Business travelers frequently complain about always filing their travel and expense claims either on Excel sheets or utilizing their manager’s old and clunky solution. This process can be time-consuming, which makes it easy to put off, which ultimately delays the reimbursement process. Finance departments are also tired of having to process thousands of expense claims every month manually.
So, it is high time to start searching for a new automated expense management solution. Given the variety of suppliers providing T&E management technology, what should organizations look for in their next solution? While not every company has the same needs, there a few common factors that every organization must consider when acquiring a new system.
- Flexible and Scalable Solution
Someone who has replaced a business-wide software will tell you that it is not something they want to do again. Hence, to prevent this, it is crucial to search for an expense solution that works for today, and for your company’s future requirements as you grow and enter new markets. The need to manage multiple languages and currencies is a given, but it’s beyond that. Is the system set up so it can manage the tax jurisdictions in markets where you will need to utilize it? Can the solution support languages that your administrators need?
Scalability isn’t only a globalization problem. As organizations grow, their methods often become more complicated. The same thing applies to expenses as well. Unless you are planning on never growing, you require an automated expense management software that can be easily configured to fit your business needs- without huge consulting fees every time.
2. Easy to Use
Unlike other specialized expense software like an accounting system, which is used by a certain team, expense software is used across the entire company. However, unlike many other business-wide apps like Excel or Word, many workers may only leverage it once every month. Hence, ease of use is a crucial factor, or it could lead to headaches for team members and administrators.
Expense management software should be easy to use for the end-users to enter expenses, both on the road as well as in the workplace. Most probably the easiest way to do this is having a system that does not need logging into the account- is to simply take a snapshot of the receipt and email it directly into the system, or forward receipts like hotel booking costs.
But, if users still need to enter transaction details such as amount, date, and much more to generate an expense, then it is still a cumbersome process. Hence, search for a solution with good data parsing and OCR capabilities, so that it can read receipt images and pull out transaction details like vendor, amount, date, and drop this into your claim along with the image directly.
3. Mobile Capabilities
As a massive number of expenses are incurred on the road, several users of online expense management solutions spend too much time out of office. They need to be able to submit their expenses from anywhere, on any smart device, to be reimbursed fast and prevent credit card interest and charges.
So, a travel and expense management system need to work effectively on a mobile device as much as on a desktop or a laptop. The first thought may be to search for software with Android or iOS applications. But, it’s not the best approach. Firstly, a few organizations still have some BlackBerry users, who’ll be left out from utilizing the mobile app route. Secondly, apps rarely look the same or provide the same functionality as the full version.
There can often be differences between various versions, which can lead to a significant headache for support and training. Especially for companies with BYOD policy. Search for a cloud-based expense management solution, which can be easily accessed through any browser, and provides the same look, feel, as well as functionality regardless of the device you are using.
4. Business Card Integration
Offering business credit cards to travelers embarking on business trips enhances spending transparency, minimizes fraudulent expenses, and prevents overspending. Your manager can set spending limits for cards so that every traveler receives a card with an assigned budget.
By integrating your travel and expense management system with your credit card supplier, you can enable direct feeds or automated bank feeds – card transactions are pulled from the supported bank to your T&E management system automatically.
Now your staff can easily convert card transactions into expenses with a few clicks instead of re-entering expenses. Plus, it makes reconciliation easy since you no longer have to spend time manually matching transactions. Card transactions get matched automatically with the corresponding expense recorded in the software.
This isn’t an exhaustive list and every organization will have their specific business requirements, but these four factors do provide a good starting point for your T&E management selection process.