Monitoring cash flow is a crucial function for every small business. Maximizing the available resources means knowing where the money goes and how effectively outbound funds are used. Fortunately, small business owners can choose from an array of expense management software platforms to help them stay on top of expenses.
If your small business is in the market for expense management software, these four options offer a good mix of features and value.
4 Small Business Expense Management Platforms
Certify includes QuickBooks integration service, a handy feature that gives small business operators the ability to easily move information—categories, department codes, etc.—between the Certify platform and QuickBooks, which keeps everything up-to-date. When expense reports are ready for review, Cerify alerts managers via email, and they can access the system from any device with a browser and an active Internet connection.
You can create policies that cap expense limits using a range of criteria. A reporting module offers a way to review expenses across multiple employees, which lets you quickly spot spending trends and potential problem areas. Upload receipts from your desktop, email or fax them directly into the platform, capture them electronically, or even send them via text message. The mobile app makes data entry easy while on the road, and it also provides an offline mode so that employees can make good use of flight time.
Pricing: Starts at $8 per user per month, 30-day free trial.
You can upload transactions conducted on a company credit card directly to ExpensePath for reconciliation. And you can also export data out of the system to a number of common accounting platforms, including QuickBooks and NetSuite. Policy management includes the option to quickly apply policies to employees based on their department.
Administrators and employees can access the system from any device with an Internet connection. Mobile applications (capable of working offline when necessary) are available for Android, BlackBerry and iPhone. As for receipts, you can capture them with any of the mobile applications, upload them from a desktop, or email them directly into the platform.
Pricing: Monthly per-user pricing starts at $5, though ExpensePath also offers rates for non-profit companies as well as usage-based tiers. Small businesses with employees who may not use the system on a regular basis can contact the organization for more information on per-usage pricing, which could save them money over the per-user monthly fees. A free trial is also available.
Keepek lets small businesses customize expense categories to fit their needs. It can also automatically track taxes paid on purchases, letting you claim the appropriate business deductions without duplicating efforts. Keepek also lets you set policies to flag expenses that fall outside an employee's spending level or if a submitted expense doesn't have a corroborating receipt.
Mobile apps for Android and Apple provide mobile users an easy way to take photos of their receipts for upload. The application will even pull data directly from the photo scan into the system. When employees submit those expense reports, the software attaches pictures of the receipts so managers can review the details. Need to export data? Keepek does it in either PDF or spreadsheet format.
Pricing: Starts at $5 per user per month. The free 30-day trial does not require you to enter a credit card number.
SutiExpense's custom expense categories let you track and evaluate expenses with a high degree of detail. Once you submit an expense report in SutiExpense, it's automatically routed for approval. You can customize approval workflows to accommodate individuals' roles as well as approval amount authorizations. When an approver is away, you can configure alternate delegates to keep the process moving.
SutiExpense lets you finely tune policies with options to create rules based on location (for example, a per diem allowance for one city may not apply somewhere else). You can apply different rules based on the individual's role, meaning managers and employees can have different limitations without constantly needing to secure new authorizations.
The system supports uploading credit card statements, which makes it easy to add transactions to reports. Send receipts to the system by email, scanning, and webcam. Employees can even add comments to the receipts if they choose. Android and Apple applications provide mobile access to the platform and for uploading receipts.
Pricing: starts at $5.95 per user per month.
Julie Knudson is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in technology magazines including BizTech, Processor, and For The Record. She has covered technology issues for publications in other industries, from foodservice to insurance, and she also writes a recurring column in Integrated Systems Contractor magazine.
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