Many business owners are switching from the manual expense management process to automated expense management. This is because using an automated process brings with it a lot of benefits. Advantages include saving on cost and time, more efficient reporting and approval, availability of the system anywhere and anytime, and stricter compliance to regulations and policies. Because this kind of automated system is becoming more popular, lots of software vendors are surfacing. There are some that offers their software for a cheaper price but lacking in features. There are some that will offer a very expensive plan but with lots of features that you might not even need. So here is a guide on what important features you should look for when choosing an expense management software.
Different Hosting Options
There are two types of hosting options when you are considering getting an automated system. The first one is cloud hosting. This is the type where data and information are saved in a virtual server. The second type is on-premise where the servers are installed and operated in the company’s workplace or in house.
When you are looking for the best expense management software, choose one that will offer you flexible hosting options. Both types offer different pros and cons and you should have the option to choose what kind of hosting you want. Cloud hosting offers a more flexible arrangement and can eliminate costs that will be spend on infrastructure needs. On the other hand, when you use on-premise hosting you have a more secure server since it will be on your own terms. The downside is it can be more expensive. Whatever you choose, make sure you have to option to choose what you want.
Different Licensing Options
Another feature you should look for is the flexibility when it comes to licensing options. There are software vendors that will sell you the software outright. Meaning you have to pay for the software license and everything that comes with owning a software. Another option is you could also just rent the software. This means you will have to pay for every month that you use the expense management tools. The advantage of buying the software is you would only have to pay for the software once and it’s yours. There will be no monthly bills coming in and you could do whatever you want with the software. On the other hand, it’s yours and it’s paid for even when it really doesn’t suit your business needs. Renting or leasing a software on a monthly basis gives you more freedom to scrap the software if you find out it doesn’t fit in with your company.
One thing that companies are looking for when they automate their expense management process is so that they can access the system even when they are not in the office. This is an important feature since this will offer mobility to your employees especially when they are travelling. Submitting reports will be easier if mobile support is available. This is one way to be cost effective, since there will be less paper consumption when everything is available in your devices. Not all software will be having mobile support so choose one that has this. Read reviews of expense management software to know which ones offer this feature.
This feature goes hand in hand with the mobile support. For the mobile support to work it has to have access to the servers even when they are not in the office. This is possible for both types of hosting. But remote access is easier done with the cloud technology hosting since the servers are already on the cloud and it will only take your log in details to get in the database. On-premise hosting on the other will have to still be configured if it will allow remote access. It is more expensive to maintain an on-premise hosting since you will need a group of IT specialists to maintain the servers. While security and maintenance of the cloud based expense management solution will fall on the service provider and will be included in the fees you have to pay.
Expenses are mostly accrued, when employees travel. So it is a necessary feature that your expense management system offers a multiple currency option. Moreover, if multiple languages are also offered the better. Check some reviews of expense management software to know which software offers multiple currencies and language. Reading the reviews will tell you if users are satisfied with their software. These reviews are an untapped source of knowledge regarding different software. Employees that are traveling to different countries will need the software to be able to handle different polices and tax treatments, not just the currency and language.
Easy System Integration
Most times expense management has to work with other departments in the company. That includes the finance, audit and payroll department. These different sectors of the company all have their own software and systems to make their jobs easier. If you own a big company with many software that are in use, be sure that the expense management system you will choose can be easily integrated with the software these other departments use. System integration is the process of having two different systems join or work together in a harmonious manner. If all your software comes from the same vendor, then integration might be easier but if they come from different providers then integration might be tricky. Make sure that all the software that you use can be easily joined with each other.
Company expenses are subject to tax regulations. Different countries will have different rules and regulations regarding tax. Make sure that the software you will get complies with all the regulations the country has set for expenses. The regulations are in place to ensure that taxes are being paid correctly. The IRS is also keen on checking expense reports of companies. To make sure that no tax evasion is being committed. The United Kingdom has the HM Revenue and Customs regulations, while the United States has the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Both these acts are in place to protect companies from fraudulent and illegal activities.
Policies and regulations are made to control the amount of money that is going out of the company. These policies are in place so the employees and managers will know what they can spend company funds on. When you choose an expense management software, you will input to the new system the policies and regulations that you have regarding expenses. Make sure that the software you will get will be able to enforce all these regulations and policies. Regulation compliance might not be the responsibility of the software alone but with the help of senior management, regulation compliance can be enforced. Auditing the receipts and expense process will still fall on the finance people rather than just the software.
Most companies require the physical copy of the receipts for an expense report to be approved. But hopefully when your company decides to fully automate the expense management system, electronic copies of receipts will already be accepted. One woe of many employees is that they sometimes get their receipts lost. And without the receipt, they have no way of having their expenses reimbursed. Pick the best expense management software that will accept attachment of electronic copies of receipts. So when your company starts approving these electronic copies, the software already has it covered. There are cases of fraud committed by employees where they make fake receipts to get more money from the company so it is very important that all receipts are audited. It doesn’t matter if they are printed or electronic copies of the receipts.
Credit Card Support
One way to prevent fraud is if the software can import credit card transactions directly to the system. This can prevent fraud because the transaction proof will no longer be handled by employee instead it is routed directly to the system where the expenses are inputted. That is why one important feature of an expense management software that you should look for is the support for credit card imports. The employee will still get their credit card statements but the transactions relating to the company money will already be in the system. Read reviews of expense management software to know which are offering credit card support.
The features mentioned are important in an expense management software. But sometimes it is not all about the features. You also have to assess the needs of the company. All these features are great but does your company really need them? Remember, the more features the software has, the higher the bills you have to pay. So only pick those that are relevant to you. Most software vendors will offer the same main features; it will all come down to the usability of the feature for your company and your business needs.
Want all the main features in your expense management software? Read some reviews from CrowdReviews.com to know which software has the features you want.
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