Features to Look For In Your Expense Management Software
Looking for your next expense management software?
As you evaluate solutions with your list of needs and requirements, be sure to understand what features are available across platforms. This article shares a list of features and functionality to look for. With each, evaluate how they’re best implemented and how they work in the solution.
Submitting and Approving Expenses
Speed and Convenience
An expense management solution should speed up the submission and reimbursement of expenses. This requires a good user experience for how expenses are created and approved. Look for features and automations like:
- Mobile apps
- Linking personal credit cards
- Automated expense creation
- Tagging expenses with custom fields
- Simplified travel expenses and booking
Workflow and Organization
The expense management solution you select should allow you to customize your approval workflow and the structure of your organization’s data. This gives you the flexibility to meet your goals. Look for:
- Ability to group employees by department, teams, or even projects
- Approval hierarchies
- Audit trail of expense submissions, approvals, and changes
- Ability to add non-employee users
Is your company using or planning to start using corporate cards?
Your solution should provide a central view into every issued card, with the ability to see unexpensed transactions before month end. Ideally, it also provides card issuing — allowing companies to issue virtual and physical cards with preset rules that draw from company funds.
Reimbursements and Managing Cash Flow
The expense management solution you choose should make the reimbursement process easier for both the finance team and employees.
Real time systems can initiate reimbursements as often as you approve individual expenses — meaning employees can get quickly reimbursed. A batch reporting system will reimburse expenses in a lump sum when the entire batch of expenses is approved. Download the guide to learn more about real time versus batch reporting systems.
Expense Policy Compliance
The majority of issues causing expenses to be rejected are often cleared up with a simple question or additional information. Use a solution that makes communications more efficient. Look for functionality that help you communicate in-app:
The ability to automate is another benefit of using software to manage expenses. A solution’s system-triggered rules can allow you to catch issues before expenses are even submitted and set up card issuing without a hitch.
Look for two types of rules with this capability:
- Policy rules
- Approval rules
Your expense management platform should provide you with a place to store your written expense policy, while helping you implement rules and communicate about specific expenses.
Accounting Software Sync and Data Export
Accrual vs Cash Sync
The ability to choose between syncing expenses to your accounting software, in either cash or accrual method, is another stark difference between real time expense reporting and batch reporting solutions. Only real time solutions offer this because it requires expenses to be indexed individually.
Documentation and Support
Before you purchase, comb through the support documentation. Does it seem helpful? Is it easy to understand? Read through any FAQs.
Is the solution being upfront in helping customers and making them aware of issues? Your solution should communicate well with its customers — that could be you and your team on the receiving end.
Reporting and Analytics
Select an expense management solution that gives you the best access to information, in a way that lets you provide context and tell a story about topics such as return on marketing spend, customer acquisition costs, and spend by project.
A real time expense reporting solution will index expenses individually, storing data in individual fields, to give you the ability to analyze and use your data. This is what will allow you to pivot your company spend data to add context to strategic decisions.
Download our buyer’s guide for the step-by-step process of choosing your expense management solution.