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How To Choose The Right Business Expense Management Software (+Free Checklist)

expense management software

Finding the right business expense management software is tricky. There are a variety of service providers in the market, and they all have their features and nuances. 

So, what should you do? How do you select an expense management software that not only manages expense reporting, but makes the entire process faster, easier, and more efficient? Because, believe us: a software that does not simplify work for you and your employees WILL NOT actually “work”, no matter how many features it has. You don’t want an expense software that has to be forced on the employees. It should be able to craft a great experience when added to their workflow.   

With employee delight and business value-aligned, here’s a step-by-step list for choosing an expense management software that “works” for your business. 

PS: If you already have expense management software but your current provider isn’t meeting your business needs, this blog will help you re-evaluate your vendor and choose a better one. 

Finding The Right Business Expense Management Software

Step 1: Understand What Is And Isn’t Working For You In Your Current Process

First, it’s wise to revisit the solution you already use for expense management. You can probably create a list of the problems your business is facing in the absence of a good expense management system before you start searching for it. This will help you choose the right option.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself include:

  1. How do your employees generally incur expenses?
    Do your employees use company-owned credit cards or personal credit cards and then get reimbursed later? In case they use personal credit cards, you would need software that provides a mobile app so that employees can take photos of their expense receipts on the go and file reimbursements. 
  1. What problems do your employees face while expense reporting?
    The employees will use the software as much as you do. Therefore, it makes sense to take feedback from the employees on how easy or difficult they find the current software and what changes would they want if you plan to purchase a new one. 
  1. If you are re-evaluating your current software, which features are missing or you don’t use?
    There might be some features you don’t use that you initially thought you would and some that you think should have been there in the expense software. You can create a list of features that are a must for you and cross the others that are not required.   
  1. How do you allocate the funds between different departments? What insight does your current expense management software provide?
    If your company allocates funds to different departments, you require expense management software that helps track allocation and different spending patterns. 

Once you know the problems you need to solve, the part of researching for software becomes simpler! The criteria that matter to your business will depend on the problems you and your employees face.

Step 2: Set A Reasonable Budget

You also need to set a reasonable budget for the business expense management software. Check which software falls within your range and take into account its ROI for the company. For instance, a stand-alone solution may be cheaper now, but it makes sense to buy an advanced, all-in-one solution that helps you save money down the line.  

Step 3: Research Business Expense Management Software Providers

Once you have created a list of all problems you need to solve and have set a budget, it’s time to start researching for the best business expense management software providers. You can assess each provider in the following areas to make sure you select the right software.

  1. Essential features – Whether you are buying new software or replacing your existing one, ask yourself: Does this software have all the essential features you are looking for?  Are the “bonus’ features necessary for your business?

    Here are some aspects that can help you determine if the software offers the features you need: 
    • A mobile app that helps employees submit expenses on the go
    • A platform that allows employees to attach digital receipts or create an automated subscription plan (for frequent travelers)
    • Automatically detect policy violations and control fraud 
    • Automated approval flow for better management and efficiency 
    • Receipt tracking 
    • Notifications and alerts to employees for filing expenses on time 
    • Real-time data analytics
    • A powerful dashboard to manage everything in one place 
    • Mileage tracker that automatically tracks distance traveled and mileage rates
    • A software that allows setting  allocation to different departments
  2. Customization – An important part of integrating expense management software is that it grows and changes with your organization. It should be future-ready and easy to scale. Make sure you can:
    • Make changes to the existing policies and customize the workflow for approvals, reimbursements, etc when needed 
    • Integrate it with some other software such as a travel management system or HR system, quickly and easily 
    • Go live with the software within no time
  3. Good employee experience – While the essential features will help you take a strategic decision, employee experience is important too. For your software to be a success, all employees must adopt it. Therefore, ensure the software you choose is:   
    • Easy to use – Convenience is a huge factor for employees to adopt the software. When filing expense reports becomes easier and reimbursements are made on time, employees get motivated to use the platform. 
    • Intuitive – An intuitive experience has tangible effects on employee productivity.  
    • Auto apply policy so that they are aware of their spend limits 
  4. Customer support availability – It is always nice to know how each provider can help in case the need arises. Understanding each software provider’s customer support model will help you determine who can support you along the way. Always consider:
    • Are the customer support agents available 24*7 (actually)?
    • Are there multiple channels to contact them? i.e. email, chat, phone, etc. Also, check if there are any costs for support calls. 
    • Does the software provider provide any training material?
    • Do they provide language support?
    • What do their online customer reviews say? Are their other clients satisfied with their service?
  5.  Data Security – Lastly, expense management software stores a vast amount of data related to your employees and your company. Therefore, it should have a robust data security system in place. Apart from this, it should be compliant with all relevant legislation and guidelines. Remember: you should always know who has access to your company data and set different access levels for different people in your company. 

Step 4: Evaluate Providers Against Your Master List of Necessary Criteria 

Now that you know you’ve created a list of all potential business expense management software providers, it’s time for the easy part! Evaluate all software you are considering against your master list of necessary features and narrow it down to 3-4.

After you have determined your finalists, schedule a demo with each one of them to get a better idea of how the software works. Also, the product experts will be able to guide you on how you can use their software for your business purpose. 

Step 5: Choose The Best Software & Share It With All Stakeholders 

Once you’ve picked the best business expense management software (the one that fits all administrative needs and offers a great employee experience), it’s time to share it with all stakeholders for approval. Present your initial findings to all the stakeholders involved and then implement the expense management software, post-approval.  

Simplify Expense Management with ITILITE

While choosing an expense software may seem like an in-depth endeavor, putting in a bit of extra work at the beginning can help you make a better decision in the long run. ITILITE is an integrated travel and expense management platform that can streamline expense management processes for your company and help you increase employee delight. To know more about how ITILITE can simplify your expense management, speak with one of our product experts today!

How To Choose The Best Expense Management Software Checklist

Any sort of upgradation to expense management automation can seem like a huge leap forward. Just keep this checklist handy as you’re navigating your options to ensure you make a great decision for your company.

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