deadline for employees to liquidate their expenses. So once you return from a business trip or official function, make sure to do the necessary accounting of all your official expenses. The liquidation process is important because it helps ensure transparency and accountability. And prolonging the wait or putting it off at a later time will only add to your list of pending items. It is best to liquidate everything while it is still recent and fresh in your mind. Don’t wait until the last hour to do so because it can be very inconvenient if you end up losing a receipt or misplacing one. In addition to promoting transparency and accountability, you are also acting responsibly if you act with urgency on the matter. Don’t overspend. Like in all financial matters, there is value in frugality and prudence. Whether you are on a work trip or even a leisure trip, it is always wise not to overspend or exceed your budget. When you are on official business, it is even more important to be responsible with your finances. It can be tempting to spend especially if it is a company-sponsored trip or event. But you have to remember that you are not there on your own account and any personal expenses such as shopping and entertainment should be paid for with your own personal money, not with company funds. If you happen to exceed your budget, be responsible enough to cover the excess with your own payment. And on the other side of the spectrum, if you end up not using the entire budget or you have surplus funds, then you need to return it back to the company. Organize and Categorize. A helpful tip to keep in mind when filing an expense form or report is to keep it organized. Note that the expense form is not just for your own personal file; other people need to refer to it as well. For instance, your company’s Accounting department would be an obvious example. They would need to take a look at your expense report and see if it checks out. To make your form more organized, it helps to categorize your different expenses. Especially if your expenses contain more than just a few items, then all the more it needs to be organized in a manner that’s easily comprehensible. Categorize your expenses by creating subsections for each expense group. For example, lump together all the meals in one section and all the transportation-related costs in another. Providing a brief description for each item is also helpful.

How to Create an  Expense Form

To create an expense form, you first need to ensure that you have all the important information regarding your expenses. And if you are looking for a quick way to create an expense form or report, then using a ready-made template is the most practical option. Simply choose from the dozens of printable templates above and follow the basic steps below.   

Step 1: Select a Template

The first step is to choose a suitable template. Of course, you also have the option to start from scratch. But if you are short on time and need to get the job done quickly, a template is the easiest option. With a pre-designed template, you don’t have to worry about getting the format right. All you need to do is input the important details. In the case of an expense form, it is best to use a table to establish a more organized report. With a table, you can easily list down or enumerate your various expenses in a clear-cut way. Plus, it makes it more reader-friendly. Alternatively, you can also use an Excel spreadsheet; the application also has several templates that you can use.  

Step 2: Itemize Each Expense 

The most important step in creating an expense form is enumerating your expenses. It is crucial that you itemize each and every expense incurred. Whether it’s a pricey business dinner with a client or a seemingly trivial purchase like duct tape for a company event, list it down. When it comes to refundable company expenses, the main categories are usually meals, transportation, and travel (or accommodation). With this in mind, you can categorize the items or cluster it according to the nature of the expense. For instance, list down your breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks under meals. And for transportation-related costs like taxis or gas, you can place them under another section.  

Step 3: Double Check the Data

After listing all your expenses, it is important to double check the amounts. Double checking the information and reviewing your report before submitting is a vital step. Doing this can save you a lot of potential problems or inconvenience later on. See to it that it is the correct amount for each item or expense. The expense report needs to reflect what is stated in the receipt. It might also help to provide a brief description for each item, if space and time permits. This will help clarify or justify your expenses better. Lastly, you can include dates in your report as well. Official receipts come with receipt numbers and time stamps. So basing it on the receipts you’ve kept, you can indicate the date of each expense under a different column in the table. 

Step 4: State the Total Amount 

The last step is to total all your expenses and indicate the amount at the bottom of the form or table. You can highlight the total amount or type it in bold numbers to further emphasize it. If you are comfortable using Excel, you can easily obtain the total by using the sum function in the application. Providing a summary of your expenses is necessary when crafting an expense report. Lastly, don’t forget to include your name, signature and date in the expense form before submitting it. 


What is an expense claim form?

An expense claim form is a business document that itemizes a list of official expenses to be reimbursed by a company.

What is an expense form used for?

In business, an expense form is commonly used to document business expenses for reimbursement or refund purposes.

How do you create an expense form?

To create an expense form, the easiest way is to use a template and simply fill in the necessary expenses or items along with their corresponding amounts.

An expense form is a useful business document that can help promote greater accountability and transparency. Browse the wide collection of editable and printable templates above, choose one that suits your needs and create your own expense form today!