Higher Ed Review of Chrome River
Updated March 30, 2022

Higher Ed Review of Chrome River

Benjamin Dahlke | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 9 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Emburse Chrome River

We use Chrome Rive Expense for university purchase card and travel management, to include travel pre-approvals. It is used across the whole organization--to include 3 sister campuses. It addresses university purchase card receipts and invoice management, accounting reviews, reporting, and audit functions. It eliminated a cumbersome and wasteful paper-based system and automated the approval and review process.
  • Chrome River uses a clean operating environment to include a companion mobile app.
  • Provides multiple (simple) ways to upload receipts.
  • It includes 100s (1000s?) of business rule customizations, and it's becoming easier to manage those in our admin roles without having to request changes through Chrome River.
  • Needs increased flexibility in the forms that are used.
  • Allow admins to create/customize forms.
  • Allow for more editing on returned reports, currently impossible to edit header information.
  • Per diem rules linked to start and end times need increased functionality. Our state has very specific rules as they relate to times, and we need greater ability to customize these rules.
  • Admins/super delegates should have the ability to see reports in the approval queue of other users.
  • The time it takes to process monthly p-card reports greatly reduced.
  • Built-in business rules allow A/P review team to better function in an auditor role.
  • Elimination of the paper-based system allowed our business procedures to continue largely unchanged in the COVID-19, remote work, environment.
  • Certain faculty members feel like they are taking on more work as many of them are asked to upload receipts and categorize their expense with a valid business purpose, instead of the old process of dropping paper receipts on an admin's desk. It has been a challenge to convince them that the system is actually saving them time and effort in the long run.
  • Reimbursements for travelers went from taking months to process to days, or even hours!
For us, it was a pretty difficult task to complete the initial build. One reason for this: the organization did not do a comprehensive review of our business procedures prior to building the system. "Needs" changed several times during our build/implementation. It would have helped to have representatives from Chrome River and from other higher education organizations who use Banner as main points of contact before and at different points during our build. Now that we have used Chrome River for several months, we wish we could go back and rebuild how we do certain things completely. That's not to say it isn't doing amazing things for our school, it just could be even better and more intuitive for users and approvers.
The data that lives in Chrome River is only as good as it is in Banner. We are still working out the idiosyncrasies when it comes to many of the HR processes and how they are entered into Banner and fed to Chrome River. What we have found is the level of difficulty that exists keeping Banner up to date and accurate is affecting our accuracy and automated routing functions in Chrome River.
Having spent nearly every day for that past year in Banner, the things that we as admins find intuitive aren't necessarily intuitive to the user who only gets into Chrome River once a month or less. Part of that issue is more on the complexity of our state's business rules and account code usage, and less on Chrome River. We believe with time, the system will be viewed as being very intuitive and we are constantly looking at ways to tweak the interface to make it even better for the user. Chrome River gives us the ability to make those slight changes, and that has helped in the early stages of implementation.
Believe CR stacks up well against Concur based on user feedback
Excellent service from the help desk/center. The Chrome River ticketing system and techs have made fixing our unforeseen issues a much less painful experience than it could have been. In almost every case response has been fast and accurate!
Well suited for organizations with straightforward business rules and a manageable amount of expense types/cost codes. Tougher to use in organizations with a high turnover rate of employees (lots of changes to supervisors and moving departments impacts the automated routing). Also, the interface can get cumbersome with the huge number of expense types and cost codes that we have.

Using Emburse Chrome River

2700 - End user (expense owner/traveler); accounting; procurement; A/P; audit
8 - User Interface / End User reps with CR admin skills and responsibilities; financial systems IT experts to assist with more technical aspects, feeds, etc.
  • Purchasing card expense management
  • Travel expense management
  • Spend audit
  • easier to process personal charge abatements for travel
  • Utilizing the robust analytics and audit features
CR is helping us to meet the goals we set prior to implementation.

Evaluating Emburse Chrome River and Competitors

  • Product Features
  • Product Usability
Usability for users across the spectrum of financial management and travel procedures expertise was critical. End users who are not comfortable with "numbers" had to be able to access and utilize the system, whether that's weekly or a couple of times per year.
Get more end-users involved and analyze our internal processes prior to evaluation.

Do you think Emburse Chrome River delivers good value for the price?

Yes

Are you happy with Emburse Chrome River's feature set?

Yes

Did Emburse Chrome River live up to sales and marketing promises?

I wasn't involved with the selection/purchase process

Did implementation of Emburse Chrome River go as expected?

No

Would you buy Emburse Chrome River again?

Yes

Emburse Chrome River Implementation

Evaluated internal processes prior to implementation. Early stages completed by a different team than the one that finished the implementation were trying to fit a square peg in a round hole sometimes.
Change management was a major issue with the implementation - Went from a paper process where (often) expense owners simply dropped a stack of receipts off on an admins desk for "processing"--asking/requiring them to be more responsible for their purchases was a challenge. It would have helped to have increased understanding and buy-in from a strong cohort of those end users prior to implementation and even evaluation/selection.
  • Personnel changes on our side
  • Testing periods were short
  • Internal systems support and integrations were not properly supported

Emburse Chrome River Support

ProsCons
Quick Resolution
Good followup
Knowledgeable team
Problems get solved
Kept well informed
Support understands my problem
Support cares about my success
Quick Initial Response
Difficult to get immediate help
No...so far the normal support channels have been adequate. We were not expecting major changes from our original implementation
Yes - Mostly the anomalies are diagnosed and fixed in a timely manner. Sometimes (a handful) we need to get our assigned customer service rep involved to help get a response to a ticket.
In the early days we worked with a particular technician often to fix early implementation bugs or oversights we had despite extensive testing. His responsiveness was impressive and saved us on multiple occasions.

Using Emburse Chrome River

ProsCons
Like to use
Relatively simple
Easy to use
Technical support not required
Well integrated
Quick to learn
Convenient
Feel confident using
Familiar
None
  • receipt upload
  • receipt to transaction matching
  • Reviews/approvals
  • Some of the more complicated reporting tools
  • Editing certain items on reports
  • Travel Cash Advances
Yes - Awesome! Definitely a huge benefit of Chrome River.