Whether you fly around the world for business or just pay for parking at the court house, you may incur expenses that should be paid for by the business. Whether you are a solo or part of a large firm, properly tracking expenses is critical so that you are reimbursed and you have good documentation for the IRS.
There are many ways you can track expenses from an envelope with all your receipts and paper and pencil reports to excel or sophisticated tools designed to make reporting easier. When it comes to reporting tools there are many in the market that integrate with QuickBooks.
Some of these programs let you take pictures of your receipts – no more lost or torn receipts – and link them to your expense report. You can download charges from your credit card, upload your receipts and quickly create your expense report. You then submit the report from your computer, no paper involved. If approval is required the approver will be notified that the report is ready. Once approved it is submitted to the accounting system for payment and client billing.
The goal of using an expense reporting system is to simplify the process. Paper and duplication of entries is eliminated which reduces the likelihood of errors and lost transactions. The approval process is built in to the system which minimizes the chance of something being submitted without proper authorization. Employees are reimbursed more quickly making for happy employees and client expenses are better documented and captured which helps firm profitability.
First identify the requirements of your firm. Do you need to download credit card expenses? Do you need an approval process with single or multiple levels of approval? What devices does your firm use – Android, IPhone, Windows Phone? Whatever solution you choose, you want to make sure it will work for all the people in your firm.
Next it is key that the software integrates with your software. If you are using QuickBooks Online you probably want to start in the Intuit App Center at https://appcenter.intuit.com; although some Apps that work with desktop versions of QuickBooks are also shown there. You can also find other products designed almost exclusively for QuickBooks desktop in the Intuit Marketplace at http://marketplace.intuit.com/. If you search for expense management in either site you will find lists of applications, probably 10 to 12 on each site (some may overlap from one site to the other).
Begin your analysis by reading not only the discussion about each product, but also the reviews written by users. These will help you make certain the product has the features you need.
Contact the sales department if you have questions that need to be answered before you decide.Many vendors offer free webinars where you can learn about the programs and see them in action as well as ask questions.
Get a test account in whichever applications have the most appeal and take it for a spin. Many of the products offer from 15-day to 60-day test trials to give you time to see how the product work both ‘in the field’ as well as in how it integrates with QuickBooks. Even if you don’t go through the entire process of uploading reports to your accounting software, you want to make sure you will feel comfortable with whatever you choose.
Whatever you decide, the right software choice will make expense reporting less painful and help you get paid faster.