7 Must-Have Expense Management Features

3 min read
Jul 6, 2020

Managing travel expenses is never easy, no matter the size of your company or number of employees. Which is why your expense management system should include a set of features to help you overcome the challenges related to business travel - probably your main source of new business and long-term partnerships.

Not all expense management solutions are created equally, and not all businesses have the same needs, but there are certainly some must-have features that you should look for when choosing a solution for your company.

1. Integration with your ERP system and other business tools

Integration with a selection of your preferred tools and solutions is the key to having an efficient, accurate and reliable expense management system. A vendor should be able to adapt its solution to your company needs and not the other way around. Integration of your travel management software with your ERP system is one of the most important features, but there are also other tools that should be seamlessly integrated. This includes your preferred online booking tools and other travel apps that improve your employees' experience while away on a business trip.

Combining your ERP solution data with that from your expense management system allows you to make more informed decisions based on valuable insights. It provides you the status of your company accounts, prevents you from having cash flow problems and details where you have succeeded in saving vs. where improvements can still be made with your company's expense management.

2. Automated approval processes

Purchases and reimbursement claims are often delayed because of the manual travel expense approval process. This is not only frustrating for you and your employees, but it also costs your company money and uses a lot of time that could otherwise be spent on more important tasks. This is why pre-approval and expense approval automation is essential when it comes to improving expense management.

With automated pre-approval, your expense management system allows you to enforce your corporate travel and expense policies, make business trip acquisitions in advance and have better control on employee spending without affecting the quality of travel. Automating expense approval improves the experience of business travellers because claim validation is transparent and happens at the point of receipt entry.

3. Mobile expense application for business travellers

One of the best ways to increase expense report compliance with your corporate policy and employee satisfaction during business trips is to offer a user-friendly mobile app for all your travellers to snap receipts, submit expense reports and receive claim approval immediately.

With a cloud based application that is integrated with your expense management system, it is easy to have a real time view of all your expenses and provide the support your employees need while they are away. You can install the app on any mobile device, phone or tablet that your business travellers use. The positive changes in employee behaviour and compliance will rapidly be visible in your bottom line.

4. Receipt scanning and digitisation

Many travel and expense management problems are generated by the fact that your employees must manually process and check piles of receipts. This is not only frustrating, but also a waste of resources that causes inefficiency and exposure to legal risks.

All this fuss can be eliminated with Optical Character Recognition (OCR) integrated in your expense management app, a technology that allows receipt scanning and digitisation. An OCR solution will convert the text on paper to digital text that your employees can edit and works for both scanned documents and images.

5. Support for digital payments

If your company provides employees with a corporate credit card to use during business trips, it can be much easier to track expenses with credit card integration. The expense management system can send alerts in case of suspicious transactions or other risks. The vendor you choose should be able to implement integrations with various card issuers.

6. Availability in various languages and currencies

When business travel is crucial for your company, having a global expense management solution that ensures support for various languages and currencies is a must-have. While on a business trip, your employees should only focus on achieving business goals, not worry about exchange rate calculation or figuring out certain terms in the language of the country they are visiting. You should look for a solution that allows you to create a custom dictionary and ensures a daily update of exchange rates from around the world.

7. Expense software reporting platform

Having an efficient expense reporting tool means having more time for the tasks and activities that are really important to your company's success. When multiple expense related processes are automated, it is easier to submit and track receipts, your cost per expense report will drastically decrease and your visibility on spending will increase considerably. Having a reporting feature that you can count on will improve the way travel budgets are used and will decrease travel expenses without compromising on travel quality.

As you determine your company's needs, you might discover that you need more advanced features, among with the ones described above, to help you improve expense management. A trusted vendor uses leading technology to help you define exactly the features you need and help you build a custom made solution.