9 Questions Finance Managers Should Ask When Evaluating a Spend Management Solution

A business racks up all kinds of expenses, from the coffee machine at start-up to sourcing software and other business assets for business operations. When the bottom line arrives, many finance leaders and accounting executives may feel like they’ve been running a marathon working with their legacy expense management systems. But modern technology is no longer hard work: many products have eliminated expense reporting.

When leaders finally decide to make the switch, examining spend or spend solutions can seem intimidating as you weigh the options of manual processes, vendor management, policy controls, and real-time visibility. But whether the business is an enterprise or a fledgling small business, some of the same questions can arise when changing course on expense or expense solutions.

1. Can custom policies be created to suit employees and teams?

Most likely, not all employees will need access to the same funds. Some solutions will allow spending controls. Administrators can customize these spend parameters based on role, spend category, business context, or other dimensions with a custom policy builder. And by comparing these spending controls, managers are less likely to rush to search for reconciliations, which automates workflows. Employees are empowered to spend business and financial leaders maintain control in a way that requires less time.

2. Does the expense management solution drive compliance?

The implementation of digital payments without controls can lead to excessive expenses due to the simple convenience of the tool. When spending occurs in a different currency or environment, confusion around appropriate limits can also arise. To ease these pains, the automation behind built-in spending controls can enable transactions to be approved, marked as out of policy, or rejected in real time at the point of purchase. And with policies in place, users don’t have to worry about falling out of compliance.

3. Is there sufficient security and protection against fraud?

Studies show that expense reimbursement fraud accounts for 21% of fraud in small businesses and 11% in large businesses. However, advanced AI-powered spending technology is available that enables finance leaders to proactively receive and review alerts about market disruptions, risks, and fraudulent spending. To avoid the risk of a security breach, administrators should also be aware of solutions with encryption, data center security, two-factor authentication, and internal monitoring capabilities.

4. How quickly do refunds occur?

Employees and patrons may be hesitant to spend out-of-pocket money on business acquisitions, as a huge amount of paperwork and an overwhelming number of days accumulate at the end of the reimbursement process. Modern solutions can now allow transaction details to be captured and encrypted for immediate refund options. Some technologies will even allow employees to receive this money via direct deposit by securely connecting a solution to their bank account.

5. What are the mobile capabilities to capture expenses on the go?

If online shopping, banking, and reservations have mastered the art of mobile ease and functionality, expense management should also be simplified through users’ mobile phones. Finance leaders should look for optimized solutions that enable expense management software through mobile apps. Capturing a receipt by simply taking a photo, organizing and understanding policies, and submitting refunds, all in one place, allows employees to travel and spend in and out of the office with confidence.

6. How quickly can users access expense data?

Transparency is the name of the game in spend analysis and visibility. Access to real-time spend analytics supports better financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. Finance teams can reduce spend leakage with real-time, contextual insights into business spend data. Administrators and users also get accurate forecasts and policy improvement opportunities. Many solutions can view this data at a granular level, be it by department, geography, point of sale, etc.

7. Are corporate expense cards offered?

Policies are in place, data is out in the open, and administrators are confident in the automation of business spending. But how are they spending? By issuing corporate and virtual cards, financial leaders can eliminate employee cash flow burdens. Users can use company money to securely pay for trips, routine expenses, cash purchases or recurring subscriptions. Many cards will also be optimized internationally, allowing local vendors, vendors and businesses to receive payments in the local currency.

8. Can the solution be integrated with ERP and accounting systems?

Missing or incorrect data entry slows month-end closing and wastes time for finance teams scanning statements for errors. By integrating with on-premises solutions, managers can quickly close the books by connecting ERP and accounting software to expense management solutions for a bird’s-eye view of all expense and business data in a single system. Instead of manually changing systems like Oracle Netsuite or QuickBooks Online, look for a solution that combines rather than fragments.

9. Will this solution allow international scalability?

Technology has brought amazing global progress in the expense management space. Regulatory and cultural considerations are often different in each country, which has made the evolution of payment and spending solutions particularly challenging. Some solutions, however, will offer deeper life cycle complexities, such as handling VAT (value added tax) and travel nuances. There is also technology that emphasizes OCR (optimal character recognition) scanning, so no matter where in the world users are, the solution can read and understand various receipts in foreign countries. Some solutions can even eradicate foreign transaction fees.

Having the right expense management solution prevents unnecessary costs and protects your company from diminishing margins. What is expense management software for misallocated funds and small daily runaway costs that add up at the end of the fiscal year? For growing businesses, finding a software solution that is intuitive and quick to integrate, all at an affordable price, is critical.

Fortunately, TripActions Liquid™ is the answer to all of these questions.

TripActions Liquid™ gives finance teams ultimate spending control to drive savings, productivity and compliance. With TripActions Liquid’s expense management solution, administrators can implement proactive policies programmatically embedded in smart cards to automate expense management, from slippage to reconciliation. Interactive dashboards provide real-time transaction visibility for more informed decision making, all on a growing international scale.

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