10 tips about cloud-based expense management software

When we say that having a smartphone can make you richer and your business more profitable, it’s almost possible to hear eyebrows being raised. But here at Solo Expenses we believe it’s true; that you can have more disposable income and enhanced profitability if you embrace the world of cloud-based expense management software. Our ten top tips will show you how…

Being richer and having a more profitable business doesn’t necessarily mean having a greater income. Similar results can be achieved by making the most of your budget in terms of cash and time. It’s all about maximising the benefits offered by cloud-based expense management.

Don’t get hung up on the techno-babble about what the cloud is; focus on what it can deliver for you. (But if you do want to know more about it, we’ve written a couple of blogs on the subject here and here).

The problem with cloud-based expense management is the same as it is with so much of the available smartphone technology. Without wishing to be rude, it’s, ahem, users of smartphones. Only a tiny fraction of the people carrying the ‘must have’ 21st-century accessory knows how to get the most from it. And as long as it’s no more than a fashion accessory or a window on the world of social media, its talents are being wasted.

Be a better expense manager
With one of the four Solo Expenses cloud based expense management software app packages, you have all the tools you need to become a better expense manager. The software is designed to help you record all of your spend in simple ways, and collate it into reports that show you what the money has been spent on, which in turn will allow you to see any areas of waste, or areas where you might negotiate more cost-effective deals with suppliers. But the effectiveness is down to you. Here’s how to do it in ten easy lessons:

Our top 10 tips for cloud-based expense management

Tip 1: Use it anywhere: This is the major benefit of cloud based expense management software. Expenses can be recorded anywhere at any time, so if it’s not at the point of purchase it can be done whenever it suits you – on a train, in an airport, or even tucked up in bed at night.

Tip 2: Maximise the features. Have a look at this side-by-side comparison of the features of our four packages to see what you could do with them. (Ok, we accept that there’s no detail in the final column, but that’s because there are hundreds of possible permutations at this level, aimed at companies with thousands of employees). Note that the entry level ‘personal use’ one is free, and the next two offer a 14-day free trial. Use those benefits to find out just how easy it is to collect and collate the figures about your spending, create reports, and send information direct to your accountant. You can also export data as Excel spreadsheets, if you’d like; we’ve thought of everything.

Tip 3: Be diligent: Solo Expenses can only ever be as good as the data recorded. If you don’t record some spending, it can’t appear in the system. However, you can record it by photographing the receipt, keying in the detail, or, in some packages, making a voice recording, so there isn’t really an excuse to allow anything to slip through the net.

Tip 4: Train users: Get everyone else to be as diligent as you are in your use of Solo Expenses. If necessary, resort to the carrot and stick method – insist that claims not made in a particular way using our web based expense management system won’t be paid. You could even write a policy to that effect.

Tip 5: Integrate with credit cards: The ability to integrate with major credit cards means there is no need to make an expenses claim; the software will do it at the moment of transaction without further outside help.

Tip 6: Beat fraud: With hundreds of employees, it’s easy for errors, or deliberate fraud, to syphon money out of the company. Requiring photographed receipts eliminates all possibility of that. In the ‘Enterprise’ category there’s also a feature to control mileage claims by matching them to actual distances travelled. What’s more, duplication can be avoided. Have two people ever claimed for the same meal? Not impossible…

Tip 7: Save time: This is about the ‘other budget’ – time. Unlike money, once that’s spent you can’t earn any more. The big saving here is in what finance departments can do with the time they’re not spending on processing expense claims. But there is also time for individuals to get through more productive work, or to enjoy more leisure time. In the end, both are beneficial to individual and company alike.

Tip 8: Interrogate the data: Once you’ve collected this expense data, that’s the time to maximise spending. By compiling reports within the software you’ll be able to highlight spending hotspots as never before, allowing tighter control of cashflow and presenting the opportunity to find more cost-effective ways of working, enhancing your profitability. And all of that knowledge, and the power it offers, is sitting on your smartphone. Who knew? (well, we did, to be honest. As did the happy customers we currently have in 92 countries. The trick is convincing potential users who haven’t been converted yet. Perhaps the next two tips will help).

Tip 9: Start now: Companies and individuals spending money is what makes the economy work. The sooner you start using Solo Expenses cloud-based expense management software the sooner you and your business will start to feel the benefit of it.

Tip 10: Remember, it’s free: All four of the service packages have the same cloud-based expense management software at their core. The most basic one is called ‘Household’ and you can have that, with our compliments, to use free for ever, with no catch. Really; no catch. The next two you can have with a 14-day free trial, and if you sign up, we’re confident you’ll save enough money to make them free for ever too, against the cost of not using them at all. You may surprise yourself; with our cloud based expense management software, expense management could actually become fun – but you won’t know that until you try…