Technology & Innovation
How To Choose an Expense Solution Your Employees Actually Want To Use

How To Choose an Expense Solution Your Employees Actually Want To Use

Alex Roha

21 Feb 2023
5 minute read
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A company accrues all types of expenses, from the coffee machine at a start-up to sourcing software and other business assets for enterprise operations. When the bottom line comes around, many financial leaders and accounting execs may feel like they have been running a marathon working through their legacy expense management systems. But modern technology is no longer a slog—today it's possible to eliminate the expense report.

When leaders finally decide to make the switch, sifting through spend or expense solutions may seem intimidating as the options of manual processes, supplier management, policy controls, and real-time visibility are weighed. But whether the company is an enterprise or a budding small business, some of the same questions can surface when changing course on spend or expense solutions.

1. Can custom policies be built to accommodate employees and teams?

Odds are, not every employee needs access to the same funds. Some solutions will enable spending controls. Admins can tailor these spend parameters based on role, expense category, business context, or other dimensions with a custom policy builder. And by benchmarking these spend controls, admins are less likely to scramble for reconciliations, which automates workflows. Employees are empowered to make business expenses, and finance leaders maintain control in a less time-consuming manner.

2. Does the spend management solution drive compliance?

Implementing digital payments without controls can lead to overspending because of the simple convenience of the tool. When spending happens in a different currency or environment, confusion can also arise around appropriate limits. To alleviate these pains, automation behind built-in spend controls can enable transactions to be approved, flagged as out-of-policy, or declined in real-time at the point of purchase. And with policies in place, users don’t have to sweat about stepping out of compliance.

3. Is there ample security and fraud protection?

Studies show that expense reimbursement fraud accounts for 21% of fraud in small businesses and 11% in large companies. However, advanced, AI-powered expense technology is available that empowers finance leaders to receive and review proactive alerts about market disruptions, risks, and fraudulent expenditures. To prevent the risk of a security breach, admins should also be aware of solutions with encryption abilities, data center security, two-factor authentication, and in-house monitoring.

4. How quickly do reimbursements occur?

Employees and users may be hesitant to spend out-of-pocket money for business procurements as a load stack of paperwork and a daunting number of days stack up at the end of the reimbursement process. Modern solutions can now enable transaction details to be captured and coded for immediate reimbursement options. Some technology will even enable employees to receive this money through direct deposit by securely connecting a solution to their bank account.

5. What are the mobile capabilities for capturing expenses on the go?

If online shopping, banking, and booking have mastered the art of mobile ease and functionality, spend management should also be streamlined via users’ mobile phones. Finance leaders should look for streamlined solutions that enable spend management software through mobile applications. Capturing a receipt by simply snapping a picture, organizing and understanding policies, and submitting reimbursements all in one place allows employees to travel and spend in and out of the office confidently.

6. How quickly can users access spend data?

Transparency is the name of the game in spend analysis and visibility. Access to real-time spend analytics supports better financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. Finance teams can reduce spending leakage with real-time contextual insight into business spending data. Admins and users also gain accurate forecasting and policy improvement opportunities. Many solutions can view this data on a granular level - whether by departments, geography, points of sales, and so on.

7. Are corporate spend cards offered?

The policies are set, the data is in view, and admins are confident in automating company spending. But how are they spending? By issuing corporate and virtual cards, finance leaders can remove cash flow burdens from employees. Users can use company money to securely pay for travel, routine expenses, spot purchases, or recurring subscriptions. Many cards will also optimize internationally, allowing suppliers, vendors, and local businesses to be paid in local currency.

8. Can the solution be integrated with ERP and accounting systems?

Missing or incorrect data entry slows down month-end close and wastes time for finance teams to comb through statements to catch errors. By integrating with in-place solutions, admins can quickly close the books by connecting ERP and accounting software to spend management solutions for a bird’s eye view of all business spending and data in one system. Rather than manually move over systems like Oracle Netsuite or QuickBooks Online, search for a solution that will blend rather than fragment.

9. Will this solution enable international scalability?

Technology has brought astonishing global progress in the spend management space. Regulatory and cultural considerations are often different in each country, which has made the evolution of payment and expense solutions particularly challenging. Some solutions, however, will offer deeper lifecycle intricacies like handling VAT (value-added tax) and traveling nuances. There is also technology that emphasizes OCR (optimal character recognition) scanning, so no matter where users are in the world, the solution can read and understand various receipts in foreign countries. Some solutions may even eradicate foreign transaction fees.

Having the right spend management solution prevents unnecessary costs and cushions your business against diminishing margins. What is spend management software for sourcing misallocated funds and the little everyday runaway costs that add up at the end of the fiscal year? For growing businesses, it’s crucial to find a software solution that is intuitive and quick to integrate, all while being affordable.

Luckily, Navan Expense is the answer to all these questions.

Navan Expense gives finance teams ultimate spend control to drive savings, productivity, and compliance. With Navan Expense’s spend management solution, admins can implement proactive policies programmatically built into smart cards to automate expense management, from swipe to reconciliation. Interactive dashboards provide real-time transaction visibility for more informed decision-making - all on a growing international scale.

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