Get a Business Expense Tracker Made by an Expert
Our expense tracker enables you to track expenses, mileage, and reimbursements in one place. You can do it yourself, or explore free software solutions that do it all for you.
You track expenses for a few reasons:
- Creating reasonable budgets
- Forecasting expenses
- Reimbursing employees
- You just have to (taxes)
Tracking small business expenses is important, but without the right tools it can be time consuming and challenging. To keep all of this from getting out of hand, we put together a few resources you can use to stay ahead of expense tracking from the beginning, or clean up the business expenses you’ve been meaning to get to.
Download your free business expense tracker
Microsoft Excel is a reasonable option for keeping track of businesses expenses if your business is still simple enough to avoid accounting software, expense tracking for multiple employees, or multiple business credit cards.
The tracker contains options for line-item expense management, mileage tracking, and employee reimbursement submissions.
How to use the line-item expense tracker
To use the expense tracker, simply add your line items to the list, making sure to fill out each of the details on each transaction. The column on the far right will total your expenses over the period!
How to use the mileage tracker
Employees can use the mileage tracker to log business travel which will be reimbursed by the company. Using the odometer section, input the reading from the vehicle into the “start” and “end” columns to produce the total in the “mileage” column.
How to use the employee reimbursement form
Employees can add their expenses to each line item in the sheet, and then print the final report to be signed and approved by their manager. Using the “expense categories” column to the right of the report, you can add or remove categories for your employees to choose from.
For more templates, check out our expense report templates article. If managing expenses in excel feels a bit cumbersome, don’t worry. There are plenty of apps that can do it for you. Let’s review a few of the best options.
What is an expense tracker app?
Business expense tracker apps let you manage your business expenses by capturing receipts, filing expense reports, and tracking spend against budgets.
Rather than compiling reports manually in excel, small business owners can use expense tracking apps to automate the uploading of paper receipts, log expenses, or produce detailed reporting. There are plenty of options out there for expense tracking, but we’ve put together a list of the best business expense trackers to consider for your workflows.
Expensify is a reimbursement-focused expense platform that has functionality geared towards receipt-based expense logging. They have iOS and Android versions as well as a webapp, and the platform has been around for quite some time.
The plus side to expensify is that they do a great job scaling to track expenses across any number of employees. Unfortunately, Expensify is ONLY focused on expense reimbursement, so they won’t provide the level of budget tracking and reporting you’d get from other options on the list.
A great expensify alternative, Shoeboxed provides mobile and web versions of a simple receipt uploading app. If all you need is to keep track of your receipts ahead of tax time, shoeboxed is a cheap, simple alternative to more involved tracking.
Quickbooks is the heaviest app on the list, encompassing much more than expense tracking. Quickbooks is a full suite of budgeting, financial management and bookkeeping tools that may be above and beyond your needs if you’re just looking to manage budgets, taxes, and expense tracking.
Quickbooks is built for accountants, so users without formal accounting and finance training might find the platform has a steep learning curve. That said, if you’re willing to put in the time or have a team member who can manage the platform full-time, Quickbooks can be a great all-in-one alternative to some of the other options on the list.
Concur is another travel-focused expense app, mostly geared towards large enterprise environments. Rather than tracking expenses, Concur allows employees to book travel directly through the platform, and then integrates with other financial software on the backend. They take a portion of each transaction rather than a monthly fee, so high-volume users can end up paying more for the service.
Concur offers web and mobile versions, and the main advantage for employers is simplicity, never needing to deal with reimbursements, but at the expense of some flexibility in booking options.
Freshbooks is a simple quickbooks alternative that provides a clean expense-reporting environment that automatically syncs with your business bank accounts. Like quickbooks, freshbooks covers the full suite of services from invoicing to time tracking to payments, but users with less accounting experience may find the platform a bit easier to use. The downside of the added simplicity is that freshbooks is a less customizable platform overall than quickbooks.
Another quickbooks alternative, Xero is known for a user friendly interface on top of an advanced set of accounting tools. Their expense tracking features allow for the uploading of receipts and line-item tracking, but the platform in general provides a robust accounting feature-set, a free trial, and simple pricing. Xero offers iOS and Mobile apps, and integrates with most other financial tools on the market to streamline the process.
What is spend management?
Spend management is the process of controlling cash burn. With the right tools, you can do this in real time.
With expense management, employees typically spend their own money, report it after the fact with an expense report, and request reimbursement from the company. If they spent on something unauthorized, you have to deny the reimbursement, and have a tough conversation with the employee about why they have to pay for the charge that they thought the company would cover. Uncomfortable, and definitely something you’d like to avoid.
With spend management, the authorization and approval move from the end of the process to the beginning, before the spend even happens. Expense reports are completely eliminated.
Lola.com is spend management software that gives you real time control of your company spend. Learn more here.