How To Choose The Best Expense Management Software That Is Right For You
If you are reading this, it’s safe to assume that you’re looking out to either upgrade your expense management solution or exploring the opportunity to use one. Indeed, a fast-growing business always looks for ways to become more efficient. Despite the market being saturated with many options, and each with its strengths & weaknesses, the choices are tough. Alright! Let us make this not-so-easy answer a bit easy for you.
That apart, the COVID 19 pandemic has placed new challenges on businesses. Where once, a paper receipt was essential to claim expenses, companies are actively looking at digitalising this, to stop the risk of contagion, which paper receipts present, because some may be contaminated. That apart, to process these, there is the risk of proximity with people who may be carrying the virus. Online, automated expense management presents an inexpensive and ideal solution to address this problem.
The best expense management software is the kind that works for you!
And it is NOT suitable if it does not meet at least 95% of what you need. So, let us dive in deeper to understand what you should look for when selecting an expense management software that can be customised as per your business’s size and needs.
From our experience of handling a huge number of customers, one common thing that we notice is:
The customers typically have a basic requirement for three functions:
1. Mileage – where customers can use GPS or Google to calculate the miles travelled
2. Expense Category management – where a customer can create, edit or add subsets to the existing categories
3. Tax – such as VAT/GST, which can be assigned to the expense category, with auto calculation of tax
However, in the “new world” customers are actively looking for additional levels of control and compliance, such as:
4. Pre-Approvals – where claimants request a pre-approval before they can make certain types of expenses.
5. Cost Centres – allowing companies to capture and control costs in a much better way.
6. Expense Policy – allowing better control and reporting of expenses. This is important for:
a. tracking duplicates and setting daily, monthly, or annual limits.
b. auto-approval of expenses.
c. putting limits on entertainment and hotel room rates can also be set and controlled.
7. Company Credit Cards – can be integrated, bringing allow cash and company credit card transactions on a single platform, to better understand overall costs.
8. Spend allocation – expenses which need charging back to the customer can be recorded accurately by setting and using Customer & Project budgets.
Given that every business’s needs are unique, you determine what you need & what you don’t. Would it not be a brilliant idea, if you could just pay for the features that you use? Not only that, even pay per transaction.
For example, one of our customers had “employees” coming on short term assignments. They felt paying per user “may” be expensive and in times of uncertainty, could add to costs. For them, the “per transaction” method worked brilliantly. Because, despite the “employee” not being on their rolls, they only paid when the employee became “live” and started claiming expenses. Hence, instead of going back to a paper process, which was risky, they moved to the “transaction” based billing method.
Think about it!
Factors to consider while looking for Expense Management Software:
Finding software which meets all your business needs is never easy. Given that today, your controls only meet 25% of your requirements, installing something that addresses at least 95% of your requirements, is a great way forward, and especially, if it is inexpensive. Hence, let us start with them:
1. Cloud-based vs On-premise – Cloud-based, also known as “SaaS” by the IT industry, or Software As A Service, has been around for many years. With changes over time & in technology, the cloud-based expense management software has become the new “on-premise”, because:
– it is quick to set up
– it has low-cost maintenance
– it doesn’t involve the IT department
– it automatically pushes various updates for the software
As the expense management category matures, customers now demand certain functions, which were only available in enterprise products, as a standard. That apart, they are also looking for value for money, i.e., lower cost, and better quality. Indeed, these are now becoming the differentiators between good and great products.
For example, customers are also keen to work with suppliers who can supply advanced features previously available only to large companies. An example would be the ability to handle multiple currency advances – both in cash and on the company credit card, which can then be accounted for in local currency instantly and help keep tight control of any kind of imprest or petty cash mechanism.
2. Automation & the need for digitalization!
Today, automation & digitalisation is something that no business can ignore, especially given the risks of contagion by being in proximity and not maintaining “social distancing”. An automated expense management tracking, processing & reimbursements, can significantly reduce the cost for a business. Businesses, especially the big ones, have seen the value of automating their employee expense process, and have benefited significantly from savings as a result. Now it is the turn for SMEs to secure the same benefit with the right expense management software. And it does not have to be expensive.
Here is an example: An SME with about 100 employees, where only ten of whom need to claim expenses. They can now use a top of the range solution, with all the features, for less than £50 per month. We would say this is a bargain compared to the cost of employing an accountant for three days since expense management software will do the same job faster and more inexpensively.
Apart from the direct cost saving, there are huge indirect benefits, such as getting rid of a huge deal of paper, because employees can submit expenses and digital receipts from their phone, which the approvers can also approve on the go, from their phones. Integration with widely-used accounting solutions like Xero, QuickBooks, and Sage, is a standard, and offers a one-click process to update accounting and reimbursement! Automating your expense management process is as simple as this and your process is automated.
3. The Pick N Mix Selection – In a world thriving on choice, companies prefer a solution allowing a pick n mix selection rather than a whole application with functions that they may never use. Not only offering a menu-driven solution, ExpenseOnDemand also offers the choice of pricing, where you can pay based on the number of users or based on transactions. Implementation costs are £750 for the whole year. You can call on us anytime, with a 12-hour notice, and we will assist you in your implementation. Alternatively, you can also do it yourself, based on our rich step by step videos, which take a few hours rather than days or months to implement. ExpenseOnDemand has covered all these bases and is available both on the mobile and the web. Experience tells us 98% of SMEs want to have employees use mobiles in a drive towards greater business efficiency and ease.
4. Ease to Use – Companies, here, can use the basic application which will allow claimants to submit claims with photographs of receipts to their approvers, who can approve the expense on their phone and finance can reimburse the expense. This part of our offer will be FREE for as long as you are a registered user – so that will be forever, then. Yes, FOREVER!
ExpenseOnDemand – An IDEAL Expense Management Software, which is “future proof”:
For SMEs, our solution is an inexpensive aid to automating your employee expense management process. Indeed, ExpenseOnDemand would also be your ideal expense management software partner, because we have future-proofed our application so that as you grow, ExpenseOnDemand will continue to meet your requirements. Keep an eye on the “Coming Soon” section, where we post new functions that are in the offing, such as:
- Counter approvals (where multiple approvers are required, because some approvers may not have the authority to approve a certain amount),
- Multiple country operations functionality, where you have employees globally, who are paid in local currency and also have compliance requirements in each country.
- Travel, in the “new world” you may prefer to work with “Travel Management Companies”, who can offer immense flexibility at low costs, and save your employees both time and money when they travel. This function will allow you to do all this from your mobile.
Taking ExpenseOnDemand for a test drive will cost you nothing. Test it as long as you like, and only start paying when you are happy, satisfied and ready to make your next move!
Well, could there be a better offer?
Author: Sunil Nigam
CEO & Founder