15 January 2021

10 Features to Look for in Expense Management Software

by Jey Darby

No matter what industry you’re in, businesses should always be looking for ways to save time, and make processes more efficient. As such, many tasks that have traditionally been done manually are now becoming automated in order to save time and effort. Managing employee business expenses is one aspect that is undergoing a major transition from in person to online expense management software.

Look at the benefits of online expense management software! It’s not difficult to see why so many businesses and companies are choosing to make the switch. When used properly, it helps you to streamline your processes. It also saves you time and money, and is incredibly low risk.

With so many expense management software out there, it can be difficult to know which is the best choice for your business. In this article we look at the following in more detail:

What Are the Disadvantages of a Manual Expense Management Process?

It’s probably fair to say that expense management is one of the most dreaded aspects of running a business. Employees with piles of paper bills, endless spreadsheets and finance teams trying to get everything done before the deadline. This image of traditional expense management is one that all businesses know well.

These methods are not even viable for smaller companies. Businesses in the growth stage, or with more than a handful of employees, problems can soon start to arise.

The most common issues that occur from manually managing a businesses expenses are:

  • Lengthy and labor-intensive processes taking up the time of your employees
  • Higher chance of human error and bias
  • Increased chance of fraudulent claims
  • No clear data in order to track spending trends
  • Delayed reimbursements, resulting in lower employee morale and experience

Recommended reading: How Better Expense Management Drives Better Decisions

Why Should You Consider Automating Your Expense Management?

The main benefit from utilizing expense management software is the automation of any custom expense approval workflows, no matter how complex. This makes it easy for managers and Finance teams to tweak/change processes and expense policies as and when necessary. Additionally, once the claims are approved and reimbursed, all expense report data is stored in a secure and unified cloud. This makes it easy for Finance teams to maintain accurate records and access them instantly.

Other key benefits of switching to expense management software include:

  • Cutting down on unnecessary costs
  • Increasing compliance and accountability
  • Real-time visibility and transparency
  • Raising employee satisfaction and morale

Recommended reading: 6 Ways an Expense Management System Will Simplify Your Work

Expense Management Software

What Are the 10 Key Features to Look for in an Expense Management Software?

Free your business from the problems that come with manual processes! But it’s important to choose the right expense management software for your business. Below are our top 10 key features that are worth considering in your software. This way you can be sure that you’re getting the most out of transitioning to automated processes:

  1. Intuitive dashboard
  2. Easy to use mobile apps
  3. Continuous compliance
  4. Integrated corporate credit card management platform
  5. Compatible with any accounting software
  6. Multi-currency functionality
  7. Automated workflows
  8. Automatic categorization of expenses and allocation of cost center data
  9. Automated tax calculation (VAT/GST)
  10. Reporting functionality

1. Intuitive dashboard

Dashboards provide managers with unified expense data and present it in a visual format that makes it easier to understand and analyze. Turn your expense reporting processing and verification digital. Thanks to the right software, managers and finance teams no longer have to juggle between multiple excel sheets and a huge pile of receipts.

The key benefits of dashboards are the following:

  1. Receipts corresponding to expenses under each report are made available on one screen for quick reference and verification.
  2. Real-time information provides insight into the current state of business operations. Also, having expense data in a single place can help finance teams establish future expense budgets.
  3. Custom reports dive into details, who is spending, how much and in which categories.

They also highlight trends. For example, how long it takes to approve an expense report, the status of reports, and where they are in the approval cycle.

Dashboards are a key element of almost all expense management software. They help finance teams identify areas where they can gain efficiencies, tighten spending controls for cost savings and strengthen the bottom line. It’s important to find a software that covers all the key data you will require.

2. Easy to use mobile apps

Submitting an expense report has always been one of the dreaded chores faced by employees. It’s a painstaking and laborious task that creates a monthly flood of paperwork for admin staff to process. Most online expense management software is compatible with smartphones. With the help of mobile apps, submitting and reviewing expense reports can be a fast, efficient and seamless experience.

Additionally, most software provides the option to set up custom reminders and notifications to remind employees and approvers of any pending tasks. Plus, with cloud storage, the finance team can easily access digital receipts and expense reports on any device at any time.

3. Continuous compliance

Expense management software can help companies stay on the right side of compliance with local, state and federal tax agencies. Companies can easily place expenses into categories, like office, travel and mileage, and tag them appropriately.

As soon as an expense report is submitted, the software checks it for policy violations in real-time. It flags suspicious reports and notifies the approvers about the breach immediately at the source of expense creation. This ensures you don’t get into trouble with the tax authorities.

4. Integrated corporate credit card management platform

With modern automated management systems, employees have access to a prepaid corporate spending card that is directly integrated into the system. This helps detect and avoid any bottlenecks or the chance of fraud and misuse. Automated credit card reconciliation matches expense reports entries with card statements and prompts in case of mismatches or duplicates.

Recommended reading: Virtual Cards: Protection, Prevention and Payments

5. Compatible with any accounting software

Having an integration-friendly software further helps to further simplify and streamline your expense management process. It is essential that you look into the possible integrations that a particular expense management software provides, to understand the pain-points they can address.

Your expense management software comes with a defined set of challenges it can overcome. Yet many challenges may still remain unresolved. These challenges can be overcome with integration with your preferred ERP, accounting and other software to help address specific problems.

6. Multi-currency functionality

Whether it’s business trips abroad, offices in different areas, or billing foreign clients, automated expenses software can easily process and report on different currencies. This is an important feature to consider throughout the entire process up to and including reimbursement.

7. Automated workflows

An online expense management software gives employers the freedom to customize their policies and approval workflows as desired. With a well-defined automated approval workflow, expense reports are approved and processed like clockwork. Saving your team and your business time and money.

8. Automatic categorization of expenses and allocation of cost center data

The entire premise for wanting an automated expense management software is to automate and streamline certain aspects of expense management. With one click approvals on submitted expenses, approvers can just approve or reject expenses without wasting time on validating individual spends. Some expense management software also provide the option of customizing approval hierarchies with multi-level approvers, where required.

9. Automated tax calculation (VAT/GST)

Expense management software also delivers easily accessible electronic copies of reports and receipts, which are invaluable if the organization is audited. With automated processes, businesses can easily place expenses into categories, like office, travel and mileage, and tag them appropriately. The software will also be able to automatically calculate if some expenses are not tax-deductible.

10. Reporting functionality

The majority of company losses come from human error, or fraud. Expense management automation does away with both fraud and errors with integrated cross-checks and controls.

Employees often delay reporting expenses simply because the process of maintaining receipts and filling out expense forms manually is very tedious. On the other hand, reporting expenses on an online expense reporting software is extremely quick and straightforward.

Additionally, it allows you to identify and prevent mistakes and abuses before they take place, preventing that cash from ever unnecessarily leaving your account.

Automated expense management also improves policy compliance as well as employee knowledge of your policies. And if a fraudster knows they are likely to get caught, they will think twice before submitting that fake receipt.

Recommended reading: How to Future-proof Your Organisation Through Your Expense Management Software

Automated Expense Reporting

Volve’s Expense Management Solution

Volve’s corporate card comes with an automated expense management solution and reporting tool. This enables all functions of business to capture productivity growth potential from time-cost reductions, greater accuracy, increased visibility and control.

From sales to human resources to finance operations, management can look forward to shifting resources away from repetitive manual practices. People can focus on realizing strategic goals that create more value and deliver higher returns.

Experience how one single solution can improve accountability, accuracy and efficiency. Test drive Volve today free for 30 days.

Jey Darby
Author
Jey is passionate about automation in payments, expenses, and back-office processes. Jey inherently understands that clients are the most valuable assets an organization can have and is driven by the unrelenting pursuit of customer-driven focus, ideas, and user experience. Jey loves the beach, meditation, learning new piano chords, and reading Voltaire.

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