Spend Management Software
What is Spend Management Software?
Spend management software allows organizations to centralize visibility, approval, and tracking of business spending. Spending management includes both employee expenses and vendor payments, among other miscellaneous business spending. Spend management software helps businesses identify trends and improve spending efficiency across the organization by automating spending control policies where needed.
Spend management software bridges the gap between process-specific financial tools, like procurement software, and core systems like accounting platforms. Spend management software helps centralize spending data to give businesses a single source of truth on where, when, and how it is spending money. This functionality is particularly impactful for organizations that have traditionally siloed this data into different teams, departments, or business units, limiting the finance team’s visibility.
Spend Management vs. Expense Management
Spend management is often conflated with expense management. However, they are distinct, if related, software categories. Spend management is a broader process that spans across the organization. It touches on spending instances from materials procurement and logistics payments to individual employee spending requests.The goal of the software is to provide a holistic view into how the business spends money.
In contrast, expense management software is primarily focused on tracking and reimbursing individual employee expenses, and heavily overlaps with elements of travel management software. Spend management software often includes expense management capabilities, supported by features like corporate cards. However, expense management is only a subset of the functionality that spend management software can offer.
Spend Management Software Features & Capabilities
Spend management software will offer a range of features based on the target user base and use cases. However, every spend management product will at least have all or nearly all of these features:
Central view of spending data from across the organization
Spending request and approval workflows
Accounts Payable/Bill payment automation
Spend reporting, including historical views and individual drilldown
Integrations with other financial systems, such as ERP platforms, procurement tools, and accounting systems
Spend Management Software ComparisonWhen comparing spend management products, consider these factors:
Reporting: All spend management software should include robust and customizable reporting features. Consider both the value of any prebuilt dashboard overviews and drill-down capabilities each product offers, as well as the ease of customizing these views.
Document capture/management: A core part of spend management is centralizing the system of record for spending across the organization. Consider how easy to use each product is, especially for end-users capturing receipts, invoices, or less structured spending documentation.
Automation: What manual processes are eating up the most time and resources for the business? Work with vendors to get demos of how they can automate those processes for you in addition to general automation capabilities. There are also some instances of proactive automation, such as recommending efficiencies and best practices the business isn’t currently leveraging.
Spend management software is usually priced on a per user, per month basis. Pricing often starts at $5-10/user/month and can scale up to $30+/user/month depending on the volume of users, cash flow, and level of integrations and vendor support. Some vendors also offer free versions of their software for personal or small business spend management. However, growing organizations are likely to quickly scale beyond any free plans.
ProcurementExpress.com is designed for small to medium-sized companies to gain full control of purchasing. Team members raise requests against specific pre-defined budgets. Managers approve, decline, or comment on requests - straight from their inbox. Once approved, team members…
Trace, a service desk for finance, provides collaborative workflows and analytics for companies to better manage financial services like budgeting, spending, and hiring. The vendor states high-growth companies like FiveTran and Lattice trust Trace as their one-stop-shop for collaborating…
Accrualify Spend Management Platform is the eponymous cloud-based, comprehensive spend management software from Accrualify in San Mateo, that covers vendor management, PO management, invoice automation, and payments. With it, users can automate PO approval workflows, invoice processing…
Zip provides a place for employees to initiate a purchase or vendor request. Each request is routed for approval across procurement, finance, IT, data security, legal, and other teams, and Zip integrates into ERP and P2P solutions to create a PR or draft PO. The vendor states Zip…
Approve.com is a procurement management solution that helps finance and procurement teams manage and automate their purchasing processes with:Simplified purchase requests formsCustomizable approval flowsAutomatic generation of purchase ordersReal-time budget data for approversStreamlined…