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Recommendations for automating expense reporting

I am consulting to a company that has 50 to 60 expense reports a month which is a burden to process right now.  I want a system that is as turn key as possible and of course cost effective.  What are the key items that you should consider when evaluating vendors.

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I am using Expensify.com.

While I can't comment on 50 to 60 reports a month, I can comment on my 10 page average AMEX report.

What took me 40 minutes to complete, now takes 10 minutes.

The system has (most of which I don't use) automatic/manual import of statements, individual entry, attachment of receipts, reports, an approval process, direct payment and probably other features.

What it may not have and I know Paychex does in their new system is rules that will throw an exception report (i.e., entertainment expense over $x, dry cleaning expense, etc.)

Lynne Taylor
Title: Principal
Company: Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprise..
(Principal, Cloud Accounting Services for Enterprises (CASE)) |

Hi Joan: You didn't mention what system the company you are consulting for uses, but one of the key considerations for us was the ability of the expense reports to be turned into payable invoices in the accounting system with the push of a button. This eliminated the need for accounting to do anything other than run the check or make the direct deposit to the person receiving the expense reimbursement or to the credit card company if the expenses were charged. One of the things we quickly found was that most expense reporting apps don't integrate seamlessly with the accounting system! Since we use Salesforce.com however, and also use an application called Financialforce.com (built on the Salesforce force.com platform) for accounting, we were able to create an expense report application that integrated with accounting and a custom button that just turned the expense report into a payable invoice. This insured that every expense item and category was associated with a general ledger account, and that the proper "vendor" - whether an employee or credit card company - was paid timely for all the expenses charged. We could also insure that any expense associated with a particular job or project was accounted for on that project as well. Finally, we obviously wanted the expense report approval process to be seamless as well, so that was able to be accomplished with work flows and approval notifications.

So again, I'm not sure what system your client uses or whether they care about accounting integration, but for us that was a big consideration and those were some of our key requirements. Hope that helps!

Topic Expert
Joan Varrone
Title: CFO
Company: Cloud Cruiser
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, Cloud Cruiser) |

Thanks for the comments. The company uses Quickbooks Enterprise Version. The ability to integrate with accounting would be best but am not sure what apps work with QB.

Wayne will look at Expensify.

Lee Qiu
Title: Internal Audit
Company: Charter School Network
(Internal Audit, Charter School Network) |

there are tons of expense reporting solutions on the market. other things to consider:
1. currency: is the default currency USD? Does every one travel domestically?
2. how sophisticated are your reporting needs
3. do you want to tie your solution to a travel management agency's booking system?

Ed Battle
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: SVFG
(Chief Financial Officer, SVFG) |

You may want to look into expensify.com, which integrates well with quickbooks

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