Accounting and Bookkeeping

Receipt Management Apps Vs Expense Management Apps: What's The Difference?

One tracks what you spent, the other puts you in complete control of your business finances. Read on to find out what's different between receipt management and business expense management apps.

Organizing and tracking business expenses is time-consuming and annoying, but it's a necessary task if you want to see where your business funds are going. 

Luckily, there are a number of software tools that make the process easier. Platforms like Expensify and Dext, aka receipt management apps, track spending when it happens by saving receipts at the point of sale—which means no more chasing down paper receipts at the end of the month. 

But (there's always a but, isn't there?), there's a better solution that puts you in complete control of spending. Business expense management apps do more than just store receipts—they actually eliminate expense reports entirely and provide access to spending limits. That means you can not just track expenses, but control them. Your inner control freak is gonna love it. 

Are these apps really that different—or are we just splitting hairs? You be the judge. 

What are receipt management apps? 

Receipt management apps improve the expense process by collecting and organizing business receipts. When an employee makes a purchase, they open the app, take a picture of the receipt, select a category, and maybe add a note or two. Once it's time to reconcile the expense report, the bookkeeper or accountant knows who spent money and what it was for—as long as they saved their receipt in the app.  

These apps can be useful, but there are disadvantages. First, those apps force you to use old-fashioned business credit cards, which have some major drawbacks. For example, it requires a credit check and means giving someone access to your entire credit line. Some receipt management tools don't connect with your bank account, so you might miss expenses if someone forgets to save their receipt. 

Another missing piece of the puzzle is receipt apps can't control what someone spends. If Tony from HR spends $500 on an office pizza party, you won't know until you close the books at the end of the month. Not good. 

Meme of Steve Carell saying 'No! No God Please No! No! Noooo!!

What are business expense management apps? 

Receipt management apps solve the receipt issue—but expense management apps put you in complete control of business spending. In addition to saving receipts and categorizing expenses, they let you control spending by placing limits on where cards can be used and how much is spent. As a result, you always know where your money goes—even before it is spent. Running a business is a full-time job, but managing your finances doesn't have to be with the right expense management app. 

What's the difference between receipt management apps and expense management apps?

Receipt management apps track spending after it's happened. That is useful for businesses looking to get rid of paper receipts. Expense management systems do that and a whole lot more. For example, ClearSpend's business cards limit spending by merchant category and let you place daily, weekly, and per-transaction spending limits. We also provide a detailed dashboard so you can see exactly who spent what and where. Keeping track of your funds has never been easier. 

Meme of Ron Burgundy that says "Today's forecast. 100% chance of winning"

Why business expense management apps are better for bookkeepers and small businesses 

Managing the books for a small business isn't easy—and keeping track of your spending can be a pain in the a**. In addition to tracking receipts and making bookkeeping faster and easier, business expense management tools offer a ton of other nifty features.

Better spend control

Receipt management platforms just track your spending, they don't help you control it. With expense management solutions, you can generate business cards with strict spending controls. For example, you can set merchant categories so cards can only be used for gas or restaurants. Or, set daily or monthly spending limits to keep travel spending under control. You set the rules, but the app handles enforcement. 💪

They don't require you to use credit cards 

There are some benefits to using credit cards for your business—those sweet airline miles, for example.✈️ However, you'll also need a credit check unless you have employees use their own card (here's why that's a bad idea.) Running a credit check takes time and can impact your ability to take out business loans. Plus, when you hand over your credit card, you give the user access to your entire credit line. No bueno. Business debit cards, on the other hand, are pre-funded so you know exactly how much cash you have and where it gets spent. That sales tool you tried but hated? Turning off the billing card means they won't 'accidentally' forget to end your subscription. 

Pushes data to accounting software, which means no more expense reports 

Tired of spending hours every month reconciling expense reports? Expense management apps often integrate with accounting software tools like Quickbooks to input all your expenses automatically. It's like having a little expense fairy… but less creepy. You can say bye to expense reports—and get better visibility into your spending. Bonus, your accountant will have easy access to all your spending data with the click of a button.

Access to spending data 

Knowing where your cash goes isn't just a good idea, it's often a requirement. Investors, the IRS, and your CFO (if you're cool like that) all want to know where funds go. Expense management software offers deeper insights into spending, including tracking spending by card, category, day, etc. Want to know how much Sue spent at that marketing conference or how much the sales team spends on client dinners? With a few clicks, all that data is right at your fingertips.

ClearSpend—the expense management system businesses and accountants love 

Receipt management apps have their place—if all you need to do is store receipts. If you want to waste your time reconciling expense reports and tracking down errant charges, no one's going to stop you. 

If you want a better way to track expenses and control spending, ClearSpend is here to help. Plus, our app is free. No weird charges, no auto-renewing subscriptions. Just a better way to manage your expenses and control business spending. You focus on building your empire and let us take care of expense management.  

More like this