How to Choose Expense Management Software
It’s 2018. Business has been slow to catch up with the consumer technology revolution we now take for granted. We have gadgets in our home that listen, talk and even laugh at us, but at work we’re drowning in paperwork and scrambling around looking for lost receipts in a shoe box next to the stationary cupboard. It’s time to bring the office up to date, and a great way to start is by adopting a future-ready expense management software package.
Choosing Expense Management Software
If you’re just about to take a first dip into the world of expense management software, the first thing you’ll notice is just how much choice there is out there. The key variables to look out for are:
- Ease of use
The right package will depend on the unique characteristics – and future plans – of your company. We’ve put together a few key questions to reflect on, to make picking the right expense management software just that little bit easier.
What’s the Problem?
What’s not working about your current expense management system? Where are you most wasting time and money? What do people complain most about? Where are you struggling most to get your employees to comply?
* Make a list of the five key problems you want your expense management software to solve
What’s Happening Right Now?
Whether you have a tight expense policy or are doing things ad hoc, it’s really important that you accurately appraise your current expense processes.
Are your employees paying up front and getting reimbursed later? Do you use cash? Do you need cash? Do you buy online? Do you use purchase orders? What happens to receipts? How do your employees do expense reports? Who needs to review purchases before they happen? Who needs to review expense reports?
* Clarify which steps of the expense process you want the new software to replace, and which steps you will keep
Who’s Got Talent?
Companies vary enormously, not only in terms of organisational structure, but also in terms of the skills and job descriptions of each employee and department. Above all, employees are human, with unique personalities and talent profiles. The expense management software you choose needs to work for your business, no-one else’s.
Which will be the main department using the expense management software? Which individuals will have most contact with it? How evolved are their IT skills? How much support will they need to implement the new solution? How will your employees as a whole be able to interact with the software?
* Make sure you pick expense management software that’s fit for the person, not just the purpose
Where in the World?
Business just doesn’t fit within four walls anymore. Even if you or your employees aren’t physically travelling on the road (or across borders), flexible working policies mean that working from home is commonplace. And, if your employees are travelling overseas, it’s important to choose an expense management software that can cope with multiple currencies without skipping a beat.
Do your staff work remotely? Do they travel? If so, is it in the UK or beyond? Where do the majority of expenses take place? Where do your employees do their expense reports?
* Write down exactly where your new expense management software will need to be used
Is it Built to Last?
You need to be able to select expense management software that will work for tomorrow as well as today. While no-one can predict the future, now is the time to assess the different options based on robustness, scaleability and longevity. Remember that you’re adopting the new expense management software to save you time and money, so there’s no sense in going for a lightweight option that you’ll simply outgrow in a year or so.
Who’s behind the expense management software you’re considering? Who are the founders? Is the company well-funded? Who else uses them? Do they have clear plans to grow?
* Read about and behind the expense management software companies you’re considering
Costly thy Habit as thy Purse Can Buy
Shakespeare’s advice (above) is still fresh today. Prices vary and – particularly when it comes to implementing a SAAS solution such as expense management software – you need to be sure that your company can afford the operational expenditure on a long term basis.
How much do each of the expense management software packages cost? Are the differences in prices justified? Is it cheaper to pay annually? Are there discounts available at particular times – such as at the beginning of a new tax year?
* Prioritise features over prices, but set a clear threshold above which you’re not prepared to pay
Resistance to change is commonplace, and this is no less true in the corporate sphere. Whenever you implement a new solution, there’s a risk that your team will be slow to adopt it. Aside from the frustrations this causes (to both sides), there are also internal compliance issues, which could counteract the time-savings you’re trying to make by choosing expense management software. The best way to ensure compliance and get universal buy-in on a new process is to consult everyone concerned. This is really a listening exercise that will help you focus your mind on all the points we’ve mentioned in this blogpost. Your employees are a rich source of real-life information about processes in your company, and how they work.
Ask your employees what their pain points are when it comes to expense management. What do they feel most frustrated about? What do they hate most? What feels like the biggest waste of time? For those who might be reviewing expense reports, do they find they’re getting the insight they need to drive considerable savings? Or are expenses just being done by rote, missing out on key intelligence?
* Speak to the key internal stakeholders to make sure you choose expense management software that everyone will love
Treat the points in this article as a fact-finding mission. Consider all the questions carefully, and look beyond sales pitches and deep into the essence and quality of each expense management software package.
Whichever expense management software you choose, it will work seamlessly with Soldo’s spend control platform, with integrated Mastercard® cards, a web-based administration console, and an app for employees.
Find out more at soldo.com