Handling expenses on a business trip

Markku Brask

I was recently on a business trip abroad. You might have heard the story before — even experienced it yourself.


A day in the life of a salesman

This is pretty much how the day went by:

  • In the morning, I went to airport with my car, parked it, and went through security with my laptop bag. Then I went to the gate to wait for the airplane.
  • At the destination, I found a taxi outside the airport, and checked with the driver if credit card payment was ok.
  • Arriving at the customer, I got the receipt for the trip, and placed it in my pocket, laptop bag, or some other safe place.
  • Met with the customer offered her lunch during the meeting, paid for it, and placed the receipt in one of the safe places.
  • Got a taxi back to the airport, paid and got the receipt placed it in a safe place.
  • After the security check and waiting at the gate, I flew back home.
  • Found a parking payment machine, paid the ticket, and placed the receipt in safe place.

This is a very typical structure of a one day business trip abroad. And if my visit had lasted more than one day, I'd have needed even more taxi trips. And of course, I'd have booked a hotel and had even more receipts.

And then, maybe after a couple of weeks, bookkeeping would send me a reminder or two  to hand in the receipts of all expenses from the trip described above and maybe a couple of other things as well. Then I'd start up the time machine in my head and try to remember which clothes, bags, and other possible safe place destinations, I had for the receipts when spending company money. If your work style is very structured, it's possible to have all of them in one place and in a condition where reading the contents is also possible. But I bet not all of us are having such routines.



We now do it differently

It's almost a crime not everyone has it


I’m a bit lucky in this case, as we have eaten our own dog food for all the expenses we generate. And the solution is so simple, it's almost a crime not everyone has it.

What actually happened on my trip, was slightly different. I'll only tell the difference from what you've already read above:

  • On all lines stating: 'got the receipt, placed it in safe place', I actually just took a picture of the receipt with my mobile Device, and forwarded it to an email address which has been defined for expenses. Right after getting the receipt. And that's it.

Then after returning to the office, I had a couple of emails waiting in my inbox. Those emails were telling me that I had some tasks waiting in my workbasket. By clicking the link in the email, my work basket opened and asked me to add expense details to those receipts, I had generated on my trip. Once done, I accepted the tasks, and that was it. And if I hadn't done that based on the first reminder, I would receive more reminders, until the tasks were done.


Less stress and more focus on what I’m supposed to do.
I love how it works. I don’t need to remember where I placed my receipts, I don’t need to add all the details of the expenses on my small mobile screen, and I don’t need to remember to do the expenses before bookkeeping starts to get warm on me. Less stress and more focus on what I’m supposed to do. Just brilliant.


Markku Brask 
Executive Sales Manager


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