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Tablet using an expense report appControlling costs is a central task for all businesses, and the job starts with tracking and reporting expenses. A plethora of well-designed expense report apps can help with this essential task. The best simplify collecting data is by scanning receipts and importing transactions from debit and credit card statements. Each can automate reporting as well as verify charges and reimburse employees. Cloud-based apps provide mobile access via smartphones while improving data security. We’ve compiled our four best choices and provided the details of what you should consider before making a decision. You can also work with a financial advisor to determine how to maximize tax savings once you have started to keep better track of your business expenses. 

Top Expense Report Apps

The following expense reporting apps are well-suited to small and midsize businesses with typical needs. They are easy to use, accessed through the cloud, offer good reporting capabilities and will fit into most budgets. Here are the four best expense reporting apps, in no particular order:

1. Expensify

At only $5 a month, Expensify provides great value as well as robust expense tracking features. There’s also a free trial. Expensify lets users capture receipts by scanning with a smartphone or importing them from bank and credit card statements. It tracks mileage automatically using GPS. It automatically detects duplicates and categorizes expenses using rules and integrates with many accounting and management software packages including QuickBooks, Sage and NetSuite. On the downside, Expensify may be more difficult to learn than some of the other apps.

2. Rydoo

Rydoo users can input expenses by scanning receipts. Expenses can be allocated by trip or project. The app uses Google Maps to handle mileage. It’s well-suited for international businesses with automatic currency conversion and integrates with QuickBooks, Xero and Exact accounting software. At $7 per month per user, Rydoo’s starter package including its core features is an affordable expense-tracking solution for businesses with five to 50 employees. Rydoo achieves a high level of ease of use at the cost of some more advanced tracking features.

3. Zoho Expense

Zoho Expense is the likely first choice for businesses already using some of Zoho’s other products and a contender for other businesses as well. In addition to a no-charge trial, it’s free for up to three users, and $5 a month provides unlimited users and extra features. Zoho Expense automatically converts all major currencies and reads scanned receipts in 10 languages. Data can also be captured from card accounts or emailed. In addition to Zoho Books, it integrates with QuickBooks, Xero and other packages. On the downside, mileage has to be manually entered.

4. QuickBooks Self-Employed

Self-employed people and microbusiness owners who are already using QuickBooks Self-Employed can probably get all the expense tracking they need from the accounting software’s built-in features. QuickBooks Self-Employed imports transactions from bank, credit card and payment systems sorting them by tax category and allowing users to build custom rules for categorizing.

It’s got benchmark features like mileage tracking with GPS and using optical character recognition to extract data from scanned receipts. For $7.50 a month QuickBooks Self-Employed provides a broad set of accounting tools in addition to expense tracking and for an extra fee integrates with TurboTax to ease tax filing. Of course, using QuickBooks Self-Employed to track expenses only makes sense if you are using the software for other accounting chores as well.

Choosing an Expense Report App

Man using an expense reporting app

There probably is no expense report app that is best for all businesses. For instance, a business with a traveling sales force will have different expense reporting needs than one without external salespeople. Some businesses need an app that can handle international transactions, automatically converting currencies and recognizing both foreign and domestic tax regulations. Another concern is how well an app integrates with the accounting software a business uses.

Choosing an expense report app starts by looking at individual business practices, processes and needs. Factors for business owners to consider can include:

  • How many employees will use the app
  • Types of expenses that will be processed
  • The brand of software used for general accounting
  • Technical skills of employees who will use it

Expense Report App Features

There are a number of features that you may want to have in the expense app that you choose, depending on what your individual business needs are. A good expense app should be able to do all the following:

  • Capture data from scanned receipts, card statements, payment platforms and mobile wallets
  • Organize expenses appropriately by category using rules set by the user
  • Securely store data in the cloud where it can be accessed from anywhere
  • Allow users to submit expenses and generate reports online
  • Create reports to identify expense trends and excesses, cash flow, build budgets and project profit and loss
  • Automate processes such as verifying and approving expenses and reimbursing employees
  • Be affordable and scalable so it can accommodate the business as it grows

Not every app will have all the features listed here, but you should make sure to find one that has all of the features that you need now and that you might need as you grow. Changing the app you use can be a pain later on if you have to make a switch, especially if you have a sizable team.

 

The Bottom Line

An expense reportThere are a number of well-designed, affordable apps that can help midsize and small businesses track and manage expenses. Cloud-based expense report apps provide security and easy access and features such as receipt scanning and GPS-powered automatically mileage entry reduce the time and energy needed to capture expense data. Most businesses will do well with any of these apps but carefully consider individual business needs before making a choice to increase the chances of selecting a winner.

Tips for Budgeting

  • Before choosing an expense report app, consider talking the matter over with an experienced financial advisor. Finding the right financial advisor who fits your needs doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.
  • A free budget calculator is an indispensable tool for analyzing and managing business expenses. Also, if expenses exceed revenue, be sure to calculate your burn rate as part of an overall expense management protocol.

Photo credit: ©iStock.com/courtneyk, ©iStock.com/GoodLifeStudio, ©iStock.com/vinnstock

Mark Henricks Mark Henricks has reported on personal finance, investing, retirement, entrepreneurship and other topics for more than 30 years. His freelance byline has appeared on CNBC.com and in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance and other leading publications. Mark has written books including, “Not Just A Living: The Complete Guide to Creating a Business That Gives You A Life.” His favorite reporting is the kind that helps ordinary people increase their personal wealth and life satisfaction. A graduate of the University of Texas journalism program, he lives in Austin, Texas. In his spare time he enjoys reading, volunteering, performing in an acoustic music duo, whitewater kayaking, wilderness backpacking and competing in triathlons.
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