Sometimes, not having the "awkward expensing conversation" sends the wrong message. It’s a dicey situation, but one that can lead to serious ramifications when not dealt with immediately. So, how to deal with it?
My new job is about two months old. In that time, I’ve routinely expensed a number of things for work. Travel expenses or meals for clients/employees. I’ve been paying for this directly with my credit card. A week ago, I had to buy expensive plane tickets for a business trip to Ireland and put two nights’ hotel accommodation on my card. Now, I’m extremely uncomfortable about this as I don’t earn loads (on top of it, I live in London!) and need to keep proper track of my finances. Not to mention, I have another business trip to Barcelona coming up and the tickets look might expensive. For the past few days, I’ve been contemplating whether or not to ask them for a company credit card. The whole issue of making the “expensing conversation” makes me squirm. - Pippa, 24
If you’re new to your company or are just unfamiliar with taking business trips in general, don’t shy away from setting clear expectations as far as company expenditures are concerned. I would simply suggest you be as direct as possible.
Request to speak directly with your manager and let them know that “financial assistance” would be helpful for the upcoming trip to Barcelona. If you’re putting this in email, it might look like this:
I’m excited about the business meeting next month. I’m about to purchase my tickets to Barcelona and wondered if you or someone else in the accounting department have a corporate credit card I could charge the transactions to? For personal reasons, I am unable to front the cost of this trip on my card and invoice at a later date. If it’s easier, I can send you the invoices or reach out to accounts for their help in completing the transactions directly.
While I’m not a business travel expert, I do know that open lines of communication is essential in such matters. If I were you, I’d ask questions or iron out potential issues before the trip. “How do I expense everything correctly? Is there a company format I can refer to?” rather than avoid it for as long as I can. The idea to save yourself from work-travel anxiety and keep your wallet intact. Happy travels!
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