Bento For Business

How Does Spend Management Software Differ From Traditional Expense Tracking Methods?


How much should you prioritize your business spend management software?

All businesses need to ask themselves this question. Your spend management solution can be one of your company’s most valuable commodities.

A robust spend management system offers your organization two high-level benefits that will solidify its future:

  • It contributes to a financial safety net that keeps your company in favorable financial standing (even during turbulent times).
  • You’ll find profits previously hiding in inefficiencies. In other words, you’re eliminating budgetary bloat (or trimming financial fat).

State-of-the-art spend management tools developed by leading spend management companies like Bento can make magic happen for your company.

Nonetheless, practicing caution before investing in such a tool is wise. You want to avoid ending up with business spend management software that doesn’t add value across the board.

Your business might be more familiar with a traditional expense tracking approach like spreadsheets. You’ve already gotten this far, and gambling on new tech comes with risks. That said, there’s a reason you’re reading this page–you want to optimize your business spending management.

Read on as we explain how much more a modernized spend management platform and related software can do for your business than traditional expense tracking.

What is Spend Management Software?

How Does Spend Management Software Differe From Traditional Expense Tracking Methods

In a nutshell, spend management software is any technology focused on streamlining the management of employee expenses.

Business spend management has a broad spectrum, from basic receipt scanning tools to linking credit facilities to accounting software.

While some more antiquated tools are capable of heightening expense tracking efficiency, they don’t often help with the following business-spend facets:

  • Business credit cards:
    • Finding technology to improve company credit card expense tracking will increase accountability, limit fraud risks, and provide real-time spending oversight. Older, more traditional tools fail on this front, keeping businesses in the dark on company credit card comings and goings.
  • Petty cash:
    • Using less advanced or comprehensive spend management tech often leads to businesses keeping boxes full of loose cash and coins. Petty cash usage is challenging to track, and the process tends to lack firm rules.
  • Expense claims:
    • Without a state-of-the-art spend management app (or broader platform), employees will reach into their own pockets to pay business expenses. Then, they have to hold onto receipts, fill in their claim form, and wait weeks for reimbursement.

Premium business spend management software like Bento handles all these elements. However, is it necessary for all companies to use something as comprehensive as Bento?

Can Smaller Businesses Benefit From Business Spend Management Software?

The term “small business” has many meanings.

Our government bases its “small business” classification on the following factors:

  • Employment:
    • Small businesses may have between 100 and 1,500 employees.
  • Revenue:
    • Small businesses can earn between $1 million to $40 million.

These ranges vary, depending on the industry. For instance, a contractor that earns up to $16.5 million in revenue is classified as a small business.

We bring up these numbers to illustrate a point. Small businesses also have many employees, comings, goings, and expenses to track. Traditional expense tracking often won’t do the trick, given the speed companies must move to stay ahead.

What about solopreneurs and freelancers? Do they need something like Bento?

The answer would depend on the scope of your business. Basic tools can be beneficial if your operation is bare bones and components like procurement spend management or company credit cards aren’t significant factors.

One-person or similarly small-scale operations benefit more from simplicity. Thus, a straightforward bookkeeping tool like Wave can make a world of difference.

Still, Wave is a very standard accounting tool. It’s a step up from only using spreadsheets but not much more. However, tracking expenses as a solopreneur is reasonably straightforward. Paying for something like Bento wouldn’t quite fit this scenario.

Let’s say that smaller-scale operations are starting to grow–that’s when business spend management software will prove vital.

The Pitfalls Of Traditional Expense Tracking Tools.

The Pitfalls Of Traditional Expense Tracking Tools

Spoiler: We will focus primarily on Excel Spreadsheets in this section.

Why are we fixated on this Microsoft staple?

Nearly half of surveyed small and medium-sized businesses still use Excel.

Also, 16% of enterprise-level companies still use Excel. While that number is exponentially smaller than SMBs, it’s still eyebrow-raising. There are over 40,000 enterprise-level businesses in the US. Applying that percentage means 6,400 larger-scale companies rely on manual expense tracking forms.

Too many moving parts exist within these organizations–both big and small–to rely on manual processes. Below, we’ll delve into the pitfalls of companies failing to move on from traditional expense tracking methods like Excel:

Manual Procedures Are Conducive To Human Error.

Research shows that 90% of spreadsheets have errors in them.

We’re not saying these errors are always the end of the world. A rigorous accounting team can potentially mitigate potential snafus by spotting these mistakes before they lead to more significant issues. Still, we’ll tell you one cautionary tale:

Fidelity Magellan’s accountant accidentally omitted the minus sign on a net loss of $1.3 billion, causing a $2.6 billion overstatement.

Will your company experience that level of catastrophic blunder? Well–that’s hard to predict. We’ll say no, though, based on the law of averages. It’s likelier that steadily mounting human errors will cause continual losses that steadily chip away at your bottom line.

Also, manual processes like spreadsheets can’t keep up as your company grows. Your data sets will increase in complexity, virtually guaranteeing errors.

Without the appropriate tools, you’d be amazed at how quickly expenditure and invoice tracking can become abstract estimates instead of factual data.

The Manual Expense Tracking Process Is Time Consuming And Inefficient.

Manual processes will impede the overall productivity of your expense tracking department as your business’s analysis, review, and tracking needs evolve.

Excel spreadsheets only allow you to validate your data via manual processes. More to the point, your expense tracking team will need to manually double-check for inaccurate information, then re-enter their correction.

This arrangement is bad for business even if no alternative exists. However, tools like Bento do exist. They automate and streamline these processes. They vastly reduce the time consumption and labor intensiveness of spend management tasks.

Conversely, Excel chews into your team’s day, halting their contributions to your company.

We fully embrace the philosophy that managing business spend greatly benefits any company. It’s the foundation on which our software was built. Yet, the many related tasks are menial and repetitive for your team of experts.

Your employees shouldn’t be bogged down by spreadsheets. Instead, they should be empowered to focus on your company’s big picture with a tool like Bento.

A Lack Of Organizational Cohesion.

Only one user can access Excel spreadsheets at a time to modify the data since they’re a single file.

Moreover, collaboration and cohesion between departments can be a struggle since manual sharing is required. Colleagues might also have to email a spreadsheet copy to one another.

Significant issues arise because expense management data via Excel spreadsheets must be regularly shared and proofed across multiple departments and teams.

Ensuring everyone has the most updated expense data becomes a severe stressor and causes further errors.

Excel Spreadsheet Inaccuracy Stifles Your Competitive Edge.

Your most substantial competitive advantage in business is lightning-quick decision-making. Proactivity is a must because reactivity means you’re behind the pack.

Excel spreadsheets lead to errors and slowed-down processes, directly impeding the speed of your decision-making.

You’ll need to obtain invoices and expense data from multiple departments. Then, you’ll need to summarize and consolidate this information, which will sap your schedule. Also, everyone will have to vet the data to remove all potential inaccuracies. This inefficiency further chews into the workday.

By the time your company finishes all these tasks, your faster-moving competitors will have gained an edge. Or you’ll have missed a chance to gain a leg up on your industry rivals.

Spreadsheets Don’t Offer Real-Time Data.

The non-existent real-time data in Excel spreadsheets means every update necessitates manual input.

There’s an overlap between this pitfall and your loss of competitive edge. Without readily accessible real-time data, you won’t have your finger on the pulse. You can’t act with swiftness and authority while your competition can.

Furthermore, modification is a continual hurdle with Excel spreadsheets and is often done at the end of a workday. Usually, this entails daily paper recordkeeping. Records must then be manually entered into the Excel spreadsheet a few days (or weeks) later.

The inefficiencies plaguing this process can’t be overstated. It wastes time, increases the likelihood of inaccuracies, and hampers your decision-making.

An Increased Chance Of Data Loss.

Unlike with more modernized tools like Bento, data storage and backup aren’t seamless with Excel spreadsheets.

These days, data is the most valuable commodity in the world. Every bit of data you have must be protected like a precious gem.

Additionally, data is the world’s most vulnerable commodity.

Excel spreadsheets increase those vulnerability levels–especially if there’s only one version of your expense spreadsheet in a single location (e.g., a desktop). In this instance, there’s a strong chance you won’t recover all your data if there’s a technical issue. The resulting damage could be monumental if data is vital and sensitive.

Industries That Have Embraced The Bento Difference.

Do you run a construction business that needs help with spend management? 90% of projects in your industry face cost overrun. Thus, a tool to manage expenses could prove vital to your long and short-term success.

Maybe, you’re running a fleet–in which case, managing high costs is one of your most significant challenges. A streamlining business spend management tool can optimize efficiency and save money, giving you extra financial cushioning in the age of inflation.

There’s also a chance you’re part of a leadership team at a nonprofit. Companies like yours across the US spend billions on administrative expenses. The charity of strangers can only take you so far when your company–by definition–will never turn a profit.

Perhaps, you’re a tech startup founder. In this case, you know the importance of remaining lean and staying on top of your business expenses. Over 80% of small businesses fail because of cash flow issues. A business spend management tool will track your expenses to help build your protective financial cushion as your startup grows.

You could work in any number of professional services (e.g., marketing, law, or accounting). A business spend management tool can pay substantial dividends. For instance, you may have exponential Travel and Entertainment expenses–staying on top of these costs can be the difference between profiting and floundering.

At Bento, we’ve worked extensively with companies in all the above sectors. Business leaders in those industries realize the need to evolve with the times. Their business expense tracking needs are far too complex for traditional methods like Excel spreadsheets.

Why Should You Choose Bento For Your Business?

Optimizing your approach to business expenses has many moving parts. To this point, your spend management processes may involve any of the following components:

  • Budgeting
  • Credit card dispersal.
  • Invoices
  • Analytics and reporting.
  • Various accounts.
  • Receipts
  • Policy creation and updating.

These facets are the tip of the iceberg. Thus, their existence as separate parts can fracture elements of your business model.

You can’t afford staggered processes in today’s fast-moving world. The above components must function in collective harmony. They need to be accessible in a one-stop-shop, turnkey environment–which is what Bento offers your business.

The results speak for themselves. Our cutting-edge spend controls have saved our customers a grand total of $ 85,568, 454+.

Once you’ve researched our product and spoken with our reps, you’ll realize just how obsolete Excel spreadsheets are. The difference is more than night and day–it’s more akin to the past and the future. Bento is ten steps ahead of the here-and-now with our industry-leading business spend management tech.

What About Options Like QuickBooks?

We don’t have an issue with software like QuickBooks–we think it’s valuable to companies. That’s why we integrate our technology with this accounting software.

QuickBooks also has expense tracking capability via receipt scanning tech.

However, similar to a tool like Wave, QuickBooks is one-dimensional. The spend management capabilities it offers are more of an accessory. QuickBooks functions best when paired with a more comprehensive tool (like Bento).

Alternatively, Bento reaches all ends of the business spend management spectrum.

How Can Bento Boost Your Bottom Line?

The key to Bento’s money-saving benefits is our tool’s ability to trim the fat with business spending.

You can set daily spend limits with our software. Additionally, you can restrict merchant categories and international transactions.

We also remedy the headaches caused by company credit card thefts (or misplacements). You can quickly turn off lost or stolen credit cards at the press of a button to prevent unauthorized charges. 

On average, our clients experience a 15% reduction in spending after switching to our accounting platform and virtual/corporate cards from traditional methods (e.g., cash).

How Can Bento Save Time During The Workday?

We’ve already established the time-consuming inefficiencies of traditional expense tracking methods like spreadsheets.

You’ll eliminate these time-sapping processes with Bento For Business. With us, approval workflows won’t be required, and you can set up unique controls customized to each card.

Also, you’ll cut down on time spent making and monitoring expense reports.

Your heightened proactivity is a primary benefit offered by Bento’s business spend management software. This crucial advantage stems from our real-time expense tracking tools.

The big-picture benefits of our time-saving features can’t be overstated. As the old saying goes, time is money. Each hour saved through our platform is another hour your team can spend brainstorming your next winning initiative.

Reducing Workloads With Bento.

Overextending your team can cause burnout, which hampers productivity and adversely impacts their commitment to your company.

Keeping your team’s workload in check ensures they remain focused, sharp, and ready to deliver impactful results.

Our efficient reporting and receipt capture tools(powered by AI) reduce workloads while increasing productivity.

We offer one central storage source for receipts and expense reports. This prevents information silos and the need for departments to chase down updated information.

Bento’s automated expense reporting eliminates another time-intensive task that can impede your (or your team’s) long-term focus.

The Bento Spend Management platform also seamlessly exports data to accounting platforms like QuickBooks.

Lastly, our travel reimbursement software ensures everyone is paid back immediately with zero effort required.

These comprehensive tools neutralize the energy-sapping nature of administrative work. Plus, they enable you to close your books without breaking a sweat.

Want To Learn More? Contact A Bento Rep Today!

Want To Learn More Contact A Bento Rep Today

You run a modern business that requires advanced solutions. It’s time to leave traditional expense tracking methods where they belong: in the past. More importantly, it’s time to take a giant leap into the future (and the here and now) with Bento For Business’s Business Spend Management platform.

Contact us to discuss what Bento can do for your business!

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