How to Choose the Best Expense Management Software?

Author: Eugenija Steponkute
Published: 15/05/2023

The software market is one of the most saturated in the world. It can be difficult to navigate when trying to find one tool you need, not to mention time-consuming. In this article, we share our recommendations on how to quickly identify the best expense management software to suit your needs.

As you already know, inefficient expense management can seriously damage your budget - and you won’t even know what hit you. The best way to build and optimise the process is, of course, by employing software that’s created to aid you with this specific task. No brainer, right? However, the problem is that due to high demand, there’s an even bigger supply. Naturally, each solution has its target audience, alas it can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint it correctly. The current diversity in the software market really requires companies to narrow down their reach. 

As an illustration of that, you may have intel on what tool your most similar competitor is using. But there’s a high chance it won’t deliver the same results to you simply because no matter your similarities, your overall processes are different. Finding the tool that suits your unique needs is quite challenging, but it’s not impossible. And in this article, we will help you work out what does the best solution look like to you.

What is Expense Management Software?

An expense management software is a digital tool that helps you simplify and smoothen business operations involving costs incurred by the workers. It covers base processes such as expense submission, receipt storage, approvals and reimbursements. 

Most of the solutions operate as SaaS platforms, making them flexible and volatile for businesses across all industries. In addition to that, they come equipped with reporting modules, making it easy for you to keep track of things and identify any emerging patterns.

Core Features for Everyone

Just like any solution out there, there is a cornerstone functionality to every expense management tool on the market. Simply put, if they are not part of the listed features, you shouldn’t waste your time researching further as the software is not equipped to do its job. Let’s discuss these must-haves in detail.

Accessibility on the Go

The most important feature required for expense management software is accessibility. The very reason you are employing one is to ditch methods that require manual data insertion, as well as physical receipts. The problem arises from the fact that usually, the employees can’t even begin the process of claiming the expenses until they have access to their computers. Depending on the situation, this can take weeks for them to be able to do that. And, as you may know, physical receipts are easily lost and damaged. Additionally, uploading them after amassing too many is tedious work that can take over their entire workday. 

For this reason, you want to opt for a SaaS solution to manage your expenses. Their unique trait is that, unlike traditional software, they’re not tied to a device they’re installed on. Instead, they are accessible via an internet browser or, if the vendor provides one - a mobile app. This means your employees can then submit their expenses as soon as they incur them. And you, alternatively, can approve them just as easily. But that’s our next section. 

The Approval Process

Approving expenses, when the process isn’t optimised, can be about as dreadful as submitting them. You most likely have the experience of having to go through piles of receipts, trying to match them with the amount listed by the employee. Expense management software saves you the hassle in this regard too. Every time an expense is submitted, the corresponding receipt comes attached to it. Especially when dealing with huge volumes of expense submissions, this can save you actual hours you could be spending on more progress-driving tasks.

At Timesheet Portal, we work with many companies that run a lot of expense-related operations on a daily basis. We, therefore, have a very in-depth understanding of what is required to create a smoother experience and a quicker turnaround. We’ve tinkered with our system to allow you to build seamless approval processes suitable for your business. Just like most modules, it is highly customisable, giving you the option to add multiple approvers, build paths, set handover rules and many more. As a cherry on top, you can review the submissions and make your decisions without ever logging into the system - straight from your email inbox. 

Deeper Look Inside

If the solution checks boxes for the basic functionality, it’s time to explore the next layer. Namely how well the tool would fit into your existing setup, what procedures would it enhance and what future results will it bear. There are many factors to take into consideration here, but we want to focus on the two we think are the most important. 

Customisation to Your Needs

The reason behind out-of-box software losing its popularity in recent years is simple: there is no such thing as one solution to service all businesses. And given the number of organisations growing every day, their needs are becoming vastly diverse. In other words, a tool with limitations to a specific set of features and parameters is inferior and will stunt your growth. There is little reason behind choosing this model when most of today’s expense management software can be highly customised to your specific needs. Be it about building the process itself, reporting or even the visual aspects.

Whether you will be using the system internally or in transactions with clients, you want to have your brand represented at all times. Something as simple as visual consistency speaks volumes of a company’s professionalism and trustworthiness. Additionally, distinctive branding on all documentation delivered by you helps to protect people from potential scammers. In other words - simple doesn’t mean unimportant.

Integration Partners

Unless you are a brand-new business with no existing software, it’s highly recommended you look through the list of integrations the developer of the product you’re interested in has to offer. It’s always a huge plus when you can connect all your tools as it makes data transfer and further automation possibilities much easier. We also recommend choosing your new tool based on the solutions you already have as opposed to rebuilding an entire stack - unless there’s a good reason for that, of course. 

If you are truly interested in the solution but it doesn’t integrate with another crucial tool you are already using, it’s a good should to try and contact the vendor. Many providers don’t publish full integration lists - usually because they only want to highlight their biggest partners instead of the smaller ones. Some are willing to work with you to create custom APIs, be it for an additional cost or free of charge. Remember, most companies actually want your business and are therefore likely to try and accommodate your needs. 

Who is the Provider?

Getting new software is akin to starting a new relationship. Given you will be running a lot of day-to-day procedures that involve sensitive data of both you and your clients means it has to be one based on trust. But how do you trust a stranger? You don’t. That’s precisely why it’s important to get to know who is behind the tool of your choice. 

Learn More About the Vendor

While your relationship may remain entirely transactional, it’s good to know who’s supplying the solution of your choice and what are their terms. Namely, try and gather as much insight on the communication and support you will receive post-purchase if you decide to go with a specific company. The aspects to pay attention to would be implementation, service time, customer support, training and potential additional costs. 

We also recommend carefully studying the vendor’s privacy policy and requesting additional information on data management if possible. After all, it won’t be just your sensitive data poured into the solution, but also that of your clients and employees. Do a background check as well to find out if there were any data breaches associated with the company in the past. Finally, don’t skip reading the mission statements and values of the provider. Even if you don’t intend to work with their reps past software installation, it’s best to be aware of who you associate with. Misaligned views and messaging can sometimes damage your brand’s reputation.


When you have the right framework in place, spotting the best solutions to transform your business isn’t as challenging. Keep in mind the core features every expense management platform should have: accessibility and smooth workflows for all parties involved. At the end of the day, its key mission is to ease your life. 

You want your new tool to blend into an existing tech stack, becoming another cog in the machine as opposed to an independent organism. Integrations are key to connecting your tools with one another, so keep your eyes open for them. You should also ensure the software of your choice doesn’t take away your brand’s identity and is instead capable to match it via customisation options. For best results, try to find a vendor that also matches your values and communicates in the same way you do. If you achieve all that, no doubt, you will land yourself a solution for life.

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Timesheet Portal online software provided by Anfold Software Ltd, a registered company in the UK.