A business expense tracker is an app that allows employees and owners to track expenses electronically, process reimbursements, and keep records of receipts. The best business expense trackers should offer flexible pricing plans, be easy to learn and use, record credit card expenses automatically, and have documentation features to reduce paperwork.
Here are our six recommendations for the best business expense tracker apps that can help your business automate expense management and synchronize with your existing systems:
- Zoho Expense: Best overall expense tracker
- QuickBooks Online: Best for small businesses needing a complete bookkeeping system
- Expensify: Best for QuickBooks users needing expense approval and reimbursement
- Rydoo: Best for third-party integration
- FreshBooks: Best for freelancers and solopreneurs
- Emburse Abacus: Best for real-time expense tracking and reconciliation
Zoho Expense: Best Overall Expense Tracker
We’ve placed Zoho Expense as the best overall small business expense tracking app due to its comprehensive features. It can track receipts and expenses, generate reports, create approval flows, and integrate with other apps. Zoho isn’t just a simple expense tracker. It has a suite of apps that can work together to help your business needs.
Our Expert Opinion
We recommend Zoho Expense for its comprehensive features in expense management. If you choose this app, you can track expenses, add them to reports, approve or reject reports, and reimburse employee expenses. Moreover, Zoho Expense can integrate easily with Zoho Books, Zoho’s dedicated accounting software.
However, we find the standalone Zoho Expense app less flexible due to the required minimum users for Premium and Enterprise. Although the Premium plan shares the majority of Enterprise features, some small businesses might find Enterprise features useful for them, such as a dedicated account manager, enterprise resource planning (ERP) integration, and an advanced audit trail. Unfortunately, small businesses with a workforce of fewer than 500 will be stuck at Premium or pay for unneeded users. In this case, we recommend considering Emburse Abacus because it has custom-quoted plans that will adapt to your workforce.
Overall, we still think that Zoho Expense is worth considering. Moreover, if deploying people for fieldwork is part of your business model, Zoho Expense is one of the best mobile accounting apps available today.
QuickBooks Online: Best for Small Businesses Needing a Complete Bookkeeping System
QuickBooks Online is an accounting software program with an excellent built-in expense tracking tool. You can take pictures of receipts using your smartphone and upload them through the app. However, there is no feature for employee expense reports or reimbursements.
Our Expert Opinion
QuickBooks Online is our choice for the best overall small business accounting software, but it can also serve as a small business expense tracking tool. Given that QuickBooks Online is a full-fledged accounting system, we think that choosing QuickBooks Online is a cost-efficient option since it’s already a combination of an expense tracker and bookkeeping software.
We highly recommend QuickBooks if you want a two-in-one software solution for accounting and expense management. If you’re already using QuickBooks Online but are still in need of an app for expense approval and reimbursement, we recommend Expensify as an auxiliary app.
Expensify: Best for QuickBooks Users Looking for Expense Approval and Reimbursement
Expensify is an expense tracking app that focuses on speeding up the recording of expenses. The app is a top fit for expense reporting because of its optical character recognition (OCR), credit card import, expense reporting, workflow approvals, and reimbursements. The features of Expensify reduce the workload of the accounts payable clerk.
Our Expert Opinion
Expensify is highly recommended for businesses that deploy employees on fieldwork because it enables employees to immediately record and submit expenses. Your accounts payable (A/P) clerk will have an easier time booking expenses and can skip the manual encoding of receipts. Workflow approvals also ensure that expenses submitted are allowable under the company’s policies. As a result, employee reimbursements will be faster.
Rydoo Expense: Best for Third-party Integration
Rydoo is an app that offers both expense tracking and travel service. It tracks, compiles, and analyzes your expenses as you would expect from an expense tracking app. What makes it one of the best business expense tracker apps is its ability to track employees’ travel and accommodation expenses directly from the app. Employees can submit expenses via the app and track the status of their submission. They can also reconcile rejected expenses by submitting required documents or amending the expense entries.
Our Expert Opinion
Rydoo is an affordable expense-tracking service for travel expense tracking. You can upload receipts, enter expenses manually, and subject expenses for approval. You can also set roles for the approval workflow. We like Rydoo because it integrates with many apps, especially with ERP packages like Oracle, SAP, and Microsoft Dynamics. While Rydoo helps manage expenses, it doesn’t have a built-in reimbursement feature like Expensify.
FreshBooks: Best for Freelancers and Solopreneurs
FreshBooks is an accounting software program for freelancers and solopreneurs. One of its accounting features is expense tracking. If you’re a freelancer looking for an app that can help organize your project’s accounting needs plus reporting features, FreshBooks is a simple yet intuitive solution that doesn’t require extensive knowledge of accounting systems.
Our Expert Opinion
We recommend FreshBooks for freelancers and entrepreneurs because it’s an all-in-one app that contains accounting, expense tracking, time tracking, and project management. It’s especially good for companies that pass-through expenses to their customers as expenses can be assigned to customers and projects. However, FreshBooks isn’t suitable for businesses that need inventory management. Instead, QuickBooks Online is a great alternative to FreshBooks as it has outstanding inventory accounting.
Abacus: Best for Real-time Expense Tracking and Reconciliation
Abacus is an expense tracking application app that focuses on real-time tracking and easier reimbursement. It has expense policies with approval hierarchies to prevent unauthorized expenses and violations. Moreover, once an expense has been approved, Abacus directly deposits the reimbursement to the employee’s accounts.
Our Expert Opinion
If your focus is real-time expense tracking and reimbursements, we recommend Emburse Abacus. We like Abacus because of its “live” expense reporting. It omits the need for periodic expense reports and directly reports expenses in a continuous report that gets updated every time an expense occurs. Users can also assign approvers to monitor allowable expenses as set by the company policy.
Abacus is a top fit for companies that have a high volume of reimbursable expenses from employees. However, you might want to skip Emburse Abacus if you have a small team or if you’re a freelancer looking for basic expense tracking and bookkeeping. Instead, opting for QuickBooks Online for small teams or FreshBooks for solopreneurs is a better choice.
What’s the Difference Between an Accounting Software and a Business Expense Tracker?
Accounting software tracks income, expense, liabilities, and assets and provides financial statements to monitor your business performance. By definition, accounting software tracks expenses, but it sometimes requires manual entry and doesn’t provide for reimbursements to employees. Expense trackers provide for the easy recording of expenses, often by simply scanning a receipt. Some accounting software has this feature built-in, while other accounting software will need to be integrated with an expense tracker.
In addition to scanning expenses, an expense tracker can help monitor your expenses with detailed charts and reports. Many developers go a step further and include an employee expense submission, approval, and reimbursement process. Others even include integrations with ride-hailing and travel apps to record expenses incurred easily.
When To Use a Business Expense Tracker
Not all businesses need an expense tracker. Some small businesses can adequately manage expenses through a basic bookkeeping system. However, getting an expense tracker becomes important if you meet one or more of the requirements below:
1. Expenses Are Passed on to Customers
Professional and personal services sometimes bill clients or customers for expenses incurred. Many expense trackers allow you to assign expenses to customers and even projects, so the information will be easy to gather when it is time to bill the client.
2. There Is a High Volume of Reimbursable Expense
Some companies reimburse out-of-pocket expenses of their employees. Considering that documentation will be a challenge, having an expense tracker can help employees record their expenses. The tracker facilitates everything and can require the proper documentation to be attached prior to submitting the expense. The digital process and complete documentation will make the submission, approval, and reimbursement process go much faster.
3. There Is a Need To Streamline Business Processes
A streamlined business process flow leads to cost reduction. If your business grows and expands to a larger area, expense tracking via traditional methods can be difficult and costly to manage. Instead of hiring new employees to satisfy the demand for processing, getting a business expense tracker can help you save money. With automated and integrated tracking features, you can retain your current workforce and let them use these tools to reduce their load.
How We Chose the Best Expense Tracker Software
The best small business expense tracking apps must be able to record expenses from incurrence to liquidation. Although expense tracking apps differ, the best apps must have at least four or five of these features:
- Flexible Pricing: Premium expense tracking apps must have flexible pricing plans that match the user’s needs.
- Interface: The app must have an easy-to-navigate and quick-to-learn interface for users without business experience or background.
- Expense Reimbursement and Reconciliation: The app should cater to expense reimbursement and reconciliation for easier expense tracking and matching.
- Third-party App Integration: The app should integrate with essential third-party apps to track expenses incurred through various business activities efficiently.
- Automatic Credit Card Data Import: The app should record expenses incurred and paid for automatically using credit cards to track debt properly.
- Documentation Features: The app must offer convenience features that will lessen paperwork and shorten the process of documenting expenses.
The ideal business expense tracker app doesn’t exist. Each app we recommended above performs well in a given area or business function. All of the apps listed above are the best for their intended use, although they have individual weaknesses. We suggest that you analyze your business’s needs and choose the app that can best meet them.