Top 5 Expense Management Software in 2024

Managing business expenses can be a major pain point for companies of all sizes. From tracking receipts and processing reimbursements to enforcing spending policies and identifying wasteful spending, manual expense management is tedious, error-prone, and costly. This is why more and more businesses are turning to expense management software.

Expense management software automates the entire process of submitting, approving, and reimbursing employee expenses. Features typically include mobile expense reporting, integrated corporate card transactions, receipt capture, automated approvals workflows, and more. Leading solutions integrate with accounting systems and offer real-time visibility into spending.

With so many expense management solutions on the market, how do you choose the right one for your business? I evaluated over 300 expense management software vendors and narrowed down the list to the top 5 based on several key criteria:

  • Employee count of 950+: This indicates an established vendor with the resources to support enterprise clients.
  • G2 review score of 4.5+: High customer satisfaction scores based on user reviews on the software review platform G2.
  • Enterprise references: Vendors with case studies from major enterprises (over $1B valuation). Data sourced from Crunchbase.

The 5 expense management solutions that met these benchmarks are SAP Concur, TripActions, Brex, Zoho Expense, and Emburse. In this guide, I‘ll provide an overview of each platform along with pricing, key benefits, and downsides.

How Expense Management Software Benefits Businesses

Before diving into the top vendors, let‘s look at why businesses should invest in an expense management solution in the first place. Here are some of the major benefits:

Streamlines expense reporting: Employees can easily submit expenses via mobile, with receipt capture, anywhere anytime. No more manual data entry or collecting paper receipts.

Automates approvals: Configurable workflows auto-route employee expense reports for manager approvals. Automated policy enforcement reduces review time.

Increases visibility: Real-time reporting provides insights into spending patterns by employee, department, project, and more. Identify opportunities for savings.

Simplifies reimbursements: Integration with payroll or accounting systems enables automated reimbursement processing and direct bank transfers.

Enforces spending policies: Apply and enforce per diem rates, approval rules, expense types, credit limits, and more to control costs.

Integrates transactions: Sync corporate card purchases to eliminate reconciliation. Data is captured in real time.

Improves compliance: Complete audit trail, required receipts, and expense verification improves regulatory compliance.

Saves money: Research shows that automating expense management can reduce processing costs by over 70%.

With those benefits in mind, let‘s look at the top expense management software solutions for 2024.

1. SAP Concur

SAP Concur is the market-leading expense software with over 40 million users worldwide. It offers comprehensive features for travel and expense management tailored to companies across all industries and geographies.

SAP Concur enables employees to easily book travel, capture and submit expenses, receive approvals, and get reimbursed quickly. It integrates seamlessly with Concur Invoice to fully automate payables processing. The software also includes dedicated modules for mileage tracking, VAT reclamation, and budgeting.

As a mature solution owned by enterprise software giant SAP, SAP Concur is trusted by leading global brands. It integrates with all major ERPs and offers one of the richest Travel & Entertainment (T&E) ecosystems.

SAP Concur Highlights:

  • Mobile app: iOS and Android apps allow employees to book travel, manage itineraries, submit expenses, snap receipts, approve requests, and more.
  • Expense reporting: Flexible options for creating and submitting expense reports with receipt capture, comments, approvals workflow, and more.
  • Compliance: Enforces global regulatory requirements and company expense policies; offers full audit visibility.
  • Integration: Seamless integration with SAP, Oracle, NetSuite and 100+ T&E platforms. Syncs corporate card data.
  • Analytics: Real-time visibility into spending with reports on budgets, transactions, approvals, exceptions, and more.

SAP Concur Pricing

SAP Concur expense pricing is customized based on each client‘s unique requirements and number of users. Published price estimates put the cost at around $8 per expense report. For a company submitting about 250 reports per month, that equates to around $2,400 per year.

SAP Concur offers a free trial so you can experience the solution firsthand.

SAP Concur Benefits

  • Global capabilities: Supports 200+ countries in 40 languages with localized workflows.
  • Travel booking: Integrated travel planning, booking, and payment. Syncs trips to calendar.
  • User experience: Intuitive web and mobile interfaces rated highly by employees.
  • Configurability: Highly customizable rules, workflows, fields, policies, and reporting.
  • Ecosystem: Vast partner network expands capabilities for air, hotel, rideshares, and more.

SAP Concur Downsides

  • Learning curve: Can take time for employees to learn navigation and features.
  • Limited integrations: Doesn‘t integrate natively with some regional travel brands.
  • Occasional bugs: Some users report frustrating system glitches or crashes.

2. TripActions

TripActions is a fast-growing business travel management platform with a focus on delivering exceptional employee experiences. While it lacks some of the expense report features of SAP Concur, TripActions excels at corporate travel booking, cost control, and real-time budget visibility.

TripActions combines travel booking, a consumer-like interface, and proactive travel support to make business travel delightful. Employees can book flights, hotels, cars, and more via web, mobile, or a VIP chat-based personal assistant.

From a cost control standpoint, TripActions offers configurable travel policies, custom approval workflows, and real-time budget dashboards. Its unique rewards program lets employees earn points for picking budget travel options.

TripActions has quickly garnered strong market traction with over 5,000 customers. Its innovative platform is optimized for seamless business travel.

TripActions Highlights:

  • Travel booking: Consumer-style platform to research, book, track, modify and cancel business trips.
  • Mobile experience: Intuitive mobile apps allow employees to manage the entire trip lifecycle.
  • Rewards program: Employees earn rewards points for choosing budget-friendly travel options.
  • Duty of care: Real-time safety features and 24/7 traveler support before, during, and after trips.
  • Analytics: Dashboards reveal spending by vendor, department, employee, policy compliance, and more.

TripActions Pricing

TripActions doesn‘t publicly list pricing on its website. As it primarily makes money on flight and hotel bookings, there is no free trial. Pricing is customized based on expected annual travel spend, number of travelers, and platform needs.

TripActions Benefits

  • Employee experience: Intuitive, consumerized interface makes booking and managing trips effortless.
  • Travel perks: Access to exclusive business travel rates, upgrades, and amenities.
  • Rewards program: Encourages travel policy compliance by incentivizing employees.
  • Duty of care: Real-time safety features provide complete trip visibility and emergency response.
  • Uptime: Cloud delivery ensures consistent 99.9%+ platform availability.

TripActions Downsides

  • Limited capabilities: Doesn‘t offer the depth of expense reporting, receipt processing, and integrations of SAP Concur.
  • Dependence issues: Travel disruptions can only be handled through TripActions, not vendors.
  • Limited payment support: Only integrates with Amex corporate cards, no virtual card issuance.

3. Brex

Brex brings the corporate card into the modern digital era. This fast-growing fintech offers smart virtual and physical cards tailored for business expenses and travel. Brex cards seamlessly integrate with an intuitive expense management solution.

Designed for high-growth companies, Brex combines unmatched customer service and technology innovation. All Brex cards offer:

  • Real-time expense syncing
  • Configurable spend limits and category-level controls
  • No personal guarantee or deposit
  • Scalable credit lines
  • 30-day credit periods
  • 2% back on recurring software spend

For travel, the Brex Corporate Card for Travel comes with free travel and purchase protections, lounge access, and exclusive deals. Brex is strictly targeted at U.S. tech/life sciences businesses with funding.

Brex Highlights

  • Virtual cards: Instantly issue cards to employees with custom limits and permissions.
  • Real-time sync: Transactions immediately show in Brex expense reporting.
  • Receipt capture: Snap photos of receipts through mobile app.
  • Automated reconciliation: Charges automatically reconcile with card statements.
  • Contactless payments: Cards support Apple/Google Pay, tap to pay, and mobile wallets.

Brex Pricing

Brex doesn‘t disclose pricing online. The corporate card, business cash account, spend management, and bill pay each have their own fee structures. Minimum account fees start at $9/month.

Brex Benefits

  • Tech-first experience: Intuitive, mobile-first interface modeled after consumer apps.
  • Control: Granular controls and instant card locking provide unparalleled oversight.
  • Scalability: Credit limits automatically adjust to match cash balances and funding events.
  • Earned benefits: Card earns high-value rewards, lounge access, and travel protections.
  • Premium support: Account managers provide white-glove onboarding and support.

Brex Downsides

  • Limited card options: Only issues Mastercard, not Visa, Amex, or virtual card numbers.
  • Domestic only: Service only available to U.S. entities; no international support.
  • Can‘t switch cards: Prepaid debit model means companies can‘t migrate existing corporate cards.

4. Zoho Expense

Zoho Expense offers an affordable, full-featured expense reporting solution tailored for SMBs. It makes expense reporting easy for employees while providing automation and oversight capabilities for finance teams.

At its core, Zoho Expense replaces manual expense reporting with an intuitive web and mobile app. Employees can quickly create and submit reports with attached receipts. Configurable approval workflows route reports to managers for review.

Robust integration capabilities allow Zoho Expense to sync expense data with popular corporate cards, ERP systems, payroll providers, and business travel platforms. Rules-based compliance helps companies control costs.

Zoho Expense Highlights

  • Receipt OCR: AI-powered OCR extracts key details from scanned or photographed expense receipts.
  • Mileage claims: Employees can submit mileage reimbursements based on trips.
  • Travel booking: Out-of-the-box integrations with major travel systems.
  • Real-time sync: Imports transactions from corporate cards and T&E platforms.
  • Configurable workflows: Set rules and approval flows and enforce spending policies.

Zoho Expense Pricing

Zoho Expense offers four pricing tiers, starting at $9 per user/month for the Standard plan up to $40 per user/month for the Enterprise tier. Volume discounts are available.

Zoho Expense offers a free 15-day trial period.

Zoho Expense Benefits

  • Affordable pricing: Competitive pricing tailored for SMB budgets.
  • Platform integrations: Seamless connections with popular business apps.
  • Easy to use: Clean, intuitive interface for employee and manager users.
  • OCR capabilities: Extracts key details and populates reports. Reduces data entry.
  • Access controls: Managers can approve, edit, audit, and run reports on all expenses.

Zoho Expense Downsides

  • Limited capabilities vs. large EMS: Less suited for global enterprises compared to SAP Concur.
  • Occasional bugs: Some users report issues with receipt scanning and integrations.
  • Support challenges: Support responses can sometimes be slow.

5. Emburse

Emburse offers a full-featured expense management platform designed for enterprise scalability, control, and compliance. It combines automated expense reporting with invoice processing, travel bookings, payment capabilities, and spend visibility.

Emburse integrates tightly with popular ERPs, accounting systems, and corporate card providers to seamlessly sync financial data. Smart workflows auto-route expenses based on rules, while AI streamlines reporting. Managers gain clear oversight into spend.

Emburse also provides industry-specific capabilities for construction, energy, non-profits, education, and more. Its acquisition of Certify and Chrome River expanded its travel and expense management proficiency.

Emburse Highlights

  • Smart receipts: AI-enabled expense reporting identifies receipt contents and extracts key data.
  • Corporate card integrations: Syncs transactions from all major card providers.
  • Auto-coding: Automatically codes expenses to correct GL codes.
  • Spend automation: Enforces policies, routes approvals, and expedites reimbursements.
  • Travel booking: Integrated travel planning and booking engine.

Emburse Pricing

Emburse expense pricing starts at $8 per active user per month. Discounted annual subscriptions are available for Standard, Plus, and Premier packages. Custom Enterprise pricing is also offered. Emburse offers a free trial.

Emburse Benefits

  • Global capabilities: Supports 200+ countries and 150+ currencies.
  • Configurability: Highly customizable fields, rules, workflows, policies and reporting.
  • Scalability: Can support small businesses up to global enterprises.
  • Integrations: Seamless connections with ERPs, travel systems, payment networks, and more.
  • Compliance: Facilitates compliance with regulatory requirements and company policies.

Emburse Downsides

  • Learning curve: Can be challenging for employees and managers to learn.
  • Occasional glitches: Some users report frustrating system errors.
  • Limited mobile functionality: Mobile app lacks capabilities beyond basic expense submission.

Best Expense Management Software: Key Buying Considerations

Here are some key factors to evaluate as you determine the right expense management solution for your business:

  • Deployment method: Options include cloud/SaaS, on-premises, or desktop. Consider IT requirements.
  • Travel integration: Does the system offer integrated travel booking and management?
  • Global capabilities: Evaluate language, currency, regulatory, and tax support.
  • Mobile functionality: Assess mobile app features and experience.
  • Configurability: How flexible is the platform for configuring custom fields, rules, workflows, etc?
  • Implementation and training: Factor in IT and internal resources required for rollout.
  • Support and services: Look for 24/7 customer support and access to implementation specialists.
  • Security: Review third-party audits and compliance with regulations like SOC 2, GDPR, and more.

Choose the Best Expense Management Software for Your Business

The right expense management software makes business spend management easy for employees, finance teams, and leadership. However, the options can seem overwhelming. Focus on your top priorities and must-have capabilities as you evaluate solutions:

  • Are global capabilities required? Prioritize SAP Concur or Emburse.
  • Is an amazing travel booking experience critical? Consider TripActions.
  • Do you want real-time sync with corporate card spend? Brex integrates transactions seamlessly.
  • Does intuitive, lightweight software appeal most? Zoho Expense gets high marks for usability.

Whichever platform you choose, expense automation delivers huge time and cost savings over manual processes. Companies report up to 90% faster expense processing and over 70% lower costs. The right software pays for itself through increased productivity and streamlined financial operations.

Implementing EMS sets your business up for scalable growth and spend visibility. Employees have an easy experience no matter where they are. And finance leaders gain real-time insight and control over expenses across the organization.

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