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Expense Management: From Spreadsheets to Expense Software

A spreadsheet may do a lot, but it can only do so much. An expense software can do more than spreadsheets can, making expense management easier.

Businesses have used expense spreadsheets for a long time (and continue to do so!). There’s no denying that they do make expense management organised and more manageable. But what if we tell you that there’s software that can make expense management much easier than spreadsheets ever can?

What Spreadsheets Can Do, Software Can Do Better

We may have thought that expense spreadsheets are the best solution for expense management, but in today’s digital world, something easier and more efficient has come along: expense management software. There may be things that expense or accounting spreadsheets can do, but software can do better.

1. Software saves more time

We’re familiar with the convenient process of copying and pasting, which is one of the functionalities available in spreadsheets. While this is something that can save us time, expense software has certain features that can save even more time.

Software is programmed according to the expense management task you need to do, such as automating your accounts payable or making certain computations—all you need to do is make a quick data entry and leave it all to the expense management software. The software is fully automated, which saves time for everyone involved: from submitters to approvers.

2. Software provides better visibility and transparency

Sure, a budget spreadsheet (especially an online one) can be shared with anyone who needs access. It can even be edited in real time. However, automated expense software can provide real-time data that facilitate quick decision-making.

To put it simply, expense management software makes even the most minute details of the company’s expenses more visible and comprehensible, which is something that’s tough to do with spreadsheets.

Some examples:

      • In just a few clicks, you can see which department made the biggest (and sometimes even unnecessary) spending—a feature that can help the company act quickly and discuss with the said department as soon as possible.
      • Software can help narrow down the best vendors for your company.
      • Software can serve as proof of compliance during your regular audits.

3. Software has better security

While you can use spreadsheets’ password-based security and cell-locking features, that kind of security can be easily interfered with.

Expense management software gives you more peace of mind in terms of security. It has carefully and thoroughly articulated procedures, policies and technology that protect your confidential data.

4. Software is more accessible on various platforms

While spreadsheets can be opened on various platforms such as tablets and mobile phones, they’re still always best comprehended when viewed on a desktop or laptop.

Expense software, on the other hand, is designed to be its best on any platform—especially since app developers always consider mobile-friendliness. This makes it easier for you to view the company’s finances in real time and on the go.

5. Software doesn’t need you to know any formulas

It’s amazing how spreadsheets can do instant computations based on your formula of choice. But why go through the hassle of remembering and inputting a formula when software can easily do the computation without it?

Expense software is already programmed to do the computation it needs to do. All that’s required from your end is quick data entry.

What Spreadsheets Can’t Do, Software Definitely Can

With its improved technology, expense software can definitely do certain things that spreadsheets cannot. Here are some examples.

1. Software has fraud detection and prevention

Spreadsheets have a low level of security—so low that they can’t really detect or prevent fraud! With spreadsheets, it’s also easy to change information without anyone noticing.

Expense software can easily identify issues like out-of-policy claims and warn the necessary people about this violation. They can send alerts if an amount appears to be excessive, and they add an extra layer of review before any payment is sent.

2. Software practically eliminates human error

Software doesn’t depend on formulas manually entered by users. It eliminates human error caused by manual expense filing and has features like receipt scanning which saves employees and approvers from manually reviewing receipts themselves.

Imagine if an employee mistakenly overlooks duplicate receipts—that’s something an expense management software would instantly spot.

3. Software improves company policy

You can’t implement expense policies and guarantee compliance with spreadsheets because they do not have features that detect violations. They simply accept whatever you enter without comprehending that something may be wrong.

On the other hand, expense management software allows you to configure the software based on your company’s expense policies—from liaising with vendors to setting expense limits.

4. Software doesn’t require expertise

With spreadsheets, you’ll need to know or research formulas just to get the data that you want. You start with a blank slate, which means you’ll have to deal with formats, formulas and data entry to get the results you need.

Expense software is already designed to give you the data that you need—no special or prior expertise needed.

5. Software makes data easier to report, view, analyse and share

It’s not easy (or practical) to analyse spreadsheet data, especially with the wide and seemingly endless cells. Expense software makes it easier for you to generate a report based on the data.

These reports can even highlight performances and present overviews as needed.

While spreadsheets have contributed to easier expense management, it still consists of some drawbacks that can be easily solved by expense management software. Investing in expense management software means having fewer errors, better security and visibility and simpler processes for the whole company.

ProSpend is an expense management software in Australia that allows all employees and employers to benefit from speed, simplicity, efficiency and accuracy. Book a demo and see for yourself.

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