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The Expense Management Software Dictionary

The introduction of digital receipts, the SaaS (Software as a Service) revolution and the widespread adoption of smartphones in the workplace has enabled companies to streamline the financial processes exponentially over the last decade.

Introduction

Whether you are actively looking to modernise your expense management process or simply want to see what cutting edge solutions have to offer in terms of lowering processing costs, increased control & compliance, fraud prevention and efficiency gains - The Expense Management Software Dictionary should be the first point of call.

From OCR scanning to API integrations, The Expense Management Software Dictionary outlines all of the phrases and terminology you are likely to encounter whilst researching expense solutions.

Accounting Integration

Integration in terms of software is process of linking and sharing data between multiple systems. Seamlessly connecting expense data with your organisations Accounting software is an essential part of the expense process.

Aggregated data

Data combined from several sources and presented in a summarised form. Aggregated data within Expense Management Software enables Finance Professionals to gain insights into spend, ensuring informed strategic decisions can be made without hours of data analysis and amalgamation.

Analytics

The study and analysis of patterns within data and statistics. Analytic solutions present data in clear and easy to understand formats. Analytics within expense management enables users to identify spend patterns, potential issues and fraud within an organisation.

API

Acronym of ‘Application Programme Interface‘. A set of computer programming procedures, definitions and rules that enable multiple programs to communicate with one another. APIs within Expense Management Software are frequently utilised to enable communication between the expense solution and third party Accounting and ERP systems.

Approval & Control Flow

The systematic procedure of checking information before sign off. Expense Management Software utilises Approval and Control Flows to ensure compliance with company policies and rules. Approval and Control Flows pass data to Managers and the Finance team for sign off and reporting before expenses are reimbursed.

Auto VAT / Tax Calculations

Tax rates vary dependant on location and the services / items purchased. Expense Management Software should eliminate the need to manually assign tax information by using predefined rates based on the region your business operates within. Automating calculations and accurately assigning the correct rates can significantly improve efficiently whilst reducing the margin for error.

Big Data

Large amounts of data that can be analysed by software to understand patterns and trends. Within expense management the analysis of big data is useful within large corporations and organisations that process a large volume of expenses.

BYOD / BYOT

Acronyms of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ and ‘Bring Your Own Technology’. BYOD and BYOT refer to business policy that allows employees to use personal devices to access work related files and programmes.

Cash Advances

An alternative to retrospectively claiming business expenses, companies can use cash advances to manage expense expenditure. Controlling cash advances through Expense Management Software enables companies to select cash advances as an alternative payment method.

Categories / General Ledger Accounts

An internet-based network of remote servers to store, manage and process data. Cloud and web-based Expense Management Software significantly reduces set-up and maintenance costs as expensive infrastructure is not required.

Cross-platform / Multi-platform

Cross-platform solutions enable end users to access their system on multiple operating systems and devices. Within organisations (particularly BYOD) there will be multiple devices utilised dependant on department and responsibilities. Cross-platform expense solutions allow end users to scan receipts from their Android, iPhone or email enabled device

Custom Fields

The ability to add bespoke fields to input forms. Adding custom fields to expense entries enables companies to report on the the inputted values. For example custom fields within Expense Management Software could be used to label billable expenses to ensure invoices are created and followed up.

Diems / Per Diem

Per diem is Latin for for ‘per day’ / ‘each day’. A per diem is a designated monetary value for an individual’s daily expenses. Per diem rules vary dependant on the expense category and within different regions worldwide. Leading Expense Management Software works in accordance with local and international legislation making per diem compliance simple for organisations.

Expense Rules and Alerts

The ability to set up custom Expense Rules and Alerts that flag entries when employees submit expenses outside the policy rules. Expense Rules and Alerts within Expense Management Software enables companies to identify and take appropriate action in relation to unusual expenses.

Linked Accounts

Linked Accounts within Expense Management Software allows you to give someone else delegated access to your account. Linked Accounts are often used by Personal Assistants or Accountants who manage specific employee expenses.

Mileage and Mileage Rates

Mileage claims often account for a high proportion of total expense claims, particularly within high travel organisations. Leading expense solutions utilise GPS data to get an exact overview of the miles driven so expenses can be accurately calculated.
Mileage Rates and Allowances for business travel vary based local legislation and company policy. The ability to set custom mileage rates helps automate the expense process for employee, Manager and Finance professionals.

OCR / OCR Scanning

Acronym of ‘Optical Character Recognition’, a technology that enables the extraction and conversion of text from multiple document types including .pdf files, images, paper based documents, emails etc.
In regard to Expense Management Software, OCR scanning enables users to capture images of physical receipts and extract the data required to submit expenses (merchant, amount, currency etc.). OCR technology enables expense digitisation and automation from multiple devices and sources

Paperless

Proper storage of receipts for claimed expenses is mandatory business practice. In the majority of countries receipts can be legally be stored digitally, therefore decreasing the reliance on paper and eliminating the chance of lost receipts.
Expense Management Software should adhere to local tax legislation and store receipts in a format that is appropriate to authorities (HMRC, IRS, FOD etc.). The digitisation of receipts ensure employees can be reimbursed even if the physical copy of receipts are lost.

Payment Methods

The Payment Method used to purchase expensed items or services. Dependant on the purchased item or service varying payment methods will be used. Payment Methods for business expenses include:
• Credit Card Transactions
• Bank Transactions
• Multiple Cards Management
• Secure FTP Transfer (See below for definition)
• Custom Bank Connections
Varying payment methods require a multitude of integrations and APIs within Expense Management Software to process and match expenses correctly. It is important Expense Management Software providers work with all of your organisations payment methods.

Real Time / Real Time Reporting

By scanning and analysing live data real time views of specific information can be presented. In regard to Expense Management Software, Real Time Reporting enables users to monitor expense expenditure regardless of the time and place.
Real Time functionality can be particularly useful for reporting and analysis outside of structured management reports.

Receipt Scanning

In regard to Expense Management Software, Receipt Scanning is the process of utilising OCR scanning technology to digitise a receipt. This enables receipt data to be stored and shared between systems with ease.

SaaS

Acronym of ‘Software as a Service’. A delivery model in which software is licensed and sold on a subscription basis. SaaS solutions are typically licensed on an annual or monthly fee and are charged per user. The SaaS model significantly reduces initial outlay as expensive hosting infrastructure is not required by the purchasing company.

Secure FTP

Secure File Transfer Protocol. The process of safely syncing and accessing data over a network. Expense Management Software providers utilise Secure FTP to export expense data to software where there is no direct integration (e.g. SAP).

Split Expenses

Split Expenses enables expenses to be split across multiple cost centres. For example, a business conference could include hotel and WIFI expenses. Split Expenses could be utilised to assign the two expenses to different categories. Spilt Expense functionality is often utilised for purchases that include multiple items with different VAT rates.

Transactions Match

Matching submitted expenses with bank/ card transactions helps reduce expense fraud as proof of purchase can be verified. Integrating this data with Accounting software enables accurate financial reporting.

Next Steps

Simply browsing the market, or looking to implement Expense Management Software within your organisation? A quick read of the Expense Management Software Dictionary will have you up to speed with industry specific and techy terminology in no time.

For more information on Expense Management Software secure your place for an introductory webinar.

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