Owning and running your own SMB is no walk in the park. While it is a goal that you have always wanted to achieve, the work doesn’t stop once you’ve set it up. The operations may be small but maintaining it is no menial task. You will be facing quite a few challenges to keep your business running. These can range from getting the right people to promoting your brand.
With limited resources, you’ll also need to make sure you are on top of every single cent and dollar that your business spends. You want this information available to view and study so you can plan your next strategy. Data such as how much you spend on business trips and office supplies will be necessary. Overlooking even the smallest detail can be disastrous. You need help to make sure that you manage your financials efficiently. This is where an expense management tool comes in.
What Is Expense Management Software?
Intacct, an expense report and management software developer based in California, defines the tool as a technology that allows a business to process and reimburse expenses incurred. These expenses are ones spent by employees for business related activities such as travel and telecom and mobile use. Expense report management software makes the process of reporting and analyzing money spent much easier. It is a far cry from manual methods that are still used by a lot of SMB’s.
Tracking and managing your business expenses can be quite challenging. From business trips to employee incurred expenses, these can pile up and become confusing to keep a record of. While you may have your own personal manual system of staying on top of what you spend money on, these are not always accurate. Ideally, expenses should be recorded daily. Delaying it can increase the risk of forgetting to document some expenses. As a result inaccurate reports become inevitable if it’s not done real time. Expense management software can help you reduce that risk by making it easier for your employees to do while still being able to focus on their jobs.
There are different types of business expense management software available. Some systems that include basic tracking and reporting are available to download for free while more advanced programs need to be purchased. The prices vary on the features that come with the software. You can check expense management tools reviews available online.
Most developers create their software to be web based so that these can be accessible even outside of the office. This is ideal for businesses that have employees who are not office based such as work from homes and traveling sales people.
Features and Advantages
Expense management tools have features that business owners can take advantage of. The size of the business doesn’t really matter as both big and small companies can benefit from an automated expense management system. Below are some of the features that are available from the top expense management tools listed on CrowdReviews.com. The features may be labeled differently per software brand and version but the basic functions are the same.
- Simplified Submitting and Reporting of Expenses. – This feature makes it easier for employees to complete their expense reports. One of the biggest challenges when doing reports manually is that receipts often get lost or faded. Since most receipts are printed on thermal paper damaged receipts are almost inevitable if they are kept for a while before being submitted. This happens often when employees are away on business. They keep the receipts and by the time its tie to file their report, the amount and name of establishment is almost indecipherable.
Travel management software is a welcome solution to this. Receipts can be scanned, emailed and attached to ensure that these are put on file for future reference before they become damaged. What makes it even better is that some software developers have made this feature available on different platforms. Employees can use their mobile, tablet, laptops or computers to get this done.
In addition, you can also manage other expenditures that your business incurs such as telecoms and mobile expenses. According Calero, an expense management solutions provider, you can efficiently identify spending patterns and make savings with software designed for this.
- Requisition and Payment Requests – Another challenge that business owners encounter are requisition and payment requests. These processes often take a long time when manually done. The cost of the items or services being requested need to be analyzed before these get approved. Sadly, even items that cost less than $10 or ones that are routinely ordered get stuck. With this feature, you can create predetermined parameters to avoid delays. In addition, reimbursement requests for purchases that bypass requisition can be recorded separately to avoid duplicate entries and reduce the risks of inaccurate costs.
- Accounting Sync – Regardless of the size of business, separate expense accounts are necessary. Businesses allot a separate budget for different departments. While this is an efficient financial strategy it can be a challenge to track. Manual expense management will require hours spent on synching the reports that are done by the departments even if they use the same format. You can avoid this with a travel and expense management software. Each expense account can have their dedicated reports that will synch into the company’s main accounting file.
- Alerts – Some employees find filing their expense reports tedious and time consuming so they put it off as much as possible. As a result some tend to forget doing it. This can have quite an impact on the company’s financials. You need the data from these reports to analyze the effectiveness of your business strategies.
This software feature sends reminders to your employees to remind them to complete travel and expense reports and the date these are due. This can avoid delays and ensure that reports are sent on time. Employees can also avoid unnecessary salary deductions that often result from failing to file expense reports.
This feature also works to remind reviewers of other tasks that need to be done such as getting approvals and finalizing travel arrangements. This can reduce the risks of important activities getting overlooked
- Timesheets – This feature in timesheet and expense management software is perfect for businesses that charge clients based on work hours done by dedicated specialists like designers and sales people. By automating projected and actual hours, billing and payroll becomes more efficient by reducing errors that may result in manual recording.
Timesheets.com, a solutions provider of web based expense management software, cites this feature as one that can offer peace of mind. It eliminates all worries about lost timecard information and calculation errors.
Benefits for SMB
Most SMB owners don’t see the importance of having a travel and expense management software. Since operations are small, they find manually keying in information and reporting sufficient to track their expenses. Below are the benefits your SMB can get from transitioning from manual recording to automated expense management.
Efficient Expense Management Process
Concur, one of the leading expense management system providers based in Washington, gave savings on time and money as one of the benefits of using this business tool. Because the software can be made accessible virtually anywhere you can ensure that requests are approved and reports are filed in a timely manner. With the streamlined process this software brings, your employees can start paying attention to other necessary tasks. No longer will they spend hours following up and focusing on admin work. This means your sales folks will have more time calling on prospects and your CS reps can take care of your customers. They don’t waste time on filing their receipts and tracking their daily expenses.
One of the challenges you may be facing with your increasing workforce is that they all have their own way of doing reports. These may range from what they personally find manageable to a process that they were using at their previous job. With manual reporting, it may take a while for your accounting people to track and update your company’s expense record. And the longer the process is the longer it will take you to see how much your company is spending. By introducing an automated process, you create a standard that will be used across the board and one that can easily be updated.
Ready for Expansion
Your operations may be currently small, but that certainly doesn’t mean you have no plans of expanding. According to com, an online community of business experts, expanding a business comes with a few challenges. Included in these challenges are having the right systems in place. With an expense management system, your business is ready for expansion. When you open another office, whether it’s in the same city or different country, you can guarantee that the process will be the same. Home office or satellite will make no difference. Your requests, approvals and expense reports will be easily updated to avoid any confusion or delay within the office.
With an automated expense management system, you have access to data that you can use to improve your strategy. You can track which areas yield more profit over the cost you invested to send representatives. You can analyze where you got better deals on accommodation and transport which will be helpful for future business trips.
Your expense reports can also show which suppliers offer the best prices so you can continue doing business with them. According to
Your SMB certainly deserve to be taken care of and you can achieve this by transitioning to business expense management software. Discover the different expense management software options available by checking out CrowdReviews.com’s list.
Latest posts by Keith Moore (see all)
- What Is the Best PoS Software and How to Choose It? - January 12, 2017
- What Does Database Management Software Do for Small Businesses? - January 9, 2017
- What Are the Distinct Features of the Top App Development Software? - January 8, 2017