With vendors like Square and Paypal flooding the retail market, most receipts will soon be a thing of past. But getting rid of them completely is still in the distant future. Until your favorite cabbie becomes as tech savvy as your local Apple Store, you’ll still be playing the monthly find-that-receipt-game if you want to get your business expenses reimbursed.
So how can you make expense reimbursement a painless exercise? Short of hiring someone to manage the process for you, the key will be to pick the right expense management software for your workflow. Insperity, Concur and others are complex behemoths for large companies. But there are plenty of tools out there for individual road warriors and salespeople like you.
When choosing your software, think about some of the biggest hurdles you face to getting those pesky expenses submitted. Most of the options you’re looking at can and will help with some of these basic functions.
(1) Organizing your receipts:
Even if you remember to pick up the paper receipt from the dinner table, do you always remember to jot down that note on the back with the client details? If you don’t, you could spend hours poring through your calendar at the end of the month to match receipts to the right project or client.
New expense management software tools like Nexonia, ExpenseCloud and Concur come with mobile apps for your smartphone. These handy tools usually let you take a photograph of the receipt and automatically designate it to the appropriate file. Sum Total, Certify, Nexonia and a few others even integrate your credit card information into the programs, so that they can pull expense information automatically from your statements.
(2) Requesting approval and remembering to submit:
Getting the date into a file is okay, but you also need to run the complete report for approval before you get your money back. ExpenseCloud and Expensify talk directly to your Quickbooks or other accounting software. This makes it easy to run reports or send expenses directly to your billing departments. Nexonia even allows you to build in your company’s approval process so that it becomes automated.
Most of today’s expense management tools are cloud-based. That means that not only do you have access to the spreadsheets from anywhere, but so does your assistant or your manager. Changes, updates and approvals can be run from anywhere.
With all these bells and whistles built in, how do you choose which tool to use? Though Concur’s products tend to be the default choice, there are 30-40 other tools on the market at the moment, any of which may be a better fit for your particular process. The major differences between the top five players are laid out below. Prialto recommends Certify, Concur or Nexonia for those trying to leverage their assistant to help them get expenses done. We currently use Nexonia to support expense management for our own internal executives.
That said, adopting any of these tools should make it much easier for you to get your expenses paid quickly. So pick one and get going on filing your reimbursements in 2013!