What is Employee Reimbursement?

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  • Written By: Lori Smith
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 21 August 2019
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It is sometimes necessary for an employee to incur certain expenses in order to conduct business on a daily basis. Driving a personal vehicle to run company errands or make sales calls is sometimes necessary, but it can be a costly expense if a staff member has to pay for it on his own. From time to time, individuals may also need to purchase office supplies or pick up materials for a campaign or project and use personal funds to pay for the items. When these types of expenses occur, most companies offer employee reimbursement.

In addition to tangible business purchases, local travel costs are often included on an expense report for employee reimbursement. Compensation for mileage, parking fees and similar expenses usually qualifies. Likewise, out-of-town business-related travel is also frequently reimbursed. Incidentals such as airfare, taxicab rides, gratuities, rental car costs, hotel accommodations, and dining out at restaurants may all be covered under an employer's compensation plan.

Staff members should make it a point to understand the employee reimbursement policy before spending any of their own money, however. A company usually has specific criteria in place that outlines what expenditures a business owner is willing to cover. Many expenses have to be approved in advance to prevent people from making unauthorized purchases, such as a new office desk, and then expecting a company to pay for it.


Since business owners usually set internal budgets, expensive items that are not authorized can place a huge burden on a company's finances. People who do not follow employee reimbursement policies are likely to have their requests for repayment declined. The same may also be true for excessive telephone charges or other costs that exceed an acceptable allowance.

At the end of each month, staff members are usually required to provide their managers with completed expense reports. This standardized form is where an individual typically lists all of the business expenses he incurred during the month. He should include the reason for the financial outlay and any associated job numbers or other indicators when it relates to a specific client or project.

All of the corresponding receipts collected throughout the month should be attached to the employee reimbursement request. Additionally, any written authorizations should also be submitted for verification of pre-approved, legitimate expenses. Before turning in reports and receipts, it is wise for staff members to make copies of everything in case the employer's paperwork is ever lost or misplaced.


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