Which would you rather do? Get a few teeth pulled at the dentist or try to get expense reports and receipts from your fellow church staff members? If you're thinking, "At least the dentist would give me pain medication," then this article is for you.

Gathering receipts and getting people to provide you with the account code or reason for each expenditure can be a frustrating process. No one outside the accounting office fully appreciates the ramifications of not having those details available. They're focused on what's going on within their department or ministry area — not what the accounting folks want this week.

To manage some of that tension, we need to find a way to make expense reporting easier for nonaccounting team members, yet still provide accounting with the details you need. Thankfully, technology can help us on this front. Regardless of what accounting software you use, you can take advantage of apps that facilitate the expense-reporting process.

Consider using a mobile app to allow staff members to take a picture of their receipt, select which account code applies (meals, fuel, office supplies, etc.), and submit it for reimbursement.

Popular expense reporting tools

Concur and Expensify are companies that offer tools for travel and other expense management. The mobile apps they offer can streamline the expense-reporting process for your team.

For example: If Joe staff member travels to a conference, he can take a picture of his receipt from dinner and code the expense within the app in a matter of seconds. You get a completed expense report by the time he gets home (if not sooner), and he gets reimbursed faster as a result.

Everyone wins in that scenario.

The no-cost option

Another option is to have team members take a picture of their receipts using an app like TurboScan (they offer a free version) and email the PDF image to a central email address for accounting. This could at least reduce the number of lost receipts once they get into the habit of snapping a picture of receipts right away.

These aren't the only options available, but hopefully this gives you a starting point for researching what will work best for your church. Technology can help you streamline the process for your staff so they can quickly get you the documentation you need for stewarding the church's finances with excellence.