A Quick Introduction to Expense Reporting Software

Expenses (sadly!) are an unavoidable aspect of business. Lunches…airplane tickets…hotels…rental cars…these things add up.

And it all must be accounted for.

Enter expense reporting software – a simple, online solution that helps streamline the recording and tracking of your pesky, but critical, expenses.

The broad strokes: expense reporting software comes in, typically, two different delivery methods – either installed on-premise or hosted via cloud technology (expense reporting software hosted on the cloud is an example of the Software as a Service, or SaaS, subscription method. More on SaaS here).

Expense reporting software, as I briefly mentioned above, simplifies the management of expenses. How a software solution facilitates this can, of course, differ slightly between different software solutions, but the basic functions remain the same: users of a respective software upload all of their receipts, plane tickets and meal purchases into the system where a manager can quickly see and ultimately approve the expenses.

Well-designed, intuitive expense reporting software will allow users to upload a picture of their receipt (taken on a smartphone) into they system, eliminating the need to manually input the data on the receipt.

The benefits

Using expense reporting software will yield numerous benefits to a business. Chief among those benefits is the increased visibility of company spending (delivered in real time). That visibility will give management a detailed look at who and which department is spending what, which will give executives a better sense of how to budget and forecast for the future.

Furthermore, greater visibility into company spending will promote better adherence the spending policies of the business in question (if such policies have been designed). Simply put, if employees know their spending is being evaluated immediately (and constantly) by management, those employees are more likely to ensure they are following policies.

Features of expense reporting software

The following list, via Software Advice, details the features (and functions) that expense reporting software should offer. If you’re on the hunt for software yourself, make sure the options detailed below are on your list.

Accounting integration: Many systems integrate with popular accounting systems such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics and Quicken, allowing for easy export of reports and eliminating the need for manual data entry.

Expense compliance: Helps enforce corporate spending policies by flagging expense overages, duplicate expenses, missing documentation and so forth.

Approval workflow: Streamlines the review and approval process by enabling managers to configure workflows according to expense type and other variables.

Analytics reporting: Customizable reports help forecast and budget for future expenses, identify spending trends and highlight cost savings opportunities.

Automatic expense import: Connects to personal and corporate accounts and credit cards, allowing users to pick and choose charges to add to expense reports.

Electronic receipt capture: Enables users to scan, email or take a picture of receipts for easy submission.

Direct deposit: Links directly to employee bank accounts for quick and easy expense reimbursement.

Mobile app: Allows employees to enter expenditures, snap and submit photos of receipts or edit existing expenses via their smartphone or tablet.