Expense management automation

Enterprise expense management software evaluation checklist

October 12, 2019
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When selecting a new expense management software, there are various factors to consider. It's not just about the features offered by the vendors. It's important to look at what the business itself needs. Is the software cost-effective? What are the deployment options? Can it adapt to the business as it changes?

Larger enterprises are in a pinch. Their requirements to switch to a better Expense Management Software are real. But the scale and scope at which the organization operates might create confusion and doubts as to what exactly are their needs. To help you through this process, we've created a handy checklist for you that breaks down the nitty-gritties of it.

Understand the needs of your business 

Before selecting a new Expense Management Software, let’s figure out what challenges you are hoping to resolve first. Let’s look at some of the common issues businesses face:

  • Fraudulent Expenses
  • Overspending
  • The burden on employees, accountants/approvers
  • Difficulty in processing accounting reports
  • Inaccurate expense reports and claims
  • Outdated manual paper/excel filling process

Once the specific issues are identified, we will get into how you can assess your current expense management process. And after that, decide what features you need and what you should expect from a new Expense Management Software.

Now let’s get more insight into the inner workings of your current operation and process.

SUGGESTED READ: Most common mistakes in corporate expense management

Gauge your current expense management process

Identify all processes involved with expense management and expense tracking to determine how and what needs to change. Include all the relevant team members and pinpoint the most important details to give an accurate picture of your processes. This will aid in funneling down your desired Expense Management Software selection.

Some questions to ask the stakeholders involved:

  • How are you storing your receipts currently?
  • Is the process of employees submitting expenses slow?
  • How do you reimburse expenses, and does it need approvals?
  • How many errors occur at the moment?
  • How effective are your expense policies?
  • Do you have real-time visibility into spending?
  • Which areas of your current process need changes and improvements?

Define your expectations from the new Expense Management Software

There are various challenges that an Expense Management Software can help alleviate. Some of them are:

Streamlining expense reporting

Traditional expense reporting usually involves employees reporting via excel sheets. But sometimes there are issues with these receipts, and employees may spend an awful lot of time sorting it out. Digitally publishing this process (via an Expense Management Software) eliminates the risk of errors and also improves the speed and efficiency drastically. Additionally, receipt banks also collate everything in one place for easy access to every invoice. This helps business to not only streamline processes but also stay audit-ready at all times.

Seamless expense report approvals

Companies generally have several approvers that review all the expense reports from employees. These approvers are usually from different departments and branches. They have to manually check all the receipts and cross-check them with policies set in place. This makes it a tiring task. An Expense Management Software automates control on expenses, reduces errors, and checks expense fraud. This not only helps save time and effort but also improves employee morale and productivity. 

No hidden costs with better efficiency

A recent Hubspot study had some interesting findings:

"49% of companies surveyed still use a manual system. Out of this, 33% still use Spreadsheet/Microsoft Excel-based reporting. On average, 49% of businesses were affected by employees losing paper receipts or submitting expense reports without receipts. And 55% of enterprise companies achieved a return on investment through improved efficiency using Expense Management Software."

These numbers bear evidence to the fact that an automated software does improve and streamline processes without burning a hole in your pocket. 

SUGGESTED READ: How to leverage business expense report analytics for organizational success?

Evaluate the features of your existing Expense Management Software

Does your current expense management system help effectively manage business expenses? 

Here are some of the standard/basic features available in an ideal expense software. Cross-check these features with your current Expense Management Software to understand the state of expense management at your organization:

  • A device-agnostic system: Your employees may use different devices while on the move. This makes it essential to enable expense reporting using apps that work anywhere and anytime. This allows employees to track, manage, and submit expenses on-the-move.
  • Multiple stage approval workflow: Employees who need to upload expenses or oversee tracked expenses often need to go through numerous approvers. Expense Management Softwares allow for multiple permission levels. This allows for quick and easy expense approvals.
  • Enhanced travel expense management: The software comes equipped with features to simplify pre-travel requisites and approvals. It also comes with features such as analytics in addition to policy checks on travel expenses. This helps automate essential, but mundane processes that require human intervention.
  • Integrating company corporate card: Pick a software that can help you directly integrate credit card feeds with the system. This speeds up the entire process and reduces the risk of errors.


How can policies help in the corporate credit card reconciliation process?

5 signs your expense management software isn’t working

Prerequisites before selecting an Expense Management Software

Get your team onboard

Your new expense management solution is going to be used by the rest of your team. And it’s important to gauge specific criteria before making a decision. Understanding how easy it will be to adapt to this new accounting software can help in selecting the best option.

Pro Tips:

  • Form a group that will initially test the software
  • Try all of the demos or free trials that are available
  • Get opinions from all team members on what they like and don’t like

 Questions to ask before picking an Expense Management Software:

  • Does the team need any support or training to use the software?
  • Does your team easily adapt to new technology?
  • Is the software user-friendly?
  • Which departments or employees are going to use this? (Only some employees, specific departments or the whole business)
  • Do you use apps/tools that you can integrate with the new system?

Criteria to look for while choosing an Expense Management Software:

Cost Considerations:

  • Total Cost of Ownership: Hardware, licensing, upgrades, subscription, support, customizing, and any additional costs are all transparent
  • ‍Versatility: Ability to grow and adapt to business requirements, add new users and resources as the need arises
  • ‍Deployment: A cloud-based solution that is deployed quickly and has easy integrations with existing tools/apps
  • ‍License Options: ‍Opt for a flexible subscription model rather than a flat recurring payment
  • ‍Charge Basis: ‍The subscription amount is charged based on usage of the service rather than a fixed amount, e.g., the number of users

Functionality considerations

  • Accessible: ‍Access the software from anywhere, any place, and any device
  • ‍Intuitive: ‍Robust, user-friendly interface that is easy to use and learn
  • ‍Workflow: ‍Automated processes, multi-level approvals, notices, and real-time policy compliance
  • ‍Insights: ‍Comprehensive reporting and analysis with KPIs and other data points
  • ‍Integration: ‍A fully integrated accounting system, including corporate credit card integrations and reimbursement structures/formats

Risk Reduction

  • Predictable Costs: ‍Predetermined amount payable based on usage of the product
  • ‍Catered Solution: ‍Choose a vendor that understands your exact requirements and can serve your industry
  • ‍Data Security: ‍Online storage that is resistant to security breaches and equipped with data recovery failsafe
  • ‍Updates: ‍Critical updates should be served via the cloud and should be readily available to users
  • ‍Support Services: ‍Telephonic, E-Mail, Live-Chat, and Support Agents. Client training with User/Admin guides

Why should your business use an Expense Management Software?

Many of the suggestions we have provided point towards cloud-based solutions with automated processes. With these automated software, it is now easy to solve many of the issues you might experience with traditional expense management means.

SUGGESTED READ: What are the benefits and risks of an online expense management software?

What challenges does an automated Expense Management Software solve?

  1. Eliminates the hectic chore of manual data entry 
  2. Enables seamless expense tracking with digital audit trails
  3. Provides insights into all business expenses
  4. Allows for faster reimbursements
  5. Enhances policy compliance with control over all expense approvals
  6. Makes the end-to-end expense reporting process faster
  7. Acts as a productive boost for all other stakeholders.
  8. A cost-saving solution that pays for itself anywhere between 6 - 24 months

With this comprehensive list, we hope you have a better idea as to how to select an Expense Management Software for your business. Now, you’re all set to get your expense management into overdrive. 

Expense management is a breeze with Fyle, whether it's expense reporting, approval workflows, real-time policy checks, or rich analytics. We’re changing the game for corporate card spend management too! With Fyle, you can bring your existing/preferred corporate card vendors and we’ll facilitate direct feeds straight to your dashboard. 

Schedule a demo to get the ultimate solution to address your spend management needs!

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