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Are You Tracking Business Expenses the Right Way?

February 17, 2023 7 min. read
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Every dollar in and out of your business can affect your pricing and profitability. In order to figure out your markup and profit margin, you need to know how much you’re spending on things like supplies, mileage, and wages. That’s where business expense tracking comes in.

Thankfully, there are a variety of business expense tracking apps out there that can keep track of costs while you and your team are on the job. With expense report apps, you don’t have to worry about sorting through a pile of crumpled receipts at the end of the day.

We’ll run through the basics of expense tracking and look at three of the best expense tracking apps for small business owners.

image of business expense tracking in Jobber

Business expense tracking in Jobber

Want to know more? Watch this episode of Ask a Business Mentor to hear four industry experts share their typical business expenses and the best ways to budget and track them:

What are business expenses?

Business expenses include any and all costs associated with the operation and administration of your service business.

For example, most service businesses track expenses such as:

  • Job supplies, like paint, flooring, or fertilizer
  • Employee wages
  • Job equipment, like mowers, pressure washers, or nail guns
  • Software, like an expense and mileage tracking app
  • Company vehicle payments and maintenance
  • Equipment and vehicle repairs
  • Job-related gas, meal, and travel expenses
  • Cell phone and communication equipment and bills
  • Office rent, furniture, and utility bills
  • Advertising and marketing costs

READ MORE: The Home Edit shares 22 tips for organizing your business

Why should you track business expenses?

If you don’t track your business expenses, you can’t know how much you’re making versus how much you’re spending.

It will also be hard to reimburse your employees accurately for business purchases that they make, like parts, supplies, gas, or other expenses.

Next, keeping track of your small business expenses can help you to determine which jobs are profitable. You can compare job expenses to revenue, and make adjustments to keep your business afloat.

Tracking business expenses can help you to see how much you spend on things like parts, mileage, and equipment maintenance. By analyzing these costs, you can figure out where you spend the most, and where you can lower costs or increase pricing.

For example, expense tracking can help you to see when the price of parts or supplies goes up. You can use this info to increase the cost of future jobs to make sure you stay profitable and aren’t paying for expenses out of pocket.

READ MORE: 30 small business tax deductions to save money when filing

How to keep track of business expenses

When it comes to tracking your small business expenses, you have two options. You can keep physical receipts and fill out paper expense sheets to submit to accounting, or you can use expense tracking software.

Expense tracking apps are generally better to use because your team can clock in and out of jobs and track expenses from anywhere. You can prep payroll faster and there are no paper receipts to worry about.

Either way, to track business expenses, you’ll need to:

  • Get a copy of a receipt to keep or scan
  • List expense details, like what it’s for and total cost
  • Choose whether it’s reimbursable or not
  • Submit it to a manager or accounting for approval

READ MORE: What is a virtual assistant and how can they help your business?

As you can see, managing all of that using paper and in-person submissions leaves a lot of room for error.

If you’re leaning towards using an app to track your small business expenses, here are three of the most popular choices for service business owners.

Best business expense tracker apps

1. Jobber’s Small Business Expense Tracker

Jobber’s business expense tracker is a well-rounded and easy-to-use option for small-to-medium-sized service businesses.

Which business expenses does it track?

One of the best features of Jobber’s business expense tracker is that it lets you track virtually any business expense you can think of, from gas and bills to supplies and equipment. It’s not limited to certain costs, like wages or mileage, which makes it a great option for service businesses with a variety of different expenses to track and manage.

And for service businesses who need to record and confirm vehicle routes for expense purposes, Jobber has a FleetSharp integration that makes it easy to review and compare mileage costs.

What features does it have?

Jobber’s business expense tracker offers two additional benefits that make it one of the best expense and mileage tracking apps out there:

  • Receipt scanning
  • Small business expense reports
  • Integrates with your job management and CRM

Receipt scanning: Jobber lets you scan and upload receipts straight to the app, which means you don’t have to worry about losing or accidentally throwing away paper receipts. Simply take a picture of your receipt, attach it to the expense log, and move on to your next job.

Expense reports: Jobber’s small business expense reports let you view, filter, and export expenses so that you can see everything from the total costs related to a single job to your total expenses for a month. This makes it easy to control costs, set budgets, and see how well your business is performing overall.

Integration with field service CRM: Jobber comes with a dedicated field service CRM, so you can easily attach expenses to specific jobs or clients. Best of all, it’s all in the same software, so you don’t need to use five different tools—just one.

image of expense tracking in Jobber

2. Expensify Expense Management Software

Expensify is a great option for small-to-medium-sized service business owners who have a lot of different expenses that need to be approved and reimbursed on a regular basis.

Which business expenses does it track?

Like Jobber, Expensify allows you to track just about any business expense. It also offers automatic mileage tracking.

What features does it have?

There are a couple of things that make Expensify a great choice for anyone looking to use an app to track their small business expenses:

  • Useful integrations
  • Delegation and approval features

Useful integrations: Expensify has a variety of useful and popular integrations, including HR, accounting, travel, tax, and receipts. From Quickbooks to Uber, Expensify has a number of different integrations for you to choose from, which makes it easy for your favorite software platforms to work together.

Delegation and approval: Expensify lets you delegate expenses to certain employees for approval, reimbursement, or filing. For example, if you would like all of your receipts sent to accounting for approval and reimbursement instead of doing it yourself, it’s easy to set up.

3. TripLog

TripLog is an ideal option for small business owners who only need to track mileage costs associated with jobs.

Which business expenses does it track?

TripLog only tracks mileage costs, but it does offer three different ways of tracking: an app, a GPS mileage tracker, and a USB mileage beacon.

What features does it have?
TripLog has a couple of additional features that make it stand out:

  • Hardware
  • Banking and accounting integration

Hardware: TripLog differs from other expense and mileage tracking apps by offering two hardware choices when it comes to tracking: a GPS mileage tracker and a USB mileage tracking beacon that plug into your vehicle.

Both of these options help you to track routes, driving time, stops, accurately and consistently, cutting out human error.

Banking and accounting integration: Like Expensify, TripLog has some impressive integrations that help to make bookkeeping easier and facilitate reimbursement payments. It can also work with company credit cards and import transactions from your bank accounts.

Exploring expense tracking

Expense tracking is something that every small business owner needs to do. From understanding costs to ensuring that your employees are honest and accurate, tracking expenses is an essential and important part of running and building a successful service business.

Want to go even deeper on this topic? Learn how to master operational efficiency on the Masters of Home Service podcast.

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