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Today is the day to give props to a Mom and Pop shop. We’re seizing the Divvy by dropping some tips and tricks, teaching small business owners how to select the best expense management system that scales with their business. Smaller outfits, startups, and mid-market companies have more in common than we sometimes realize. We’ve talked to a lot of companies, large and small, about expense management, what works, what helps and hurts, if their current system meets their needs. We’ve found that the answers vary slightly by company with common threads throughout.

Common shared expense management pain points:

  • Unproductive: Time consuming, takes time from core-business focus
  • Delayed insights: Limited or no real-time visibility
  • Inconvenient: Manual processing, receipt management, complicated reconciliation
  • Inaccurate: Missing receipts, human error, fraud, compliance issues.
  • Inflexible: No budget or spend insights, Inability to quickly reallocate funds
  • Lack of control: Inability to streamline fund requests, approval, spend, and accounting

There are so many systems out there for expense management, and some do better than others at addressing or eliminating these difficulties. We’ve put together some tips for weighing your needs with the existing features on the market in our blog post How to Select the Best System for Business Expense Management. If you like what you see, pass it along to a Mom and Pop Business owner along with a note of encouragement.

Expense management refers to the systems utilized by a business to process, pay, and audit employee-initiated expenses. Traditionally encompassing expenses related to travel and entertainment, it has recently expanded to include the array of costs employees incur on the job, either with a corporate card, debit card, credit card, or personal spending.

This quick guide will help you identify the needs of your business and the expense management system to match your unique spend tracking requirements.

Updating your organization with emerging technology

Before you begin the process of initiating a new platform or changing your current expense management processes, ask yourself if an update is necessary. Typically, organizations choose to change and update their procedures and implement an expense management solution for one of the following reasons:

  • Spend control: Increasing visibility to reduce expense costs and losses through policy enforcement
  • Improved efficiency: Eliminate the paper trail and data re-entry
  • Reporting: Simplify KPIs by generating spend and expense management reports, tracking who spends and why
  • Compliance: Enforce organizational policies and guidelines through simplified user adoption

How to select the best expense management platform in 3 steps

1. Prepare: Discuss and define

Define your current organizational challenges to create a ranked list that the expense management platform should solve or simplify. Implementing an expense management system has many benefits, but the best choice for your business is the one that meets your priorities.

What are the top three-five biggest challenges your organization faces when it comes to managing expense reports?

Once you’ve narrowed it down, meet with your team, departments, and managers. Ask them the same question to determine:

  • Do their responses match your prioritized list?
  • Did they find it difficult to limit their response to three-five challenges?
  • What new challenges did you uncover in their responses?
  • Are certain employee roles impacted more than others? Why?

Next, consider the following deep-dive questions:

  • Have you factored the size of your business into your needs?
  • How many people in your organization file expense reports?
  • Approximately how often do they submit an expense report?
  • How do employees currently submit spend requests and expenses?
  • Do your employees travel for business frequently? Does this include international travel?

2. Demo: Compare and evaluate

You have outlined your highest priorities, allowing you to start comparing various spend solutions, and how they address your organization’s top concerns. Most companies offer free demos, providing insight into their system’s capabilities and user interface. Always look at ways to save while not sacrificing what you need.

3. Decide: Select and adopt

Now that you’ve completed the research stage, it’s time to choose a budgeting and business management system and move forward to implementation! You have outlined your priorities, taking timing and functionality into consideration, empowering you to choose the best fit for your organization’s unique needs. Go with your informed gut.

Make sure not to rush the decision or implementation. Time is money, but employee adoption can spell success or disaster when it comes to executing a positive change in your expense management and reporting. Choose a system that provides insight and visibility into spend, while facilitating simple employee adoption, then carpe the per diem!

Divvy is the first free and fully automated spend management platform. Help us rid the world of spreadsheet expensing.

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