How to Evaluate Expense Management Software

Is your company wasting time manually processing expense reports? Or maybe your employees are avoiding their expense reports due to frustrating, outdated software?  According to Forrester research, business travel expenses are one of the most difficult operating expenses to control due to the tedious details and lack of visibility.  Here are 5 recommendations – plus 31 detailed use cases – to help businesses evaluate expense management software.

The Challenges of Manual Expense Management

Have you ever manually filed an expense report? Let’s walk through the process:

This tedious process creates numerous challenges:  wasted time, inconvenience and confusion for employees, noncompliance, and a lack of visibility.

>> Related: How Better UX Saves 15% of Time Managing T&E Reports <<

On top of all of that wasted time, when expense reports are processed manually they can cost over $26 per report. If your company has 50 employees who submit the average 1.5 expense reports per month, it would cost your company $23,967 per year simply to process those reports.

Outdated Software is Also Costly

Many antiquated business expense apps claim to automate the process, when in actuality they are only improving a portion of the experience. There is also expense management software available that was built to support the expense management needs of large enterprise companies. These systems are extremely nuanced and end up creating a frustrating user experience for most businesses who don’t need such heavy, complicated software.

How to Choose the Expense Management Software Your Business Needs

So what is the solution? Modern, streamlined expense management software that is comprehensive, automated, and intuitive.  Here’s how to evaluate expense management software by:

1. Balance the needs of your stakeholders.

A bar chart with the words benefits three year.

When tools or processes are slow or cumbersome, employees simply forgo formal channels. On average, employees strictly following company T&E policies spend 20% less than nonadherent employees.  Convenience for employees is the X factor to improving compliance. When creating an expense report is simple and there’s the incentive of timely reimbursements, employees are motivated to get them done.

>> Related: Why Orgs Consistently Struggle with T&E Policy Adherence <<

2. Automate as much as possible.

Automated expense management saves time, minimizes human error, creates a better approval flow, and gets money back to your employees faster.

3. Increase compliance with intuitive and mobile-friendly expense capture.

For successful adoption and use of business expense software, it’s really important to select one that supports both mobile and desktop devices.

4. Incentivize employees with faster reimbursements.

In addition to providing employees with a simple process for capturing and submitting expenses, it’s important to process reimbursements quickly.

5. Get real-time visibility into expenses.

Your expense management software should provide more accurate and timely expense data, which in turn makes it easier to control costs and achieve compliance.

31 Use Cases to Help Evaluate Expense Management Software

How 3 Companies Transformed Their Expense Management with TravelBank

Replacing Excel saved major time and created a process that could scale with their team.

Prior to using TravelBank, the then 65-person FiscalNote team was using Microsoft Excel as their main expense reporting tool. “With Excel, there’s a ton of manual effort to reach out for approvals to department heads and add the expenses to payroll,” says Marshall Thomason, FiscalNote’s Controller. “Our main goal was to automate a lot of these redundant tasks that we were doing by hand with prior inefficient processes. It took us six times longer to work with Excel than TravelBank,” says Marshall.

Read the full FiscalNote story >

Employees who used to rather skip reimbursements than file their reports, no longer have to waste time.

Jumpcut employees previously used Expensify to keep track of travel expenses and submit for reimbursements. “We found it to be a very poor user experience and multiple employees were complaining about Expensify. Many people hated the clunky platform, specifically how time consuming it was, and the complicated UI/UX. Some employees even chose to skip receiving reimbursements, and just lose the money, in order to avoid using the platform altogether,” explained Jennifer Leshkevich, former director of people and culture at Jumpcut.

Read the full Jumpcut story.

Reconciling the AMEX used to take three days. Now monthly reporting is done in less than a day.

OnRamp was looking for a better way to handle expense reporting. “At the time, we were using Excel spreadsheets and paper receipts, and it was definitely not worth it,” says Joel Martin, Senior Manager of Customer Operations. In fact, their analog approach to tracking and reporting was a pain point for the entire team. “It was really time consuming for me,” adds Sherrie Atkinson, OnRamp’s Accounts Payable Lead. “Sometimes it took up to three days to handle monthly reporting. I kept thinking, ‘There has to be a better way of doing this.’”

TravelBank helped streamline work for Accounts Payable. “Beforehand, there was so much stress involved in trying to get the American Express bill reconciled each month and get expense descriptions clear enough for auditors,” says Sherrie. “TravelBank has sped things up so much that I’m able to get monthly reporting done in less than a day now. Plus, a lot of our staff are saying it’s made their life a lot easier. It’s been a great tool for us.”

Read the full OnRamp story.