Edited by: Shruti Kesavan.
What is expense management?
Expense management is the process of tracking, reporting, submitting, approving, and reimbursing employees for business expenses incurred for the business's functioning. It ranges from travel-related expenses to even buying supplies for the office.
For reimbursements to take place, employees must submit an expense report that combines all business expenses incurred and their individual receipts. Once submitted, depending on the workflow of an organization, the reports must be approved by their manager or the finance team, sometimes both. Once approved, the employee is reimbursed for the expenses they have incurred on behalf of the company.
This process from report submission to reimbursement is called expense management.
An expense management software helps organizations automate this process.
Benefits of using an expense management software
Having an expense management software is very important for a business. It becomes crucial to control employee spending and optimize business operations. Having a system in place makes it easier to manage and monitor all the expenses your employees incur from one platform. Additionally, an expense management software also helps to keep expense fraud at bay by maintaining internal compliance. Here are some additional benefits that organizations gain by implementing an expense management system.
- Reduced manual errors: By taking over most of the manual parts of the process from data entry to duplicate detections, an expense management software can help alleviate most of the issues brought in by manual intervention.
- Improved compliance and control: An expense management software easily enforces compliance by automating pre-submission checks. This means accountants or Finance teams no longer need to verify every submitted report against company policy manually. By ensuring all submitted reports are policy compliant, the software helps to keep expense fraud at bay.
- Facilitate transparency: As stakeholders are made aware of policy violations right away, it ensures that everyone is aware of company expense policies. Additionally, employees can also keep track of their reimbursement status in real-time, which if done manually, meant a lot of back and forths between them and the finance team.
Features to look for in an expense management software
Here are some of the most sought-out features in an expense management software:
- Expense tracking and reporting: One reason why employees do not submit their expenses on time is because it is not easy to track them manually. A capable expense management software should provide employees with multiple ways to track paper and e-receipts easily so that the finance team always has proof that the employees spend the money on exactly what has been claimed.
- Expense categories: Having categories helps organizations have a bird's eye view of business expenses like transportation, meals, Wifi, accommodation, and many more. It also allows companies to differentiate between taxable and non-taxable expenses, which the IRS sets.
- Approval workflows: A capable expense management software should be able to set up complex approval workflows before the reports are processed and reimbursed. They should be able to set up standard approvals, custom approval workflows for different types of expenses, create escalations in case the amount is more than a certain amount, delegate approval authority, and more.
- Accounting integrations: Closing books on time is crucial for the success of every business. One of the biggest challenges finance teams face is ensuring all the expense data is accurately logged into their accounting software since it is the single source of truth for businesses. When choosing an expense management software, ensure that it doesn’t just automate the tracking and reporting part but also syncs with your accounting software automatically.
- Credit card reconciliation: One of the most common ways employees make business transactions is by using their corporate credit card. Employees and finance teams should be able to reconcile card transactions easily to ensure accuracy in the accounting process, help detect fraud and stay audit-ready always.
- Others: A few other features that are great to have are analytics, automated reminders, robust security, budgets, reimbursement methods, compliance, mileage tracking, and integration with other productivity software.
How much does an expense management software cost?
Most expense management solution providers offer pricing plans tailored to your organization's needs. On average, the pricing starts from $4.99 per month and increases depending on the features. They also provide free trials or demo accounts to test before choosing.
Who are the users of expense management software?
Employees: Employees who often travel or incur repeated work expenses would be the largest users. They can use the software to track expenses that have already been made, or they can also use it to request approval before booking for travel or making a spend.
Accountants: Accountants use it as a platform that gives them accurate information about the organization's spend so they can close their books on time.
Managers: Managers use it to approve expenses their team requests and track total spending by team or department. This helps them find opportunities to save budget or strike up deals with vendors.
Others: Freelancers, contractors, consultants, or folks who are not full-time employees can also use this software to track their travel/work expenses.
12 Best Expense Management Software for 2023
Note: The order of this list in no way shows our preferences or their quality. The list just showcases a range of different softwares, some of which suit businesses at a particular stage or type. So read through the descriptions thoroughly and choose the software whose offerings seem best suited for you.
1. Fyle - real-time expense management on cards you already have
Fyle handles everyday tasks like expense reporting and tracking with little to no manual intervention. It enables employees to report their expenses from everyday apps like Gmail, Outlook, Slack, Teams, or its robust mobile app. With Fyle, Finance teams and approvers can also access and approve all employee expense reports and necessary documents from anywhere, anytime.
Recently Fyle launched its real-time spend management solution for the owners of Visa and Mastercard business credit cards across the U.S. This means any SMB or mid-market company can now access the powerhouse of features in an expense management platform without changing their cards. With Fyle’s real-time feeds, you get notified of spend seconds after your card has been swiped. You just need to reply with a receipt, and the Finance team can instantly reconcile the card transaction.
Fyle lets you gain access to real-time data feeds, so you no longer have to depend on your bank.
- Multiple expense tracking options
- Instant receipt scanning feature with OCR technology
- Real-time credit card reconciliation on cards you already have
- Easy tracking for mileage, per diems, and cash advances
- Accurate digital audit trails for constant compliance
- Seamless integrations with major accounting software like NetSuite, QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct, and Xero
- Automated and customizable expense approval workflows
Pricing: Standard plan starts from $4.99 per active user/month billed annually
What users say about Fyle: “Fyle has made it very convenient for us to see our expenses as soon as employees swipe their cards. We get to know almost right away when employees have missed a receipt with the real-time card feeds, instead of waiting for the bank statement to be uploaded at the end of the week.”
2. Expensify - perfect for personal and business use
Expensify is an expense management app that aims to manage expenses by cutting out all the accounting hassles and simplifying bookkeeping. The app allows employees to track business and personal expenses, scan receipts, book travel, and more. Once tracked, Expensify will generate reports and submit them for approval. They also issue credit cards with their expense management software to make reconciliations easy.
- Click a receipt picture with your phone for expense reporting, approval, reimbursement, and syncing with accounting software
- Expensify business cards for easy corporate card reconciliation and expenses
- Send your vendor bills to Expensify for tracking, approval, and payment
- Create invoices and collect payments while syncing them automatically to your accounting software
- Book hotels and flights right from the app
Pricing: $5.00/month/user with the Expensify Card
What users say about Expensify: “Expensify helped to both automate and fully digitize our employee expense reimbursement process at the office. It used to take a full day for our accountant to run the expense cheques. Now, it's just a couple of clicks.”
3. Concur - simplify travel booking and spending
SAP Concur Expense helps capture receipts, process expense reports, enforce business rules and make more informed business decisions. When you create an expense report with Concur, your charge from the credit card, vendor, and a picture of the receipt are auto-populated. And as for approvers, they can review and approve team expense reports as soon as employees capture transaction data and submit the expense reports.
- Quick expense reporting and receipt capture
- Adding vehicle mileage to an expense report
- On-the-go travel booking
- Automated vendor and supplier payment
- Integration with ERP and accounting platforms for faster expense processing
- Easy approval process for expense reports
Pricing: Contact for pricing
What users say about Concur: “The convenience of SAP Concur is unparalleled. I get my expenses reimbursed faster, more accurately, and with less work for me, my boss, and our accounting team.”
4. Certify - superior travel management for all businesses
Certify is an expense management software that is easy to use and is coupled with travel management capabilities. Certify supports seamless tracking, analyzing, and reporting for business travel spend. Scan and attach paper and e-receipts of restaurants, flights, hotels, and more, eliminating the need for spreadsheets and manual expense management. It also streamlines the entire approval process, considerably reducing employee reimbursement times.
- Free and easy-to-use mobile app to create and submit reports
- Receipt scanning and autofill
- Auto-generated expense reports
- Integrated travel booking
- ACH reimbursement
- Credit card integration
Pricing: The standard plan for 25 users starts at $12/user/month, and the enterprises’ price plan depends on the organization's needs.
What users say about Certify: “The ease of use. The mobile app for expense reporting basically does everything for you. It makes the overall process from employee to accounting approver so easy.”
5. Zoho Expense - one stop solution for business travel
Zoho Expense is a powerful tool that enables organizations to automate everything from receipt submission to accounting, saving time and effort. Users can make travel bookings and track expenses right from the platform. Credit card reconciliation is even easier with Zoho Expense as it automatically converts the transactions into expenses. Finance teams can set up multi-level approval hierarchies, spend policies, budgets, and analytics.
- Multi-level approval hierarchies
- Corporate credit card reconciliation
- Expense tracking
- Mobile receipt upload
- Workflow management
Pricing: The premium plan for Zoho Expense starts from $5/active user /month billed annually. They also offer a free plan with basic expense tracking features.
What users say about Zoho Expense: “The best thing about Zoho is living in one single echo system. You don't have to switch between multiple applications to complete your daily tasks. The seamless integration between the Zoho products is ice on the cake.”
6. Brex - for superior card and cash management
With Brex, business owners can open a bank account, issue credit cards, and use its robust spend management tools to grow their business fast. Employees can use the cards to pay vendors and make payments easily. Brex also supports automatic reconciliations as the employees can email or text the receipt. In addition, the finance team can create custom limits on different cards for every employee, subscription, or vendor so that business spend is controlled. They can also use Brex to make decisions faster as it provides automated and real-time insights from the available spend data
- Compliance Management
- Corporate Card
- Mobile Receipt Upload
- Receipt Management
- Spend Control
Pricing: Contact for pricing
What users say about Brex: “I love that I don't have to do expense reports! The text messages give me transparency and how much I'm spending. I get a lot more time back in my day and can confidently make business related purchases.”
7. Airbase - for organization’s that are quick to grow and scale
Airbase unifies three systems: accounts payable, an advanced corporate credit card system, and an expense management system. Coupled with automated accounting and approval workflows, Airbase makes all non-payroll spend control and reporting a breeze for finance teams, opening up productive time and reducing manual effort.
- Ease of Creating Expense Reports
- Bank / Credit Card Integration
- Employee Reimbursement
- Credit Card Integration
- Receipt Capture
- Complex Approval Workflow
Pricing: Contact for pricing
What users say about Airbase: “Airbase makes it easy to track down details of our spending, keeping receipts, approvals, and details all in one place. I can view vendor history at a summary level (visually!) and from there easily drill into monthly detail if I need to look through invoices or receipts. The integration with our accounting system saves our team significant time.”
8. Ramp - grow without compromise
Ramp is the complete package when it comes to finance automation. With Ramp, organizations get corporate credit cards, expense management, accounting, bill payment, and reporting into one simple and easy-to-use platform. It also supports direct integrations with accounting software, auto-matching receipts, and analytical insights into spend. And to top it all off, customers earn 1.5% cash back on all spend using a Ramp credit card.
- Approval Workflow
- Corporate Card
- Expense Tracking
- Mobile Receipt Upload
- Reimbursement Management
- Spend Control and Analysis
Pricing: Ramp is free to use.
What users say about Ramp: “The best part about Ramp is the ease and speed at which we can issue virtual cards. Everyone is accountable and our employees have said it has been easy to use! For a 100% remote company, trying to help folks manage spending all over the country has been a challenge but RAMP has made it simple! I love the cash back and the instant visibility into company spend.”
9. Divvy - seamless credit card reporting
Divvy is an expense management platform that can handle your expense management process end-to-end. As a result, finance teams can get real-time visibility into all business spend, enforce budgets, report expenses faster and close books on time. Divvy also provides a solid credit line to companies which can help them scale and grow.
- Accounts payable
- Seamless integrations
- Approval workflow
- Audit trail
- Corporate card
- Expense tracking
Pricing: Divvy is free for all businesses
What users say about Divvy: “The Divvy platform is SO user-friendly. We have received nothing but positive feedback from our cardholders within our company. We get thanked weekly for implementing this new expense management software. Having an app for the platform is one of the best perks! Cardholders can complete their transactions on their schedule, on the go. No more setting time aside to complete their expense report at a computer.”
10. Rydoo - real-time approvals and reporting
Rydoo helps organizations switch from outdated expense reporting to a more automated and real-time process. Users can track their expenses in real-time by using their smartphone to snap pictures of receipts and book a trip instantly. The finance team can approve, reject, and manage employee expenses, track mileage, or even cash advances. The software also integrates seamlessly with existing accounting or ERPs like SAP, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Xero, NetSuite, and Quickbooks.
- Accounting integrations
- Approval Process Control
- Reimbursement Management
- Spend Control
- Time Tracking
- Workflow Management
The base plan for Rydoo starts from $10 per user, per month when billed annually and the Pro plan starts from $12 per user, per month when billed annually.
What users say about Rydoo: “Rydoo is super easy to use, sleek and something mind-blowing for me. This is the first app that I use with such a smart Ai reading the receipt very accurately, with less fuss and a pretty comprehensive choice of tax rates and categories. I also like the audit trail for the whole submission.”
11. Abacus - automated expense creation and approvals
Abacus by Emburse streamlines expense reporting for individuals and businesses accurately while offering complete control and transparency. It also supports reimbursements, corporate card reconciliations, and automatic accounting. One of the interesting things Abacus does is proactively make suggestions for budget breaches or potentially fraudulent expenses, separate expenses that violate policy and automatically manage recurring expenses.
- Automated Expense Policy
- Dynamic Reporting and Analysis
- Multi-Level Approval Workflows
- Accounting Software Sync
- OCR Matching
- In-App Credit Card Issuing
Abacus starts at $9 per active user per month.
What users say about Abacus: “I like that the Abacus team has rethought what an online expense management platform experience should look like instead of just digitizing the old paper process like many competitors. The optical character recognition and other automation are very useful and convenient. The ability to segment multiple corporate cards to be assigned to different user accounts is fantastic!”
12. Spendesk - end-to-end control of company spend
Spendesk comes with seven financial solutions in one complete package. It can handle corporate credit cards, reimbursements, approvals, budgets, compliance reporting, invoice payments, and pre-accounting. Spendesk is designed to deliver automation, visibility, and control to the modern finance team
- Prepaid credit cards
- Purchase tracking from order to payment
- Custom budgets per teammate
- Automated invoice recovery and matching
- Instant payment categorization
- One-click export to your accounting software
Pricing: Contact for pricing
What users say about Spendesk: “Spendesk eliminated a very manual process of submitting expenses and invoices with docs and emails. Their platform is intuitive and interactive and actually kind of fun to use too. I can search for submitted expenses and request virtual credit cards for online payments. The process is transparent and secure too.”
The growth of a company ultimately depends on its financial health. This makes it imperative to clearly understand where your employees spend money and what they spend it on. Access to little or no expense data can be detrimental to an organization.
An expense management software for your company will help it grow, control costs where needed, and improve your overall financial health. Investing in it has become a no-brainer in today's financial environment.
We hope the above list of recommendations has brought you closer to identifying an expense management solution that perfectly fits your organization’s needs.
Additionally, if you’re wondering where you could start your search for an expense management platform that can handle everything end-to-end, please feel free to sign up for a demo and check Fyle out today!
Trust us, this is the only demo you’ll ever need.