How to deal with an expense with no proof?

We all know that managing expenses can be a very daunting task. It is both time and energy consuming. Processes can be slow, unclear and tedious for both employees and the finance department. What can make this process even slower would be the loss of a proof of payment document to accompany the expense report. This is also frustrating for the employee who loses the accompanying proof document. The proof document is usually mandatory for a lot of expenses, which cannot be submitted without it.  

💡As a reminder, an expense report is a document submitted by an employee that justifies an expense done in the course of their work that should be refunded by the employer. 

If employees are unable to provide a proof document, because they lost it, they may not be able to get a refund and therefore must pay for that expense with their own money. This can cause frustration and stress. Luckily, there are alternatives and other ways to proceed in the unlucky chance this happens. Let’s go through them in this article. 

What to do if you lose an expense proof?   

Dealing with a lost receipt for an expense report can be challenging, but there are several steps you can take to mitigate the situation. When losing a receipt or an invoice, the first thing to do is definitely not panic over it. There are many solutions to this unpleasant event. Here’s what you can do: 

Return to the merchant to look for the receipt 

As said in the title, this advises going back to the merchant’s location and asking for a copy of the lost receipt. This task may not be very efficient timewise, but it can help find the missing receipt by asking for a duplicate. Shops are obliged to keep all transactions that occurred for a specific timeline (this can depend on the country). This may be worth it in the case of large and valuable purchases. Once you retrieved your receipt, you are free to fill in your expense report as usual. 

Use the lump sum refund 

In case no justifying document is found, the reimbursement can be done by following certain reimbursement regulations, depending on the country. These regulations are estimations of how much a meal would cost in a certain region, or how much a hotel is in a certain city. They are fixed amounts. If the employee paid more than what this refund has offered them, they will have to pay the remaining amount from their personal money, unless they are able to provide, you guessed it! A proof document! This solution is useful in the sense that employees that lost a receipt don’t have to pay the whole amount of the expense. It is, however, not perfect.  

Show a bank statement 

A simple solution that can be tolerated by some employers is submitting a credit card statement with the purchase history including the date, amount, type of expense, where and who the merchant is. In the case of small, clear purchases, this can be a replacement for the justifying document. This is a good solution that should, however, not be taken for granted and overused instead of sending the correct receipt or invoice. This approach is particularly useful for addressing the issue of a lost receipt for company credit card purchases.

Provide a sworn statement 

One of the last resorts, in case all else fails, would be signing a sworn statement. This statement must include the employee’s name, address, and signature along with all the details concerning the purchase. This is not a perfect solution and should not be used too often because of fiscal concerns. It can, nevertheless, be useful when there is no bank statement to support the expense claim. This could occur, for instance, if the expense was paid for in cash. 

Digital Solutions for Managing Lost Receipts

Modern expense management software revolutionizes how businesses handle receipts, transitioning from paper-based to digital processes. These platforms offer tools for capturing receipts through smartphones immediately after a transaction, securely storing the digital copies in the cloud for easy access and organization. This approach not only prevents the loss of receipts but also facilitates efficient expense tracking, reporting, and reimbursement processes. By leveraging such software, companies can enhance financial accuracy, improve policy compliance, and simplify audits. Expensya exemplifies this by providing a comprehensive solution that streamlines expense management for diverse business needs.

Expanding on the benefits, modern expense management software, like Expensya, offers real-time reporting and digital storage, streamlining the expense management process. Real-time reporting allows for instant oversight of financial transactions, facilitating quicker decision-making and financial analysis. Digital storage ensures all receipts are securely archived and easily retrievable, simplifying audits and compliance checks. This integration of technology significantly enhances operational efficiency and financial transparency.

Preventative Strategies to Avoid Losing Receipts

To avoid losing receipts, implementing preventive strategies is key. Utilizing mobile apps for immediate capture and digital storage of receipt images ensures that proof of transactions is securely archived and accessible. Establishing clear expense policies that mandate or encourage digital receipt management can further safeguard against loss. These practices not only streamline expense tracking but also enhance compliance and simplify financial reporting.


To prevent the loss of receipts and streamline expense management, implementing two key strategies is essential. Firstly, establishing clear guidelines for digital receipts is crucial. This includes specifying the formats acceptable for storage and defining the duration for which these documents should be retained. Secondly, leveraging digital management systems can create comprehensive audit trails. These systems not only facilitate easier tracking of expenses but also offer enhanced security measures to protect against the loss of crucial financial documents, thereby reinforcing the overall integrity of financial reporting and compliance.

Remind employees of your spending policy

As a last advice, it is crucial to frequently remind employees of your spending policy, especially regarding receipts or invoice. It is essential that they understand that they should keep a receipt after making a work-related purchase in order to be reimbursed after. Same goes with what type of expenses are allowed, as well as the purchasing limits.

Although there are solutions to losing your receipts or other proof documents, some companies have decided to follow radical strategies when it comes to this, and directly refuse any expense that is not accompanied with proof. This cuts time spent on the long process of finding replacements and verifying the reliability of the documents provided. 

Incorporating digital tools into spending policy adherence can greatly assist employees. These tools can automatically enforce policies during the expense submission process, ensuring compliance. By setting up rules within the expense management software, such as Expensya, employees are guided to follow company policies without the need for manual reminders. This not only streamlines the process but also reduces the chance of policy violations, making it easier for everyone to stay on track with spending guidelines.

“However, the best way to avoid this trouble for both the employer and the employee would be by digitizing your expense reports. as well as having a clear expense policy.” 

Streamlining Expense Submission Without Receipts

Managing expenses without proof presents challenges, yet digital solutions offer a robust way forward. This article explored practical steps for handling lost receipts and underscored the transformative role of expense management software. 

By digitizing expense reporting and adopting preventative strategies, such as those provided by solutions like Expensya, businesses can ensure accuracy, compliance, and ease in managing expenses. Embracing these digital tools not only mitigates the issues associated with lost receipts but also propels expense management into a more efficient, secure future. 

Digital expense management solutions like Expensya offer a safeguard against the common problem of a lost receipt for reimbursement, ensuring that every expense is accounted for and reimbursable.


Expensya helps you deal with your business expenses

An expense reports management software will spare you the concern of losing your receipts and falling into a disagreement with your employer. A simple picture of your expense will store it in a cloud, keeping it safe, and keeping you worry-free. With Expensya, expense management software, employees can simply take a picture of their receipt on the app on their phone and discard it straight away, without risking losing it.  

 Expensya can help you optimize your spend management. Expensya replaces the strain of expense management with simplicity and clarity. With its user-friendly interface, submitting expense reports has never been this easy for employees. Processes are streamlined and more efficient, allowing managers and employees to focus on what truly matters.  

Say goodbye to expenses with no receipt. Try Expensya now for free!  

Customer stories

Discover the ways that Expensya customers are simplifying their travel and expense management with a solution that just works.

Read stories

More expense management, payment and travel resources

Our library of case studies, videos, events, guides and reports are available to help you more efficiently manage employee expenses.

Explore resources

Expensya Barometer Report

Learn about the trends in the “what” and “how” of employee spend, pulled from actual expense management data, in the annual Expensya barometer report.

View trends

Ready to simplify expense management?

Book a Demo Contact Us