If you own your own business, it’s not uncommon that you focus on your product or service, and let other things slip through the cracks. But as your business grows and you hire new employees, your expenses grow as well. It’s so important to keep track of expenses right at the start of your operations, but there are simply too many options when it comes to business expense trackers. We’ve narrowed it down to a select few for you, to make your life easier.
In this article, we’re going to cover:
- Why you should use software to track your business expenses
- 3 great tools for tracking business expenses
- 5 awesome tools for your employees to track and submit expenses
Read on to learn more about how to get your business on track this year!
Why use software to track business expenses?
- Keep track of your money – if you’re trying to run a successful business, you need to know exactly where your money is at all times. You can’t become profitable if you aren’t extremely aware of what is going on with your money.
- Always know where your money is going – by keeping track, you will have a much better understanding of where you company stands, and what you need to do in the future to help keep it profitable.
- Put yourself in a position to problem solve and find money when you need it – if you know what’s going on with your money, a significant drop or raising of profits won’t affect you as much because you’ll have a good idea of what you have to spare, and where you need to go from there.
- Software eliminates human error – accounting and tracking software helps eliminate the risk of error from humans, and prevents malicious activity or theft from going unnoticed.
- Software can provide statistics for you – software can provide you with instant reports, calculations, and statistics about your money, so you never need to worry about wasting time trying to run those numbers yourself.
- Forecasting – these tools can often use algorithms to predict where your company will be at weeks, months, and even years down the road; this is especially useful for helping to plan your business strategy.
- Saves you time – expense-tracking software saves tons of time with its instantaneous tracking, cataloguing of receipts, and so on – all of which is done much faster by a computer than by a human being.
- Over time, saves you money and eliminate waste – these tools can actually save you money over time with how much time and effort you save by using them. They can also alert of you of company issues and prevent future loss when you begin having a drop in profits.
3 great tools for tracking your business expenses
Quickbooks is useful accounting software for businesses, that also allows you to use their app to pay bills, and access your account information at any time – even on the go! It also sorts your transactions into easy-to-navigate categories for you. They also advertise that their product is so easy to use, that on average, Quickbooks customers save up to 11 hours per month of time spent working on accounting.
There are three plans you can choose from:
- Self-employed: $5/month – allows you to track miles
- Simple Start: $10 /month – allows you to send estimates, track sales, and track sales tax
- Essentials: $24/month – manage and pay bills, add multiple users, and track time
- Plus: $35/month – ability to track inventory, create and manage budgets, and pay contractors
You can also sign up for a free 30-day trial if you would like to try it out first!
What it includes: (The standard package includes) PC, Mac, and Mobile versions to use, tracks income and expenses, the ability to create invoices, accept payments, run reports, and download your bank transactions. You can also get added features by subscribing to a more expensive plan.
Best feature: Ability to manage and pay bills, easily, right in the app.
Wave is a revolutionary expense and accounting tracking software for businesses that is free – that’s right – it’s free. And when they say free, they mean that everything they offer is included; you don’t have to pay for extra features, or add-ons – you simply get the product, and use it, unlimited, for free. With Wave, you can track your income and expenses, get your taxes ready, connect bank and credit cards, and generate reports and balance sheets for your business.
What it includes: Built-in invoicing, connect additional users, receipt scanning, built-in payroll, generate invoices and bills, exchange rate calculations, customize sales taxes, data backup, and more!
Best feature: It’s “truly free” – so you don’t have to pay for your accounting software – they make their money through payroll services on credit card and payment transactions.
Shoeboxed is a great way for businesses to store, keep track of, and manage all of their receipts, to keep your business running smooth, and help you prepare for tax time, or in case you are ever audited. You create your own account, which runs online, and is fully searchable, so you can easily search through the site, and find anything from the past that you need. You can upload receipts in any way you want, manually, or through image capture, and the expense will automatically generate using standard IRS categories, or ones that you create yourself.
What it includes: Automated receipt uploading, expense tracking, PDF and CSV reporting based on categories you create, and more!
Best feature: Supports integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, Evernote, and Wave!
How they stack up against each other:
|Name of Expense Tracker||Quickbooks||Wave||Shoeboxed|
|Payment plans||$5, $10, $24, or $35/month options||Free!||$15, $39, or $69/month options|
|Can create invoices?||Yes||Yes||No|
|Allows multiple users?||Yes – If you upgrade your payment plan||Yes||Yes – If you upgrade your payment plan|
|Receipt-scanning and auto-upload||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Built-in payroll software?||Yes||Yes||No|
5 awesome tools for your employees to track and submit their expenses
1. Zoho Expense
Zoho Expense is business expense reporting software meant to automate the process so you have less work to do. You can upload receipts, record your expenses from anywhere, and on any of your devices (including smart watches). You can take pictures of your receipts and upload them directly. Zoho will scan the receipt and automatically fill out an expense report, which you can easily edit to make any changes (or you can manually create them!). You can also add a credit card, and turn your statements right into expenses!
What it includes: Available on iOS, Android, and Windows platforms, you can submit expense reports, receive expense analytics, approval (or rejection) by managers, sort expenses into categories
Best feature: Automatic generation of expense reports from images of receipts and credit card statements.
Expensify offers expense-reporting software, and according to their motto, aims to offer you “expense reports that don’t suck!” Like Zoho, it aims to automate your employee’s process for submitting expenses by making submission, approval, and payment, all easy and automatic. With their “Smart Scan” technology, you get receipt scanning, automated expense reports are generated, and then you can even get automatic approvals and reimbursement for employees.
What it includes: “Rapid reimbursement” – employees are paid within 24 hours of approval, automatic approval rules, and expenses can be synced with Expnsify’s accounting software, if you use that for your company as well.
Best feature: Automatic processes, and integrates with other great software and apps, including: Quickbooks, Xero, Netsuite, Sage Intacct, Financial Force, Oracle, Sage, Bill.com, and ReceiptBurner.
3. Smart Receipts
Smart Receipts helps you track expenses (as a business, or personally). With their “White Label” app, you can add expenses whenever you want, scan receipts, and create reports for you. You can choose from over 20 different data types, including dates, price, receipt categories, tax, payment methods, comments, and more. You can customize it completely to meet your business’ needs, and make your employees’ submissions uniform.
What it includes: Add and track expenses, receipt scanning, and will generate PDF and CSV reports of the expenses.
Best feature: “White Label” app allows you to create a customized app for your employees, so that their expense submission is easy, and uniform.
Foreceipt, an expense tracking service that runs using Google Drive, allows you to upload receipts on the go, simply taking pictures of your receipts, entering the amount and merchant, and then saving them to your Drive account. Because it works through Google Drive, you can access it at any time, even offline. Amounts can be entered in any currency with a live exchange rate, and you can receive helpful budgets sorted into categories so you know exactly where your business’ money is going.
What it includes: Expense reporting, receipt image upload, secure Google Drive data backups, currency exchange, reminders, and budget generation.
Best feature: Great reminders: you can set up repeating reminders to help you stay on track with paying utility bills, credit card bills, and bills for your business.
NetSuite is a cloud-based software development company that offers many excellent products for businesses. One of them, their expense reporting software, makes is easy for employees to submit expenses, and receive approval from management/accounting. You can customize rules for expense report submission, track expenses over time with an auditable history, and create overdue expense report approval alerts.
What it includes: Cloud-based expense reporting software with a simple interface, so employees can easily add expenses and have them approved right in the software platform.
Best feature: Employees can submit at work, in a web browser, or with a mobile device, and can submit images of receipts (if they have an iPhone).
How they stack up against each other:
|Name of Expense Tracker||Zoho Expense||Expensify||Smart Receipts||Foreceipt||NetSuite|
|Payment plans||Free, $15/month||$5, $9, or custom plans for your business||Free!||Free!||$99/month|
|Offers currency exchange?||No||No||No||Yes||No|
|Mobile version?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Exclusively||iOS only|
|Receipt-scanning and auto-upload||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Integrates with other software||With other Zoho products||Yes||No||No||With other NetSuite products|
Tips for finding a good business expense tracker
1. Know what you need for your business.
When choosing the right tool, think about what it is you need. Do you have a lot of employees and need a tool that allows them to track their expenses? Or are you just a start up and need to get on top of all the money you spend. It’s important to think about what it is you need, and maybe even make some notes about what you’re looking for in expense tracking software. That way, when you’re weighing your options, you can make sure the tool you’re interested in checks everything off your list.
It’s also just as important to think about what you don’t need. It’s possible you’ll be spending some money on this software, or even have to pay for a premium version of an expense tracking app, so you need to have an understanding of what you don’t need. You don’t want to end up spending more money than you need to, because in all likelihood, you’ll end up getting a lot of extra features that you don’t need.
2. If necessary, make everything accessible for your employees.
It’s up to you how much of this information you need to share with your employees, but there are some benefits to making this information accessible, especially if you’re starting a small business. Regardless of your decision, you should decide if you need this information to be easily accessible to share with your employees.
In addition, if you’re choosing expense software that helps your employees submit their own expenses, you want to make it easy for them. Make sure you test the program out and determine that it’s easy to use. You wouldn’t want your employees to get frustrated while they’re waiting on being reimbursed for something they did that helped out your business!
3. You’re tracking expenses: now is a good time to smart making fiscally responsible plans.
It’s never too early to start practicing fiscal responsibility, and making this decision is a great place to start. For one, don’t spend a bunch of money on an expense-tracking app when a free online service might work better for you. From there, start thinking about other ways that you can save money when it makes sense for you.
Having an expense tracker will help, so make sure you get on entering your information right away. Once you’ve got your initial set up going, make some short-term and long-term plans for your budget. From there, you always want to keep using your expense tracking tools, and keeping them up to date. And remember, there’s no expense too small to enter into your tracking software.
Be sure to check out the rest of our website for more articles that can help jump start your business and keep you up-to-date on the best online business practices that you can make use of to keep your business at the top of its game.