Choosing the right expense management tool for your organisation can be an expensive and time-intensive commitment. When you consider the benefits of using an automated solution, you will soon realise that finding the right vendor to meet your company's needs is worth the effort.
The time and budget invested in automated software is minimal compared to the hassle of sifting through and controlling each expense manually. It is also nothing compared to the savings you can enjoy with an automated solution.
Finding the right travel and expense management software is a process, and here are 5 steps you can follow to make it easier on yourself.
Assess your expense management needs and goals
First, determine what are the needs within your company and what challenges you are trying to overcome by investing in an expense management software.
If you have high expense costs, these may stem from the challenges of manual expense processing:
- Wasted time and money for both the organisation and its employees;
- Ineffective compliance due to an increased risk of fraud and human error;
- Difficulties in analysing your costs and seeing the bigger picture;
- Poor business decisions due to irrelevant or incorrect data.
These issues can all be solved with the right automated expense management tool.
Be sure to involve the most important stakeholders in the early stages of your search. They will provide you with a more rounded perspective and allow you to take all important aspects into consideration.
Identify and decide on the most important features
With your internal assessment in mind, make a list of the requirements your expense management solution must meet. Clearly differentiate between "must haves" and "nice to haves", and go from there.
The next step is to assess each expense related process you have in place and identify pain points and what works well for you in your current setup.
- Prioritise the user experience of employees who will most often be using the solution; generally employees submitting expenses and controllers;
- Ensure that your new solution can be integrated with other technologies and software you use, such as your ERP or accounting software;
- Take into consideration user adoption time and whether employee training may be necessary for them to use the tool most effectively;
- Focus on efficiency to save your employees' time with a solution that can easily be accessed on mobile and has a function to quickly scan and submit receipts.
Determine the project parameters
When defining the most important requirements of an expense management tool, keep in mind these three parameters: available budget, technological capacity and available time.
Regarding budget, remember that an automated expense management solution will help you reduce costs over the medium to long run, including the hidden costs of business trips. Consider a short term financial effort for a series of long term cost-related benefits.
Also keep in mind any technological constraints you may have. Ensure that your IT department is involved from the start as well as any other relevant providers. The more data you can centralise into your expense management system, the better. HR software, ERPs, accounting tools, company cards and more can all be integrated with your expense tool.
Select a Project Committee
Involve all your critical stakeholders in the expense tool selection process. These may include members from IT, Finance, Accounting, Training, Performance Management and HR, to name a few.
Take the opportunity to request a demo from your top selection of providers to see whether their solution is a good fit for your company. When testing, involve your committee and a selection of key users to provide you feedback - good user experience is crucial. These team members should all be able to provide you with their own perspective on the tool, giving you better insight on the challenges and opportunities a new tool presents.
Compare your needs to available solutions
With all the information in hand, your Project Committee can now compare your company's needs to the available expense management systems from your top selection of vendors.
- Is entering and approving expenses fast and easy to do?
- Does the tool support expense report compliance around the world?
- Are you notified of policy violations?
- Can receipts be easily scanned and submitted?
- What are the data and reporting capabilities of the solution?
- Is the mobile app designed to meet your employees' needs?
- Is it available for different mobile devices and operating systems?
- Can the look and feel of the application be customised?
- In what language is the tool available?
- Are automated control functions available?
- Can partner solutions (ERP, HR, OBT, etc.) be integrated with the expense management tool?
- Are credit cards and e-invoices integrated with the tool?
- Can other solutions be integrated with the tool?
- Are updated exchange rates automatically available?
It is crucial for you to ensure that you choose the right enterprise expense management software and that all your employees are comfortable using it regularly.
For a more in-depth look at how to find the right expense management software for your organisation, download our e-book "Writing an effective expense management RFP".
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