How can I get expense reports from my credit card?
Many issuers offer annual summaries in PDF form, but you have other options, including monthly statements and bookkeeping apps
Elaine Pofeldt is a journalist whose articles on entrepreneurship and careers have appeared in Fortune, Working Mother, Money and many other publications. She is a former senior editor at Fortune Small Business magazine and an entrepreneur herself, as co-founder of 200kfreelancer.com. Her book, “The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business,” was released in 2018. She writes "Your Business Credit," a weekly column about small business and credit, for CreditCards.com.
How do I get an expense report from my credit card issuer?
An increasing number of issuers now offer an annual summary of all your expenses in PDF form. If that is not your case, you have other options, including monthly card statements, bookkeeping software and expense report apps.
Dear Your Business Credit,
How do I get a small business expense report for the years 2016 and 2017? – Darrel
Given that you are writing to me at Creditcards.com, I’ll assume you’re trying to obtain information on what you spent over the past year from your credit card records.
See related: Using personal credit card for work expenses: 8 tips
How to get expense reports from your credit card
Some credit cards will provide you with an annual report of all your expenses in PDF form and, if you have been using a personal card, even tag them according to whether they are business or personal expenses.
Obtaining such a report, if it’s available, is probably your easiest solution.
- To find out if your card offers this type of document, call the customer service number on the back of your card.
- You can get instructions from the operator on how to access this information. (Hint: Log in to your online account ahead of time, to save time).
If your card does not publish an annual report of your expenses, here’s what you can do:
- You’ll need to go through the monthly bills on your credit card to gather the documentation you need.
- You can typically download them in a PDF document.
- For some cards, there may be a one-day waiting period to obtain more than a certain baseline number of reports.
- Log in to find out ahead of time, and pace yourself accordingly if you have a deadline ahead, like a tax filing.
There's a better way to keep expense records
As a general rule, it is important to keep good records of your expenses in your accounting software, as well.
- Popular programs, such as QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Xero and others, make it easy to log expenses, so you have a sense of what you are spending in the business on a monthly basis.
- That practice will help you determine if you are staying profitable.
- You can sync up your credit cards to automatically populate the program you choose, to save work.
- Typically, there’s a function where you can review how the program is categorizing the expenses, in case the program is not putting them in the right place.
Many entrepreneurs also find enlisting a freelance bookkeeper can be helpful in keeping good records.
Tip: You can use your annual credit card summary to rein in your spending. Take a look at your annual summary and identify areas where you can cut expenses in spending categories.
Keeping expense reports? There’s an app for that
There are some apps that can make this even easier. For instance, many entrepreneurs install a mileage tracker on their mobile phones, so they don’t have to track this manually.
You might also look into apps that make it easier to keep track of receipts when you’re on the go.
- Zoho Expense, a program that is free for companies with up to three employees, enables you to track expenses from your phone at the time you incur them.
- You can auto-scan and store the receipts and use the app to prepare formal expense reports for your business.
- Microsoft has published a free expense report template, too.
Keeping track of small business expenses isn’t most entrepreneur’s idea of fun.
The good news is, with a few simple systems in place, it can be pretty painless – and your credit card company has probably done some of the work for you already.
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