Ever since the pandemic, there is no denying that in-person and manual traditional processes won't cut. Thus, it is safe to say it is about time businesses let go of paper-based processes and embrace automation to offset their carbon footprint and ensure holes in core processes do not threaten their very existence.
If your business deals with many business expenses and travel, switching to a travel and expense management software now seems wise. The software streamlines end-to-end pre-accounting and ensures no financial leaks, which is crucial for all businesses nowadays.
However, with a large pool of choices, picking the right expense management tool for your business can get tricky. To help you make the best pick, this article discusses the most important features you should consider while evaluating software to help you make an informed decision. So let's dive right in!
Top features to look for in an expense management software for 2022
Expense management is not very different today from a decade ago; the principles and rules of business finance management are more or less the same. However, the problems that businesses encounter with expense management are more complex today than they ever were.
Let's take a look at essential features you should look for when evaluating expense management software solutions that ensure your business has a safe, secure, and simple way to manage expenses.
1. Easy to use mobile app for tracking receipts
Nobody likes expense reporting - there, we said it.
It is a frustrating, time-consuming, and laborious process that neither employees nor Finance teams can escape.
Thus, a mobile app for expense tracking is perhaps the most basic feature to look for in employee expense management software. It gives employees an easy way to track expenses and automatically checks for compliance, further simplifying verification and processing for admins.
Additionally, the receipt scanning feature allows employees to click a picture of their expense receipt and submit it on the go. The feature comes with OCR technology that automatically extracts all necessary expense data from the receipt, eliminating potential data entry errors.
The digital receipt is also automatically attached to the online expense report when the employee submits the report.This means no more missing receipts, and Finance teams receive complete documentation related to an expense all at once.
2. Robust business rules engine for increased compliance and control
Minor compliance issues like data entry errors and missing receipts can quickly create big trouble with the local, state, or federal tax agencies, inviting audits and fines. For this reason, your chosen expense management software must offer incredible customizability for business rules so admins can configure policies precisely as they need them for compliance.
Further, the software checks every expense for compliance in real-time against related policies set by both the company and tax authorities. This drastically eliminates the chance for expense fraud, policy violations, and out-of-policy expenses to slip through the cracks. Lastly, this boosts employee experience and productivity by reducing a traditionally time-consuming task to a few clicks.
3. Efficient corporate credit card management features
Managing multiple credit cards and staying on top of expenses can get challenging with increased usage/users. However, with an automated expense management system, you can track and reconcile credit card transactions, expenses, and receipts without any manual intervention.
A business expense management software allows businesses to manage different card programs and get direct bank feeds from the providers. This enables companies to track all card spends and transactions while gaining complete visibility into its usage in real-time.
Did you know?
With Fyle, credit card management and reconciliation are entirely free of manual effort. Bring your preferred cards, and we'll get you live feeds from your providers. It's a promise!
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4. Full integrations with accounting software of choice
The secret to efficient expense management automation is tight-knit integrations between tools you use to manage all accounting processes. Rest assured, if your chosen expense software cannot communicate well with your accounting software, it simply doubles work for accountants. This defeats the purpose of automation altogether.
Full integrations with popular accounting software like NetSuite, QuickBooks, Sage Intacct, and Xero will go a long way in ensuring seamless data synchronization. Integrations also help save time and address specific challenges by connecting with your preferred ERP, HRMS, travel software, or other tools to facilitate seamless collaboration.
5. Automated approval workflows
Automated approval workflows help Finance teams design workflows as per the company policy and automatically route all employee expense report submissions to the right approvers. Since expenses are already checked for compliance, the approver can simply review and approve reports individually or in bulk directly from the mobile app.
In case of an error, the approver can send back the report directly to the employee for clarification. If the manager approves the report, the software routes the report to the Finance department to audit and process the claims for reimbursement. Additionally, the software documents all actions taken by all stakeholders on the report in a detailed digital audit trail. This ensures easy data retrieval if required.
6. Real-time expense data analytics
Data has no meaning unless it provides actionable insights. In the case of business finances, this insight should be made available to Finance teams in real-time.
Advanced analytics is a common feature amongst top expense management software that gather all the information related to your company spend in real-time. The feature allows you to view spends based on categories such as department, projects, employee level, and more. It also helps Finance teams understand employee spending patterns and behavior to identify potential risks or opportunities promptly.
7. Complete control over operating budgets
A broken expense management system often results in poor visibility into operating budgets and can result in overspending or non-compliance. Present-day expense management software offer budget controls as part and parcel of the tool to help teams constantly know where money flows.
This feature also allows for customization of time periods for budgets to facilitate tracking long-term and short-term spends. Further, the system allows the configuration of separate and combined budgets for different projects, categories, departments, and cost centers. It also shoots you automated reminders for when a budget is nearing its limit to ensure compliance.
8. Next day ACH for quick claim reimbursements
ACH, known as "Direct Deposits" or "Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT)," is a US-only network of banks & financial institutions. This mode of payment is becoming increasingly popular with businesses for transactions like payroll, recurring payments/bills, vendor payments, employee claim reimbursements, etc.
With ACH, Finance teams can process payments to multiple employee bank accounts with the click of a button. This helps shorten reimbursement cycles and truly makes the entire expense reporting process effortless.
Case study: Learn how TST Constructions reduced their reimbursement cycle from ~60 days to 20 days with Fyle.
9. Real-time view into all things expenses
A comprehensive expense management dashboard brings the entire process full circle by showcasing everything that matters to you on one screen. For instance, Fyle gives admins a real-time overview of spend against the allocated budgets right from the dashboard. A single click into any graph will present the source of data, ready to export and use.
This helps Finance teams stay on top of all things expenses at all times.
How do businesses pick an expense management software?
This article only sheds light on the most common features an expense management software should offer to automate the process end-to-end efficiently and is by no means a comprehensive list.
The software you choose should be able to accommodate and automate the unique needs of your accounting department. Consider, also, your goals for automating employee expense management. Here's a list of common goals businesses have for expense automation:
- Efficient Project Spends
- Digital Transformation
- Enhanced Employee Experience
- Paperless Process
- Increased Compliance & Control
- Cost Savings
Communicating your requirements and goals clearly with vendors will help you understand the best fit for your business and avoid costly mistakes later in the process.
SUGGESTED READ: The hidden cost of free plans in expense management SaaS
If you're a growing business that loves flexibility, ease-of-use, and top-notch customer service to complement incredible employee experience, Fyle might just be the perfect fit for you. Take a minute to say hello, and we'll solve expense management for your business once and for all!