Small Business Expense Tracking: Tools to Manage Your Money
One of the most important things in running a small business is surely tight management and complete control of your finances and expenses, which often end up being far harder than people expect.
Big companies have a well-developed staff and far more money to cover any problem. On the other hand, small business owners often must assign all the hard work and time-demanding exercise of controlling the business-related expenses to someone who has much more to do.
For all of these reasons, expense tracking apps are so important. For a small business, they mean a fast way to put all your cash flow under control. It helps with many things, allowing you to generate reports and see how much you will expend to pay employees, expend monthly fees, create budgets, or pay the business credit card.
What Exactly are Business Expense Trackers
They are programs or apps where you can put all your expenses, organized and divided by your metrics. That way, you can properly control how much money enters your business bank account and how much leaves it. With it, you control overspending and your whole budget.
They are excellent programs and work or, at least, don’t conflict with your existing accounting software. They provide better expense management of self-employed entrepreneurs and small businesses owners and are as important as any office supplies. That’s because you will never lose control of how much you paid in a month with taxes, trips, tools, and other services.
What are the Main Features You Should Look For in a Business Expenses Tracker
There are several different apps you can use for tracking expenses, many of which offer similar but important features. However, there are also small differences that can go from prices to interface and compatibility.
Considering that this can be an obscure theme, we will help you by listing some of the core features you should look for in an app to help you track your expenses and general finances. Let’s see some of the top picks that focus on the best solutions and benefits you must be aware of before you look for them in the market.
To begin, a good thing you always must look for is the number of possible integration you have with your expense tracker. It won’t be good for you if the service you use doesn’t communicate automatically with your accounts, as it won’t be able to get information about credit card expenses and other important information. This would mean more manual work for you, which nobody wants.
Compliance and Safety
Another thing you must be very attentive to is compliance and safety, as both are a little related. Be sure that any expanse tracking you are interested in using is in accordance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Acto (SOX), or the “Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act”.
As the name already suggests, it is a set of rules and obligations that the company behind the expense tracking must follow to ensure your and any other investors' safety, improving the accuracy and reliability of corporate disclosures. Without that, there is no deal.
For sure, there is no secret in terms of mobile access. For most people, it happens that we use our mobile devices more than computers. Your software must allow you to access all your financial information from your cell phone from anywhere you are. That way, you’ll have full control over things like accounts, budgets, incomes, expenses, and reimbursement of your company.
More than just being accessible from any device, the expense tracker must have a good interface. It’s unwise to play with money or run unnecessary risks, and using software with a bad interface is like playing with fire.
The chances of making a mistake due to confusing options, integration, or anything else is huge. That’s why the top picks for you are clean and easy to understand services, no matter if it is on a PC or your cellphone.
Your expense tracker must provide you with analysis options and possibilities to better understand where you are putting your budget. This means it must include things like charts to study expenses from one week to another, month to month, year to year. Other examples are categories, so you can see which kinds of expenses are the highest and how to increase results at the cost of a lesser part of your budget.
Free Trial Time
To complete, the last great thing you can look for is the free trial time to test all the financial products and possibilities of a specific expense tracker. Before paying, you must be sure you are happy and well adapted to the program so that you can make the most of it. For that, a software offering a six-week free trial is better than one offering only one month, for instance.
Best Business Expense Trackers
Now that we have already seen the main features you must look for in expense tracking software for your small business, let’s see some examples of expense tracking software. We separated six apps that can surely make a huge difference for all kinds of businesses with all kinds of different teams working on them.
Indispensable in any business, Office offers several possibilities for its users. One of the most important is the possibility of using it as an expense tracker. You won’t be able to book travel or save pictures of important receipts but the program will surely give you lots of possibilities.
Excel is, probably, the best available program for data analysis you may find on the market. It will give you the freedom to place and organize all of your expenses the way you prefer, giving you full control and customization possibilities over them.
The Excel formulas and shortcuts also offer possibilities of organization you won’t find anywhere else. They make the process of checking long expense sheets far easier than would be in other programs. That means you can keep expense registers for years and still keep everything well-organized, and ready for comparison.
Besides all that, the Office suite offers so many options and possibilities apart from Excel that is practically impossible to see a business that doesn’t already use it for something. So, if you choose Excel as your expense tracker, there will be no need to increase the expenses by paying a different platform.
To complete, since Office and Excel are so popular, you will find a lot of great and free tutorials, so you or your employees can learn everything they need about the platform without extra costs.
And if you don’t have Excel already, you can purchase the Microsoft Office 2021 CD key at a fraction of the official price with RoyalCDKeys.
The first small business expense tracker app we bring for you is Expensify. The best thing about it is how good it is for business owners and employees with lots of travel-related expenses. It also fits those that make meetings around the country. You can use your mobile device to snap pictures of your receipts and upload them to the program, or import receipts from Airbnb, Uber, and others.
Besides all that, you can make mileage tracking. Expensify works well with your accounting software, allowing you to import expenses from your credit card directly. Expensify is available for Android and iPhone for those who prefer mobile apps. Just mind that it is not a balance tracker but an expense tracker, which means you can only keep track of expenses.
This business expense tracker has two-factor authentication for users, asking for generated codes to accept the login. Bank account information is protected with world-class security protocols. That way, you can track expenses knowing you are safe. The program also imports an automatic receipt, reading it and transforming it into a logged expense.
The professional and enterprise plans of this expense tracking software offer several other features to control your business purchases, financial statements, and upload receipts. A great call for those willing to let go of some money to improve expense management.
Expensify has a free plan, which allows you to give Expensify cards to all members of the team, do reimbursements, send invoices, and pay bills. Besides that, the paid plans are
- Collect: All are available for Free with the addition of custom codes, accounting integration, and expense approval. The cost is $5 per user/month
- Control: Everything available in collect with the addition of plus multilevel approval, expense policies, and custom reporting
The best thing about Zoho Expense is all the features it offers on its free or low-cost versions. Some of the available things are mileage tracking, personal card connection, accounting software integration, and customer and project tracker. These features are available to up to three users. All of these would be enough to make it one of the best business expense tracker apps.
The standard version fits great for small businesses, as it costs only 3 dollars/user per month and can be billed annually, allowing unlimited users. Zoho Expense integrates with other products, such as QuickBooks, Xero, G Suite, Slack, and Lyft.
More advanced plans, such as the Premium or the Enterprise, feature several other things. Some of them are unlimited receipt auto scan, travel and purchase requests, per diem rates, and customization tools. You can also track employees' expenses and check the reimbursement legitimacy by applying approval workflows before they are approved.
To help you better understand the values when tracking expenses, Zoho allows you to apply tags, locations, and cost centers when you submit expenses. That way, you never miss any purchase you made. If you’re looking for a way to track business expenses for a low cost, Zoho may be the right call for you.
Managing expenses became easier with Certify, the third expense tracking app we bring on the list. Different from some other of the best business expense trackers, Certify automates several features related to expense tracking.
Certify has the ReportExecutive, which automatically generates custom reports. It can also set schedules for these expense reports and even send reminders for employees, managers, and other business-related workers. No matter your business needs, Certify will surely help.
This expense tracker app also offers integration for QuickBooks users, expense reporting suites, and the ability to customize permissions. With that, employees can access different features according to their tasks and positions in your company. Certify also integrates with several other important apps, such as QuickBooks, Microsoft Dynamics, Oracle, Uber, and others.
Besides, all of these features are available in three different plans with different bills. The paid plans are:
- Certify Now, which costs $12/user per month, allows up to 25 users to take advantage of all of these already mentioned core features.
- The Professional Plan, that is cote-based, so we can’t price it out, but 200 employees can use it at the same time.
- The Enterprise plan is also cote-based and it also accepts 200 employees. The package ensures you all the possibilities Certify has.
Besides that, both plans have a set of additional features, such as the so-wanted Receipts backup and the credit card integrations. For sure one of the best business expense trackers you will find.
Following our expense tracking run, another great app to control your cash flow is FreshBooks. One of the best things about this business expense tracker is that it is extremely easy to start using. It introduces the following plans:
- Lite Plan, which costs $6/user per month, allows five billable clients.
- The Plus plan costs 10$ per user/month and allows ten billable clients.
- The Premium plan costs $20 per user/month and allows unlimited billable clients.
This is perfect for self-employed individuals, companies with a small team, or even midsize businesses. It automatically categorizes the adding expenses, which makes the app perfect for those worried about tax deductions times, where we need to look for bank statements and other important documents.
It has a simple interface, showing your income and expenses side by side. This expense tracker, just like some of the others, has integration with the popular accounting software most people use and track expenses from there daily. For you, there will be only the process of doing the manual data entry – for example, sending scans of your paper receipts.
Making a manual entry and organizing receipts won’t help you save time but these aren’t bad things, as dedicating some time to them makes you far more aware of every coin that leaves your pocket.
To complete, you can also track time if it helps you assign expenses. FreshBooks has a friendly mobile user interface, which is great for less experienced users to keep track of their expenses as their business grows.
Going ahead, we bring you QuickBooks, which, for many, is the most complete program to enter expenses. But, to ensure all of the features it has for its users, it also is one of the most expensive.
- The Start Plan costs $12 per month.
- Essentials Plan costs $20/month.
- For the Plus and Advanced plans, you will have to let go of $35 and $70 per month, respectively.
This is not recommended for beginners, as it is the hardest to use as well. If you have already been tracking your expenses for some time or have an experienced employee, this may be the best one of the best apps for you. It has a 30-day free trial but, like some of the others, there will be no free plan.
It does far more than just allowing you to store receipts, organize expenses for tax time or send payment reminders. It allows you to fully control your financial life, influencing all of your financial decisions with its balance sheets.
QuickBooks offers real-time dashboards with all the financial information your business may need. It’s a complete tool for anyone who wants a completely manage every aspect of business life.
- With the simple Start Plan, you can track receipts and income, create invoices, help you prepare taxes, divide personal and business trips into different categories, offer a fully integrated cash account, and prepare reports and sheets with all the business core information. It is meant for one user.
- The Essentials Plan allows you to pay bills, clock employees, and track billable hours. It is meant for three users.
- The Plus Plan allows you to track inventory and overseer projects, allowing five users.
- Advanced Plan gives you business analytics and insights.
Now you know everything about the importance and functionality of expense tracking programs and the best options for your small businesses. If you consider trying any other software out, make sure it meets the most important features enumerated in this text.
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