Owning a business is hard enough without stressing over every cent that comes and goes. It’s even harder if your company has unclear spending policies, incomplete accounting data, or manual workflow processes that are tedious and ineffective. And if your company struggles to document cash flow, then managing your money — and how your employees spend that money — can prove all the more difficult.
Fortunately, with automated expense management software, you can be in full control of your bottom line.
The basics of expense management
Every business — no matter its size or industry — incurs costs. Luckily, expense management can help any business track spending; document, approve, and process payments; and reimburse costs, all in a timely, organized fashion.
Though some organizations still use paper files and spreadsheets, the manual approach isn’t nearly as efficient as using expense management software, which allows you to record and track expenses automatically.
Not only can you process, approve, and monitor all your business expenses — whether they cover travel and accommodations or materials and investment — you can also analyze them, helping you uncover, address, and prevent financial issues your organization may face.
Keep track of expense reports, balance sheets, or petty cash logs with a free expense report spreadsheet.
Must-have expense management software features
Before you can decide which expense management software is best for your business, it’s important to know what the right software should offer you.
Here are five must-have expense management software features you’ll want to look for to make your work life easier and more efficient.
Now that the number of smartphone users is over 6 billion worldwide, mobile capabilities are an absolute must for your expense management software, especially if your employees are constantly on the go.
Mobile-friendly expense management software can automatically capture receipts with just a few clicks, avoiding the risk of lost receipts and instantly tracking when and where one of your team members expenses something. Digital receipts are easier, more convenient, and less time-consuming to account for than physical receipts that require manual data entry, which increases workflow efficiency and reduces the likelihood of errors.
An approval process
One of the most important attributes of any viable expense management software is a simple, streamlined approval process. It should be flexible, easy to use, and appropriately set up (in an approval hierarchy structure, for example) so everyone in the office can use it, whether an employee is seeking approval or a manager is providing it.
An alert system
To be effective, your expense management software should have some form of alert or notification system. You should get a notification when a new expense is in the approval queue or if an employee violates your company’s spending policies (if, for example, they try to expense alcoholic beverages despite a no-alcohol reimbursement policy). Make sure that, in addition to notifying you, your alert system caps the reimbursement amounts, so you don’t unwittingly pay for something you shouldn’t.
By integrating your expense management software with other platforms, especially accounting systems, you can consolidate expense management in one place, reducing the likelihood of errors and double entries. And since integrations can also expedite the entire reimbursement process — from approving requests to scheduling payments — by avoiding process logjams, your employees will get their money faster.
It’s also vital to be able to track, process, and analyze your spending, so the software you choose needs to include detailed reporting capabilities. With more visibility into expenses through reports and data analysis, you’ll always have full knowledge of what’s coming and going, who’s committing policy infractions, and which departments have some financial wiggle room.
Top 5 expense management software options
Now that you know what you need in expense management software, here are some of the best solutions on the market.
With Expensify, you can efficiently track all your costs, generate reports, approve and distribute reimbursements, and save time and money, all from one advanced, automated platform. Plus, since it’s integrated with popular accounting platforms, including QuickBooks and Xero, your employees will love how quickly — and easily — you can reimburse them for out-of-pocket expenses.
Whether your company struggles with forecasting, setting spending limits, or a disorganized approval process, Rydoo can help streamline your expense management. It’s easy to use, integrates with other software (including accounting and human resources platforms), and helps you stay in control, no matter where your employees are located.
3. Zoho Expense
Zoho Expense boasts a wide range of customers (including Puma and foodpanda) in 150 countries, providing an all-in-one platform for all your travel and expense management needs. It touts features ranging from budget control and multilevel approvals to powerful analytics and a robust reimbursement process.
4. SAP Concur
Built to simplify and automate your travel and accounts payable processes, SAP Concur is one of the best expense management products on the market. Whether you need help with compliance issues, data analysis, mileage reimbursement, or controlling your overall budget, cloud-based SAP Concur can help make expense management easier.
Online form builder Jotform is another powerful expense management solution, especially as a low-code option. With its easy-to-use and fully customizable form templates, including daily expense reports and reimbursement forms, you can automate the process of collecting expense data. Connecting your forms to templates from Jotform Tables (including expense reports, balance sheets and petty cash logs), you can build your own database to manage and keep track of it all.
At the end of the day, you’ll need an expense management system that works best for your business. But if you do decide to go the software route, you can’t go wrong with these five expense management solutions to help you simplify your processes.
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