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How to choose the right expense management software for your business

Written by
Galih Gumelar
Last Modified on
June 6, 2024

As businesses increasingly turn to technology to streamline their operations, the importance of adopting expense management software is becoming more apparent. According to a survey by Emburse, nearly half of finance professionals (49%) reported using automation to manage expenses in 2023 - a significant increase from 37% in 2017. This trend highlights the growing reliance on technology solutions to enhance financial operations.

If you are considering leveraging expense management software to improve your company's financial operations, it is crucial to choose a platform that aligns with your business needs. However, selecting the right software can be daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with what to look for. This hesitation is common among businesses that recognize the potential benefits but lack the necessary knowledge to make an informed decision.

In this article, you will learn how to choose expense management software and what factors you should consider to ensure you choose a system that not only meets your current needs but can also adapt to the evolving needs of your business.

Why is expense management software important for businesses?

Simply put, expense management software is a digital tool for streamlining various financial activities within a business, including tracking, reporting, analyzing, and controlling expenses. This software solves three critical challenges in the expense management process: manual workload, lack of budget control, and lack of spend visibility.

Without effective solutions, companies face serious financial implications that can jeopardize their long-term sustainability.

For example, manual processes such as processing invoices and recording transactions are not only time-consuming, but also highly susceptible to human error. Continued inaccuracies in these areas can lead to inaccurate financial data and therefore incorrect financial reports or forecasts.

By automating these processes, expense management software not only saves time but also improves the accuracy of financial data. This improvement is crucial as it helps companies make informed business decisions.

In addition, companies often struggle with expense fraud as they are unable to control or have a complete overview of their expenses. However, with the implementation of expense management software, expenses can be tracked and monitored in real-time. This gives companies a clearer insight into spending patterns, helping to prevent fraud and ensure financial integrity.

What you need to do before choosing expense management software

You have now understood why expense management software has become an important tool for business operations, and this has led you to believe that you really need it for your business.

However, you should think twice before using expense management software because you need to have clear reasons why you should use such software so that you can make the most of it.

To ensure that the software you choose truly benefits your business, you need to ask yourself the following questions: What expense management problems are you trying to solve? And what are your current business needs?

Identify the problems you want to solve

A good expense management platform must be able to solve your expense management problems. Therefore, you also need to identify several spend management issues that you are currently facing so that you do not have to deal with them anymore.

You can start identifying them by closely assessing your current expense management workflow and examining key processes such as the reimbursement process and expense tracking systems. This assessment will help you identify recurring issues, inefficiencies or bottlenecks in these areas.

By identifying these issues, you can better understand which features are most critical to your needs. For example, if delayed reimbursements are a common problem, you may want to choose software with optimized processing capabilities.

Understand your business needs

When choosing an expense management platform, it's important to understand the needs of your business in relation to its size. This is because the size of your business greatly influences your expectations and requirements of such a platform.

Large corporations, which incur a larger volume of expenses and manage a more extensive range of expense items, typically require software that is equipped with advanced features and functionality. These tools are designed to manage and control large financial transactions, making them ideal for larger companies.

For example, large organizations often struggle with managing travel expenses and SaaS subscriptions and therefore look for platforms that are robust enough to effectively control these specific spend categories.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), on the other hand, typically have fewer and less complex business needs to fulfill. Therefore, they benefit from expense management software that offers simpler, more straightforward features. These companies rarely have extensive travel expenses or manage numerous SaaS subscriptions, so they prefer software solutions that meet their immediate and modest requirements.

This difference in requirements emphasizes the importance of choosing an expense management solution that is aligned with the scope of your business, so that the software not only meets current needs but also complements your financial management strategies.

Once you have identified the reasons why you need such a solution, you can begin the process of selecting an expense management software. The next question is: 

What should you look for when choosing the right software for your business?

You need to keep in mind that every company has its own preferences based on its needs and priorities. However, in general, companies consider the following factors when choosing expense management software.

Integration

You need to make sure that your expense management software can integrate with your accounting and ERP software so that you can automatically record expenses and close your books faster.

You can also check if the expense management software can seamlessly integrate seamlessly with other financial tools such as payroll services and travel booking platforms to streamline your expense management processes.

Customization

You can also check whether a platform's expense management system offers customizable workflows that are tailored to your expense policies. For example, if you are implementing a multi-level approval workflow for reimbursement approval, you should ensure that this workflow can also be integrated into the expense management system.

Customizable expense management software will prove beneficial in the future as your company continues to grow, as it can easily adapt to organizational changes and employee size. This means you will not have to buy new software as your business grows.

Pricing model

Expense management software providers usually offer different pricing options to suit your budget. More expensive expense management packages usually offer a wider range of features than their cheaper counterparts.

However, the best choice for your business should not be based on price alone. Consider your specific business needs, the size of your company, and the number of employees. These factors are crucial in choosing the right solution.

For example, a larger company with many employees may require a more robust system that can handle complex expense reports and approval hierarchies. In contrast, a smaller company might opt for a less expensive system with fewer features to meet their needs.

Security

An expense management platform must have robust security standards as it stores sensitive data. Therefore, you need to ensure that the software implements strong security measures such as encryption, multi-factor authentication, and data backup.

Features

You can also check whether the features offered by the expense management platforms really meet the needs of your business.

Generally, companies always look for these features when choosing the ideal software for their business.

Dashboard

A good expense management software should have a user-friendly dashboard that is not only intuitive but also makes it easy for you to access financial data. Automated and multi-level approval system

A good expense management software offers an automated and multi-layer approval process that can be adapted to your expense policy processes. With this feature, you can flexibly set budget and expense limits for different teams and designate budget owners so that you have full control over your expenses.

Receipt collection

A notable feature of modern expense management software is the ability to process digital receipts, a feature that streamlines the process of submitting and storing receipts. This feature, allows users to easily capture receipts and upload them directly into the system, greatly increasing the convenience and efficiency of expense reporting.

Mobile application

A good expense management software should be accessible via a mobile app so your employees can upload receipts, request reimbursements, and request additional funds anytime, anywhere.

Expense analysis and reports

Many expense management software now includes powerful analytics tools that provide real-time reports and insights into your expense data. This feature is invaluable for several reasons, as it improves your ability to monitor expenses, find savings opportunities, and make informed financial decisions.

Conclusion

In conclusion, choosing the right expense management software is critical to turning your investment into real value for your business. The platform you choose should not only solve your current expense management problems, but also align closely with your specific business needs. This strategic fit will ensure that every penny you spend on the software makes a positive contribution to your business operations.

It is also important to consider the scalability and adaptability of the software. A good expense management system will support your financial operations at every stage of your business's growth and be flexible enough to accommodate changes in your business structure or strategy. Choosing a platform that can grow with your business will ensure that your expense management processes remain efficient and compliant.

Aspire as the right expense management solution for your business

If you're looking for expense management software that meets all your needs for functionality, customizability, and ease of use, Aspire could be just the solution for you.

With Aspire Expense Management, you can set budgets at the team, project, or client level and transfer them to an unlimited number of virtual cards, allowing your employees to spend money according to the approved budget. You can also monitor your employees' spending in real time from a single, intuitive dashboard, giving you a complete overview of where the money has been spent and who has made the purchases.

Aspire also helps you streamline claims management, as your employees can submit claims by simply uploading receipts into the system. At the same time, you can review, approve, and pay these claims from a single dashboard.

You can also synchronize card payments, employee claims and even photos of uploaded receipts with your accounting software. This integration allows you to reduce manual errors and close the books twice as fast.

Keen to learn more about how Aspire can help you improve your organization’s financial operations and streamline workflows?Talk to our sales team today, or sign up for free to get started.

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About the author
Galih Gumelar
is a seasoned writer specialising in macroeconomics, business, finance and politics. With a writing history at CNN Indonesia, The Jakarta Post, and various other reputed organisations, Galih leverages his broad range of experiences to create insightful resources for those wanting to start a business.
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