Looking for the most efficient expense account software:

Even accountants stress about keeping track of expenses. Keeping mileage records, keeping all receipts (and for meals, the bill AND the credit card receipt). For the past few years, it is now possible to keep our receipts electronically, which is a good thing, knowing that we have to keep our accounting records for 6 years.

In the search for the best management tools for my business, I find that there are many apps for collaboration, project management, time management, but not many that contain a simple and effective expense management tool.

As an accountant, I am looking for THE solution that will handle the whole process from A to Z.

 

The Perfect Expense Management Tool Would Have:

  • Taking pictures of receipts
  • Categorization of expenses (personal or business), link with my billable or non-billable projects
  • Assignment of accounting codes
  • Tax management
  • Simple import to my accounting system

By doing some research, I found Expensify and Zoho Expense. So I tried both. 

 

Expensify

What I Liked

  • Very intuitive, it took me 1 hour to create my account, set up my expenses, import 1 month of transactions and create my first expense account
  • Import of credit card transactions (via an export from my MasterCard website)
  • Customized configuration of spending categories (which can be renamed in French)
  • Creation of rules (e.g. the Stat-Que merchant is put in the Parking category)
  • Export format in Excel or CSV for import into an accounting system
  • Mobile application to take pictures of receipts

What I Didn’t Like:

  • Rates of $5 to $9/month
  • It is not possible to directly import our transactions, because Canadian bank are not listed
  • The photos of the receipts are kept in the application, we can not synchronize on our OneDrive/Dropbox/network
  • The photos that transfer to PDF when our expense account is submitted are quite blurry
  • 5 autoscans are provided in the basic plan

Unanswered questions

  • The application seems to track mileage, is this included in the advanced versions only?
  • Same thing for sales taxes?
  • Is the application compatible with Sage50 Canadian edition (which is different from the US or UK version)?

 

Zoho Expense

Zoho has designed a simple and effective application for self-employed people, but also with many advanced features for companies with dozens of employees.

The app comes with a mobile version, it also allows you to push everything into your accounting system synchronizing with several software such as Zoho Books, Quickbooks, Xero and keep receipts in case of tax audit. Zoho Expenses allows you to do all this and more.

What I Liked

  • There is a basic free version for one user, otherwise it is $2.50/month per user
  • The mobile app allows you to take pictures of receipts and categorize them later
  • There is a character recognition feature, so the merchant, date, amount will already be entered
  • There is a personalized inbox, so you can send transactions that you receive via email
  • You can match spending categories with your current account chart
  • Synchronization with most credit cards to download transactions and facilitate reconciliation
  • Export format in Excel or CSV for import into an accounting system

What I Liked Even More (Advanced Features):

  • Customized approval process by department or team and approval levels
  • Automatic reminders for deadlines
  • Business rules such as a mileage rate, receipt requirement for expenses over $10, maximum amount for an expense type
  • Delegation of your expense account

Zoho focuses a lot on its development, it has partnered with Uber so that receipts are pushed directly into Zoho Expenses when you sync the 2 apps.

The app also tells you the possibility that an expense has been entered twice.

What I Didn’t Like

  • It is not possible to make rules to categorize expenses as it is possible in Zoho Books
  • It is not possible to make a refund by transfer directly into my bank account 

 

My Zoho Expense Choice

Even by using a tool to track my expenses, I can’t say it’s my favorite activity, but Zoho makes my life easier with all the automations and makes it much less tedious than before. And overall, it’s much more efficient in terms of accounting for my business because I have access to detailed expense information when I analyze my financial results and it helps me control costs better.

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