8 options for taming small business expenses

8 options for taming small business expenses

Summary: Still messing around with paper receipts? There are plenty of cloud and mobile services that promise to make the expense management process far more efficient. Here are just a few.

TOPICS: SMBs, Cloud, Mobility

I have been barraged news about expense management software for small businesses in the past two weeks -- probably because it's the beginning of a new year, and everyone has taken a vow to be far more organized in the 12 months ahead. Blah, blah.

And also probably because I just wrote about how startup beverage company BodyArmor has automated its own management of this process, using ExpenseCloud.

In that vein, this post is dedicated to some more expense management tools that might be helpful during 2013, especially mobile and cloud resources.

Mobile wallet doubles as pre-paid expense card: First up is a new suite of Apple iOS and Android applications called PEX Mobile. While the name isn't all that descriptive (until you decipher the acronym), the software is essentially a mobile wallet that is a companion to a PEX prepaid expense card.  Small companies can use the service to create a pool of prepaid expenses for employees, which can now be managed via their smartphone. The company suggests that the service makes it easier to control expenses because employees have access to funds immediately while certain types of spending can be limited.  

Cloud accounting software adds direct expense import: Small businesses that use the FreshBooks application now have access to an online connector that links their accounts to incoming expense information from bank accounts. New information is uploaded daily, so that owners and managers have an ongoing snapshot into profit and losses – as well as unusual activity. The new feature accommodates multiple data feeds, including credit cards, checking accounts and PayPal. It imports the last 30 days to 90 days of data (depending on the policy of the account service providers).

Track expenses on the go: Another application that might be worth your attention is Abukai, which boasts integrations with QuickBooks, Xero Accounting and Concur. Like many of the mobile apps for this function, the software lets you take a picture of a receipt you might have been handed. It service processes that information and spits it into an expense report, so you don't have to retype (cutting down on potential errors). It costs $99 per year per user for companies that have lots of expenses. (There's a one-time set-up charge of $49 for each user up to 50.)

Here are five other mobile expense management apps generating some buzz:

Cashbook Expense Tracker – Features of the $5.99 Android app include the ability to export reports as Quicken files or to share them with some of the popular cloud document management services. You can photograph receipts or enter them.

Expenditure – Priced at just $1.99, but the Apple iOS software requires you to enter the information manually.

Expensify – The software runs on multiple smartphone platforms Apple iOS, Android, Palm, BlackBerry and Windows Phone. It can be used to track different expense types including cash, credit cards and bank transfers. You've got to love its slogan, "Expense reports that don't suck." The service is free for up to two users, plus $5 or $10 per submitter per month.

ProOnGo – Meant specifically for small businesses, the app includes features both both employees and managers to manage different parts of the reporting process. It synchronizes with QuickBooks and Xero, starting at $15 per month ($27 per month for up to five users).

Receipts Pro – As its name suggests, this an app mostly focused on organizing all the receipts you collect on your travels, adding notes when necessary. Priced at $4.99, there is a free trial version. The software includes a graphing feature that lets you create a visual representation of spending trends.

Topics: SMBs, Cloud, Mobility

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  • Manage Expenses with Neat's cloud-based Digital Filing System

    Hi from Neat, we wanted to comment because we realize how cumbersome it can be to track business expenses and manage corresponding documents quickly and easily. That's why Neat’s popular cloud-based Digital Filing System incorporates hardware, software, and cloud and mobile solutions to transform the information from receipts, business cards, and documents into usable, digital information. Now, NeatMobile, turns mobile devices into a Neat scanner by allowing users to “scan” documents on the go using the camera on their mobile device. Scan all of your receipts and use Neat’s unique software to create expense, spending, and budget reports. Come tax time, export the information directly to TurboTax, Quicken, or Quickbooks. Additionally, Neat’s software employs optical character recognition and parsing technology so that users can easily search by keyword or number to find the document they need. To learn more about check out: www.neat.com.
  • Expense Reports a top productivity killer

    With the stats revealing the lost productivity surrounding expense reporting - it's a good challenge that software can come in to meet. Thanks for the round up Heather, hopefully the barrage has eased.

    We also thought we'd drop in to saw hello from Expense Sheet Tracker. In our effort to update the title to the article to "10 Options...", check us out at: http://expensesheettracker.com
  • Finding the right solution

    It is remarkable how many small business expense-related problems have already been solved while some companies struggle with them on a daily basis. Just like so many business technologies in the past, companies need to find a solution that works for them and get everyone to adopt it. Can you imagine life without email or Skype?

    OB Gregg
    @OBGregg | facebook/obusers | linkedin/officebooks
  • Managing Business Expenses in a Small Business

    I have been consulting small businesses for some years now and I have found that managing their expenses effectively is a real issue for most.

    With technology, thankfully, catching up it has become easier to manage all expenses within a business. I was intrigued to see that PexCard was suggested in the text. I believe prepaid cards are a great tool for small businesses. In the past I have recommended www.mycashplus.co.uk prepaid debit cards - because they work just like a normal bank account and are easy to manage for small businesses.

    Jeff Nevil
  • One more to be considered.

    When we talk of the expense management for small businesses, its a pretty hectic job to get a good track of it.The usage of tool is no doubt the desired approach in the business but maintaining it in a smooth and easy manner does make a better sense. Practically the usage of such tool is highly recommended. I am quite impressed with the tools that are mentioned over here. Where as one more inclusion from my end can also be considered and is the cloud based expense reporting software from Replicon. Here is the link to the same - http://www.replicon.com/olp/expense-reports.aspx
    Robert Macklyn
  • consider several aspects when choosing an expense management solution

    I'm glad there are solutions out there that really take away all the pain of reporting expenses. Nobody likes to spend hours and hours searching for receipts and typing them over into an Excel sheet. When choosing an expense management solution it's important to consider several aspects because the expense management process involves several things! First of all capturing the data, then there's the ability to manage and report, and last but not least should it be able to integrate with accounting software. I tried several but the one I like most is Xpenditure, which can be found here: http://www.xpenditure.com
  • Expense management solution

    As said by some of them above its really important to consider the right solution. N with tools which has predefined templates such as Excel, CollateBox it becomes very easy to manage expenses.
    Consider these!