How to fill out an expense report in 7 easy steps

A San Jose Mercury News staffer writes: “Here’s the Merc News memo on new Amex cards. Clearly reporters should forget about reporting and writing and shift their efforts to expense accounts….”

If you are receiving this email, it’s because you have an American Express company charge card (or are in the process of getting one).

The billing cyle closed on the 29th of the month, so it’s time to go in and approve your expenses.
Moreover, effective immediately, we are adopting a department-wide protocol with regard to expense reporting and filing. For some of you, the methods described below are familiar. For others, it’s an entirely new way of doing business. Read through the steps, use the attachments for visual aid, and let me know if you have questions. Until further notice, I will be overseeing all Sports expenses.

Here is new Standard Operating Procedure, step by step.

1) Go to

2) Approve each expense, and include a detailed explanation for each expense. You will see what I want by opening the attachment. For hotels and rental car, I want to know how many days rental/nights lodging. For meals, I want to know breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For airfare, tell me where you’re going/where you went. Every expense needs an explanation./CONTINUES

3) You MUST complete this part of the process by the 10th of the month, every month.

Once you have completed the electronic approval, proceed to the Second Half of the process. You will see what I want by opening Page 2 of attachment.

4) Print the statement, and number each item

5) Number the corresponding receipts in the upper right hand corner of receipt. (If you are missing a receipt, you need to fill out a form. (See Page 3 of attachment)

6) Assemble the receipts in numerical order. Large sheets, such as hotels and airfares, can attach to AMEX statement (paper clip; no staples). Small receipts should be placed in a letter size envelope.

7) Put the whole works in the official expense envelope (See Page 4 of attachment). Sign the envelope, and deliver to me. This MUST be completed by the 20th of the month, every month.

How to deliver to me? Good question. U.S. Mail is too risky, and interoffice mail might be worse. So I’m going to need to think up something in the next two weeks. Open to your ideas.

The same protocol is in force for filing Out-of-Pocket Expenses (OOP), though there are a couple of small differences.

The url is

File items in chronlogical order, by date on receipt. Transaction detail should be listed chronologically on a separate sheet/email; much easier than using the attachment provided by system.

OOP should be filed monthly, and receipt package must accompany in order for me to approve.

* Read what my Facebook friends and subscribers say about expense accounts