Small businesses and startups should be focusing on high-level business needs instead of wasting time tracking employee spending. Software solutions can streamline and manage the expense process, but buyers be warned: Choosing the right solution should be approached thoughtfully and strategically. Otherwise, companies risk spending time and money on a solution that doesn’t fit with current business needs or that can’t scale with the company.
If an expense management software doesn’t provide these five core functionalities, a small business owner should cross it off the list.
A rudimentary business expense tracker that relies on data entry is not a good long-term solution. For accurate bookkeeping, the best expense management platform must allow receipt scanning. It should also be capable of capturing transaction details by line item, a process known as auto-itemization. With this level of granularity, the details needed for business taxes and accounting purposes are properly captured and categorized, and the entire expense process is streamlined, accurate, and efficient.
As businesses grow, so does the number of business expenses. Key to the expense management process as companies scale is the ability to automate the approval process by building expense policies into the software solution. These policies can determine how much, where, and when employees can spend. For example, if a company has a price cap on hotels booked for business travel and an employee books over the cap, the expense will be flagged for review. Whether one person or an entire finance team is managing expenses, the approval workflow is automated and countless hours spent reconciling the budget are saved.
Staff members don’t always have the cash flow or credit card financing to front their own money for employee expenses. And even if they do, it can be frustrating to wait days or weeks for money to get back into employees’ bank accounts. Look for an expense management solution that allows employees to self-submit expenses via an app and receive rapid reimbursements through direct deposit; ideally, the solution also does multi-currency reimbursements. Whether they are claiming a business dinner or submitting mileage tracking, employees won’t need to wait for reimbursements and administrators won’t need to chase them down for receipts.
Read More: How to Accelerate Expense Reimbursements
Getting the full picture of what a small business is spending starts by establishing a single source of truth for expenses. Effective cloud-based expense management software should be able to integrate with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems such as NetSuite, QuickBooks Online, SAP, Xero, and more. From there, the expense-tracking software can provide interactive dashboards that visualize spend and enable administrators to slice and dice data. These integrations and insights simply can’t be gleaned from antiquated accounting software or rudimentary Excel spreadsheets.
Choosing an expense management software means little if employees don’t bother to use it in the first place. If employees go rogue and do not adopt the platform, small business owners lose visibility and time—and the company misses getting the most out of its investment. Employees expect a consumer-friendly and intuitive experience. And they also expect the software to be available on the go in a mobile app. According to the most recent G2 Fall 2022 report, TripActions is the easiest-to-use software solution for expense and travel management. It has a satisfaction score of 99 out of 100.
Any expense report software that does not have these core functionalities will struggle to be in harmony with small business operations—especially as a company scales. TripActions’ all-in-one travel, corporate card, and expense management solution checks all the boxes. Get up and running in just 5 minutes today to find out how this expense management software can benefit your small business.