Monitoring bills is a obligatory tedium in any small to midsize enterprise (SMB). Whether or not it is maintaining a rely of day-to-day credit and debits to your operation or ensuring each cent of your worker’s enterprise journey is accounted for, you want a system that is simple to make use of for staff and gives full auditability into bills for managers and homeowners.
If your enterprise finds itself within the purple or near it, there are two doubtless methods to get again on monitor, in need of its proprietor profitable the lottery. Get a deal with on the 2 largest controllable line objects within the price range: salaries and employee-initiated bills. Slicing salaries or shedding personnel are excessive measures that will not make sense since most SMBs are inclined to function with lean enterprise plans.
The second possibility is the far simpler selection. The cloud, with its quite a few expense monitoring, reporting, and administration Software program-as-a-Service (SaaS) merchandise, makes controlling employee-originated enterprise bills far more enticing. SaaS software program is each simple to deploy and simple to make use of, which implies workers are extra doubtless to make use of it, on prime of it typically costing lower than conventional on-site /software program combo options. Why wait till you’ll be able to’t sleep? Open the expense books and discover a resolution now.
Discover the Proper Expense Monitoring Software program
Earlier than you’ll be able to select SaaS expense monitoring software program, you must look at your group in some element. Is it based mostly in the US? Does it do worldwide enterprise? What sorts of bills are usually initiated by the workforce? A great place to start is with a radical audit of what number of workers in your organization submit bills for reimbursement, together with journey, enterprise meals, and even workplace provides. What are these common bills? Are they affordable or do you assume people are taking benefit? Look past the averages; a instrument that fits a gross sales workforce on the highway might not be supreme for the distant workers who go to the house workplace each quarter. Create an organizational map together with the reporting/supervisory construction. This will likely sound like overkill however it is going to come into play when you want a multi-tiered approval characteristic. Use this data to create free insurance policies and guidelines based mostly on location, firm averages, and what you deem acceptable.
Subsequent, check out the back-end know-how your organization is utilizing, particularly its accounting software program. Add this to your must-have enterprise intelligence (BI) knowledge. It is vital to attenuate worker studying curves so they are going to be up to the mark on the brand new product with minimal mind drain and collateral prices. An answer that is complicated, troublesome to make use of, or worse, buggy in its integration together with your back-end programs will make workers keep away from utilizing it, which is precisely what can kill an efficient expense monitoring resolution.
For instance, if most of your employees makes use of Home windows telephones, you’ll be able to overlook merchandise that solely have cell apps for iPhone and Android. In case your cell workforce makes use of iPhones or Android-based smartphones, you are in luck since most SaaS merchandise do have apps for these platforms. On the finance aspect, does your bookkeeper and CPA use QuickBooks On-line Plus, or is your enterprise based mostly on extra superior accounting software program like enterprise-grade general ledger accounting software? Choose a product that you’re sure will integrate with the existing software powering your accounting chain; your money-managers will thank you for it.
Expense Tracking System Features
Building a great SaaS expense tracking and reporting product isn’t easy. It must serve at least two masters: the finance department and the employee. Doing this well means providing not just accurate expense tracking, but also the capability to adhere to company policy and provide the tools for timely employee reimbursement. When it’s done correctly, the result of deploying one of these products is increased productivity and collaboration, fewer adversarial relationships, and measurable, significant cost savings.
One product requirement for the finance department is that it support company compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). This law addresses employee expense abuses and imposes draconian penalties on companies that lack effective internal expense controls. Because of this, the product you choose needs to have comprehensive and customizable policies, rules, and approval designation abilities, and if it has tools to self-audit for SOX, so much the better. Another top-of-mind capability is data storage for at least seven years as required by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Data must be available to create a full audit trail should the request be made. Accounting software integration is another must-have so report data can be automatically folded in to the company’s Chart of Accounts; some of these applications also rely on the accounting software to make and track the actual employee reimbursement. While integrating with typical small business accounting tools is fairly straightforward, should your business be using more sophisticated general ledger or enterprise resource planning (ERP) software, like NetSuite OneWorld or SAP Business One Professional, the integration process may be more difficult but is no less essential so it’s important to plan well at the outset. It’s important to both finance and employees submitting expenses that the product’s interface be accessible in the user’s local language. It should also be able to slice and dice expenses in currencies the company and employees use.
On the mobile side, users need simplicity in their smartphone app, but simplicity that delivers the maximum level of performance in as few keystrokes as possible. Users should be able to capture images, glean as much specific data from those images as possible, manually input expenses, and create and subsequently submit their expense report for approval. Taking this a step further, the end-to-end process flows more smoothly when products pull in expenses from users’ credit cards and facilitate reimbursement into designated bank accounts.
Users have different criteria for success. While back-end accounting can run the gamut as far as complexity, anything from the ease of a SaaS-based small business solution like FreshBooks all the way to a multi-month deployment process for the typical ERP implementation, no one wants complexity when it comes to an expense report system. They want simplicity, simply because nobody wants to spend any more time than they absolutely must doing expense reports. Most of the data entry relies on mobile apps, though each application lets you construct the report using a website and usually email forwarding and credit card integration, too. Employees should be able to capture images, glean as much specific data from those images as possible, manually input expenses, and submit their expense reports for approval. Taking this a step further, the end-to-end process flows more smoothly when products pull in expenses from users’ credit cards and facilitate reimbursement into designated bank accounts while filtering key data identified by your accounting professionals to their back-end systems.
Expense Tracking Bottom Line
We tested 10 SaaS expense tracking software solutions in this review roundup. The trials gave us a good view into each product’s setup complexity and the issues a regular customer would encounter not just during setup but also during day-to-day use. We looked at key product features, the software’s web and mobile interfaces, setup, and ease of use to get an overall impression before zeroing in on end-user points such as camera image capture quality, speed of image analysis, and efficiency of expense report submission and approval.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is the electronic conversion of typed, handwritten, or printed text images into machine-encoded text, and it can be a critical component of a successful expense report management software system. The eight products we tested that use OCR—Certify Now, Concur ExpenseIt and Concur Expense, ExpensePath, Xpenditure Small Business, ExpenseBot, Expensify, and Receipt Bank—reduce the amount of required manual data input. Abacus uses geo-location technology suggesting restaurants, etc., to help users. That said, the products that glean the most data from receipt images are Certify Now and Xpenditure Small Business, a key reason why both earned our Editors’ Choice award.
Overall, Certify Now and Xpenditure Small Business’ mobile interfaces are the easiest to use to create expense reports, although Abacus comes is a close second. Abacus also sports a cool, text-like internal communication tool that none of the other participants had, and it provides the most expeditious route for reimbursement. That said, we appreciated the simplicity of ExpenseBot’s mobile app and the feature depth of Receipt Bank, too.
From a finance point of view, Xpenditure Small Business and Receipt Bank have the widest choice of back-end accounting software integrations, and they have the best international environment features as well. Abacus is only available for companies doing business in the U.S., and all of the participants maintain data storage for the required seven-year period, if not longer.
From the end-user perspective, Certify Now and Xpenditure Small Business tie for Editors’ Choice due to their ease of use, and their simple yet sophisticated interfaces available for a wide range of mobile platforms. On the finance side, their policy and rule-setting capabilities are the most comprehensive.
Pricing is competitive across all our competitors, with Expensify’s $5 per user per month demonstrating that a low price can sometimes still be a true bargain rather than just “cheap.” Even so, the prices are close enough that other factors may be more important. Most applications charge based on the number of active users per month, but there are variations, such as ReceiptBank charges based on the number of transactions practiced. Xpenditure Small Business beats out Certify here because of Certify’s setup fee. While Concur ExpenseIt and Concur Expense offer cool, seasoned, and full-featured expense management services, they lose ground because it was so difficult to ascertain value without pricing transparency. They may well be a great value for a fast growing SMB, though, so don’t overlook them if that’s you have an SMB.
Any of these products would be good choices depending on your business needs, though the combination of usability, expense functionality, and price gave Certify Now and Expensify the tie for Editors’ Choice for medium and large enterprises, while Xpenditure Small Business gets the nod for the little guys. This round we also included new reviews for Receipt Bank, ExpensePoint, ExpenseBot, and Zoho Expense, all of which are solid options worthy of your consideration. Choose a service that’s affordable, easy to use now, and will scale as your business grows. You won’t have to revisit the decision down the road.