Controlling costs is a central task for all businesses, and the job starts with tracking and reporting expenses. A plethora of well-designed expense report apps can help with this essential task. The best simplify collecting data by scanning receipts and importing transactions from debit and credit card statements. They can automate reporting as well as verifying charges and reimbursing employees. Cloud-based apps provide mobile access via smartphones while improving data security. Expense report apps targeting small and midsize businesses are also affordable. Here are the best apps for tracking expenses.
Choosing an Expense Report App
There probably is no expense report app that is best for all businesses. For instance, a business with a traveling sales force will have different expense reporting needs than one without external salespeople. Some businesses need an app that can handle international transactions, automatically converting currencies and recognizing both foreign and domestic tax regulations. Another concern is how well an app integrates with the accounting software a business uses.
Choosing an expense report app starts by looking at individual business practices, processes and needs. Factors for business owners to consider include:
How many employees will use the app
Types of expenses that will be processed
The brand of software used for general accounting
Technical skills of employees who will use it
Expense Report App Features
A good app will be able to do all the following:
Capture data from scanned receipts, card statements, payment platforms and mobile wallets
Organize expenses appropriately by category using rules set by the user
Securely store data in the cloud where it can be accessed from anywhere
Allow users to submit expenses and generate reports online
Create reports to identify expense trends and excesses, cash flow, build budgets and project profit and loss
Automate processes such as verifying and approving expenses and reimbursing employees
Be affordable and scalable so it can accommodate the business as it grows
Top Expense Report Apps
The following expense reporting apps are well-suited to small and midsize businesses with typical needs. They are easy to use, accessed through the cloud, offer good reporting capabilities and will fit into most budgets.
At only $5 a month, Expensify provides great value as well as robust expense tracking features. There’s also a free trial. Expensify lets users capture receipts by scanning with a smartphone or importing from bank and credit card statements. It tracks mileage automatically using GPS. It automatically detects duplicates and categorizes expenses using rules and integrates with many accounting and management software packages including QuickBooks, Sage and NetSuite. On the downside, Expensify may be more difficult to learn than some of the other apps.
Rydoo users can input expenses by scanning receipts. Expenses can be allocated by trip or project. The app uses Google Maps to handle mileage. It’s well-suited for international businesses with automatic currency conversion and integrates with QuickBooks, Xero and Exact accounting software. At $7 per month per user, Rydoo’s starter package including its core features is an affordable expense tracking solution for businesses with five to 50 employees. Rydoo achieves a high level of ease of use at the cost of some more advanced tracking features.
Zoho Expense is the likely first choice for businesses already using some of Zoho’s other products and a contender for other businesses as well. In addition to a no-charge trial, it’s free for up to three users, and $5 a month provides unlimited users and extra features. Zoho Expense automatically converts all major currencies and reads scanned receipts in 10 languages. Data can also be captured from card accounts or emailed. In addition to Zoho Books, it integrates with QuickBooks, Xero and other packages. On the downside, mileage has to be manually entered.
Self-employed people and microbusiness owners who are already using QuickBooks Self-Employed can probably get all the expense tracking they need from the accounting software’s built-in features. QuickBooks Self-Employed imports transactions from bank, credit card and payment systems, sorts them by tax category and allows users to build custom rules for categorizing. It’s got benchmark features like mileage tracking with GPS and using optical character recognition to extract data from scanned receipts. For $7.50 a month QuickBooks Self-Employed provides a broad set of accounting tools in addition to expense tracking and for an extra fee integrates with TurboTax to ease tax filing. Of course, using QuickBooks Self-Employed to track expenses only makes sense if you are using the software for other accounting chores as well.
The Bottom Line
There are a number of well-designed, affordable apps that can help midsize and small businesses track and manage expenses. Cloud-based expense report apps provide security and easy access and features such as receipt scanning and GPS-powered automatically mileage entry reduce the time and energy needed to capture expense data. Most businesses will do well with any of these apps but carefully consider individual business needs before making a choice to increase the chances of selecting a winner.
Tips for Budgeting
Before choosing an expense report app, consider talking the matter over with an experienced financial advisor. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with financial advisors in your area in five minutes. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors who will help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
A free budget calculator is an indispensable tool for analyzing and managing business expenses. Also, if expenses exceed revenue, be sure to calculate your burn rate as part of an overall expense management protocol.
Photo credit: ©iStock.com/courtneyk, ©iStock.com/GoodLifeStudio, ©iStock.com/vinnstock