With everything business owners have to keep track of, managing business expenses down to the cup of coffee they bought an assistant might seem like overkill, or one task too many. But owners do need at least an awareness of these expenses to ensure the long-term success of their businesses. Luckily, mobile apps today make it easier than ever to track both small and large expenses. Such apps are common, but each has its own unique features that can make or break its efficiency as a tool, depending on the user’s needs. Here’s some insight into five of the market leading apps, and what each could do for your business.
The BizXpenseTracker app is only available for iPhone or iPad, but among users of that operating system it is consistently one of the best rated expense tracking apps.1 Like many of the offerings on our list, the app can integrate with Google Maps to track a driver’s mileage in real-time. The app also allows for both receipts and billable hours to be tracked and categorized by client, date, or geographic location as needed. After everything is entered, custom reports empower users to take a step back and analyze expenses over time. The app costs a one-time fee of $6.99, and some services within the app, like device-to-device syncing or automatic location tracking, cost extra.
If organizing receipts is the biggest headache of a small business’ expense tracking, an app like Shoeboxed might be the way to go. The app integrates with Gmail to track digital receipts automatically, and images of receipts can also be uploaded as with most expense tracking apps. However, a $39 monthly subscription to the software also comes with prepaid “magic envelopes” that can be loaded up with receipts and mailed in to be digitized. Perhaps most importantly, Shoeboxed can generate PDF reports of all your important receipts when tax filing time comes around, and both the Internal Revenue Service and Canada Revenue Agency accept those as documentation.2
If tracking mileage and other vehicle expenses is important to a business, there are lots of apps out there that can integrate with a phone’s GPS to do the basic task. But TripLog is unique in its emphasis on IRS compliance. The app prompts users to enter all the information the IRS requires, including the odometers start and end readings, the purpose of the trip, and any receipts for gas or necessary service. This app also integrates with one of the earlier ones on our list, Concur, to allow for more nuanced tracking of mileage within a larger system.
For a small business owner coordinating lots of business travel or expenses for remote employees, software like Concur can streamline operations and help achieve more oversight at the same time. Airfare, hotels, and rental cars can all be booked through the app and reservations changed at a moment’s notice too, meaning there’s no need for back and forth of itineraries or sensitive financial information. The software can also be accessed from a desktop browser, allowing ultimate flexibility for employees. Concur is especially ideal for any international business trips, as the app automatically calculates the currency exchange rate.3 Concur prices on a per-transaction basis, but there’s a required minimum spend of $83 a month to start with the software.4
One of the biggest benefits that Expensify can bring to a business is the potential for automatic approval of some expenses based on the company’s policies. If the business owner or manager wants to approve every single expense, that’s an option, or automatic approval can be programmed in for small costs. As soon as the expense is approved, employees who are linked to the app are supposed to be reimbursed for any personal costs within 24 hours. The software integrates with many other programs like QuickBooks, Oracle, and Zenefits to make both accounting and HR recordkeeping more organized. Solo entrepreneurs can use the software for free, while teams can choose to pay either $5 or $9 per user each month for either basic or extended features.
With these apps, small businesses can better manage their expenses, even with teams working on different projects, sometimes in different places, with different considerations that must be made in spending. Today’s versatile, cloud-supported expense tracking apps keep information centralized and secure at the same time. Using one of these tools or others allows business owners the freedom to spend their time thinking about tomorrow’s revenue, not today’s expenses.