Tracking expenses is vital when it comes to the overall financial planning of the company. Many companies end up overpaying for their employees' travel and entertainment expenses due to lack of accuracy in expenses management and reporting. Unavailability of systematic expense management software also increases the frustration of the employees as the time consumed and the effort required by them to report their expenses can otherwise be utilized in acquiring more business and revenue for the company.
The key challenges faced by the business finance professionals due to lack of accurate expense management system include -
In this context, using an expense management software becomes important as it helps in tracking, controlling, and monitoring the expenses of the employees while saving their time so that they can do their core job without any distractions.
Here, we have listed the top 8 free and open source expense management software which you can consider to streamline the expense management process, which can have a big impact on your business.
But, before you go through the details of each software, we would like to brief you about what exactly is an expense management software, how does it work, its benefits, and tips to pick the one for your business.
What is Expense Management Software?
Expense management software is a solution that is used by businesses to manage travel costs, business calls, lodging, meals, shipping of documents or work-related items, incurred by the employees, managers, officers, etc.during their business trips or within office hours. The expense management software cannot be confused with spend management that takes care of different expenses of an organization like procuring raw materials, investments, and availing services.
The expense management software simplifies, and automates the entire expense reimbursement and reconciliation process. It helps in eliminating paperwork and reducing manual errors. The employees don't have to juggle with paper receipts to get reimbursed. Also, the finance team doesn't have to spend hours calculating the expenses of each employee manually.
The expense management process was not as quick as it is today. Let’s have a glimpse at how the expense management software came into use and its future.
Evolution of Expense Management Software
Why is Expense Management Software Required?
It is a common perception that calculating expenses can be done using excel spreadsheets, so why is it critical to invest in an expense management solution? This task of managing expenses is not as simple as it sounds when it comes to reimbursing the expenses incurred by the employees accurately on time and in compliance with the company policies.
The laborious manual process of managing expenses is time-consuming and prone to errors, which can lead to high administrative costs, decreased productivity, and dissatisfied employees.
According to a report released by the Aberdeen Group -
If you multiply the above figures to the number of expense reports you manually prepare and approve for reimbursement, you may realize that the cost and time spent in this entire process is substantially higher than it ideally should be.
You may agree to the fact that "time is money." If your employees are consuming so much time in preparing expense reports manually, instead of focusing on their core jobs, then that can truly prove to be expensive for your company in the long run.
The below benefits can truly depict the significance of expense management software for business.
Benefits of Expense Management Software
Every business traveler would agree to this fact that it is time-consuming and cumbersome to calculate expenses and submit receipts and spreadsheets after completing their trip. After that, it is much more difficult to wait for the approvals and to get accurate reimbursements. An expense management software can solve these issues and lead to happy employees resulting in improved productivity and business profitability.
How Does an Expense Management Software Work?
How to Choose an Expense Management Software?
As there is a plethora of expense management software available, it might become confusing to choose the software that suits your business requirements. So, here you go with a simple checklist to look for while choosing an expense management software.
User-friendliness is the most important criteria you need to check in your expense management software. If the system is not easy to use, your business travelers will not use it. This will again make things difficult for your finance team despite deploying the software.
The most important question you need to ask yourself before selecting an expense management software is - can this tool adjust with the growing team. An expense management tool which works for only 5 employees and is not capable of scaling as the number of employees grows, is of no use to you.
You might be using several other tools for accounting, business traveling, attendance & reporting, etc. The expense management software you choose should integrate well with the other tools time tracking software, travel management software, payroll software, accounting software, or workforce management software you have deployed, to make your business processes quick and easy.
Now, in this digital era, everything from shopping to banking is done using the smartphone. The expense management software you select should allow your business travelers to upload receipts and download the expense reports on the go using a smartphone.
Last but not least the cost matters a lot for a business, and you would agree to this. Here, we have listed free software, but if you are planning to buy expense management software for advanced functionality, just ensure that the tool you select is worth its price.
Ideal Features of an Expense Management Software
Features of expense management software is a significant aspect which depends on your business requirements, and the way expenses are processed. Still, there are some standard features, as given below, which you can look for in an expense management software while selecting one -
Below-mentioned is a list of the top 8 free and open source expense management software with a detailed overview of their features which can help you in choosing one which suits your business processes.
The Top 8 Free and Open Source Expense Management Software
Invoice Ninja is a free and open-source invoicing and expense management software. It can help you in storing and managing all your earnings, expenses, client & vendor details in one system. It streamlines your invoicing system with a click of a mouse, supporting multiple currencies. Get a complete overview of your business expenses with extreme simplicity and ease.
- Helps in creating, importing and viewing expenses
- Allows sending invoices to the clients
- Has the ability to import expenses from banks
- Allows to create vendors and organize categories
- Generates profit & loss reports
- Helps in creating recurring expenses
- Allows differentiating in paid expenses
- Can export expenses & vendors
If you have already used InvoiceNinja, please feel free to share your reviews here.
HomeBank is an absolutely free expense management software designed for managing personal expenses, finance, and budget. It is easy to use software and includes powerful filtering tools helping you to analyze your personal finance intricately. You can view your data in the form of beautiful charts and get a glimpse of your transactions and reimbursements quickly.
- It supports GNU/Linux, Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X
- Data can be imported easily from Intuit Quicken, Microsoft Money or other software
- It can detect duplicate transaction while importing
- Allows automatic cheque numbering
- Allows automatic cheque numbering
- Can configure various account types like a bank account, cash, asset, credit card, liability
- Can schedule transaction
- Facilitates internal transfer
- Provides powerful reports with dynamic charts
- Can be translated to 56 different languages
If you have already used HomeBank, please feel free to share your reviews here.
#3 Firefly III
Firefly III is a self-hosted expense management software which can help you in keeping track of expenses, income, and budget. It can support different bank accounts, including credit cards, and household savings account. You can use it to organize your expenses and save money. It works on the principle of having visibility of over where your money is going so that you can stop it from going there.
- Allows full financial management, including storing, editing, and removing withdrawals, deposits, and transfers.
- Helps in managing different types of accounts like asset accounts, shared asset accounts, saving accounts, credit cards, and liabilities
- Can organize transactions using tags & categories
- Helps in achieving savings goals
- View and manage income & expense reports
- Facilitates 2-factor authentication for high-end security
- Supports any currency including Bitcoin, and ξthereum
- Includes easy navigation
- Provides clear visibility of your expenses
- Provides Attractive reporting in the form of charts
If you have already used Firefly III, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Tems is a simple and straightforward expense and time tracking software ideal for small businesses and freelancers to manage their expenses and invoicing. It is a free and open source software which is used by consulting companies, lawyers, accountants, etc., who need to bill their customers regularly. It can also track the details of expenses incurred by the employees and calculate mileage automatically.
- Allows inputting expenses and separating them based on account and project
- Consultants and employees can enter time worked on different projects
- Creates a preview of the invoices with a single click
- Can generate expense reports instantly
- Calculates mileage automatically
If you have already used Tems, please feel free to share your reviews here.
Skrooge is a free and open source expense management software which allows you to manage your personal finances. It is considered as the most powerful method to submit, track, and analyze expenses. It is based on KDE foundations and can run on multiple platforms like Linux, BSD, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS.
- Can import files from other spreadsheets, software, and bank’s website
- Allows multiple currencies
- Provides reports in the form of flexible charts
- Helps in managing budget by configuring simple rules
- Allows configuring different categories in expenses
- Schedules operations
- Manages payees
- Allows adding all properties required on all objects like transactions, accounts categories, etc.
If you have already used Skrooge, please feel free to share your reviews here.
kMyMoney is considered as a simple yet powerful personal finance management software which is absolutely free to download, customize, and deploy as per your requirements. It uses double-entry accounting principles and ensures that your finances are streamlined. Extremely easy to use, this software provides all the important features required by personal finance managers.
- Allows maintaining expense records
- Can streamline the entire approval process
- Ability to manage automated reimbursements
- Supports multiple currencies
- Allows time tracking
If you have already used kMyMoney, please feel free to share your reviews here.
#7 Money Manager Ex
Money Manager Ex is a personal finance manager used for managing expenses which is free to download and use. This open source and cross-platform software can keep track of the expenses and financial transactions. It includes versatile features that users would require in expense management software. Being simple and user-friendly software; it is powerful enough to streamline the expense management accurately.
- Helps in managing savings account, credit card statements, stock investments, and assets accounts
- Sends reminders for recurring bills and deposits
- Helps in budgeting and cash flow forecasting
- Provides one-click reporting with graphs and pie charts
- Allows importing data from any CSV format, and QIF
- It can run from a USB key and doesn’t need to be installed
- Includes non-proprietary SQLite Database with AES Encryption
- Supports 24 different international languages
If you have already used Money Manager Ex, please feel free to share your reviews here.
GnuCash is user-friendly financial accounting software which is freely licensed under the GNU GPL and is compatible with the platforms like GNU/Linux, BSD, Solaris, Mac OS X and Microsoft Windows. It is a powerful yet flexible software which helps you in tracking bank accounts, income & expenses, and stocks. It is quick and intuitive to use similar to the checkbook register. Based on professional accounting principles, it ensures balanced books and accurate reports.
- Based on the double-entry accounting system
- Manages stock/bond/mutual funds accounts
- Allows scheduling transactions
- Enables automated financial calculations
- Generates reports in the form of graphs
If you have already used GNUCash, please feel free to share your reviews here.
So, these were the top 8 free and open source expense management software which you can consider using instantly without any investment. Below given is the chart which would help you in comparing these solutions at a glance and taking the wise decision regarding selecting the expense management software suiting to your business.
The Top 8 Free and Open Source Expense Management Software Comparison Chart
Still, if you are you looking for an expense management software with advanced features not included in these free ones and budget is not a constraint for you, we would recommend a highly popular expense management software these days, and that is Zoho Expense. Let’s go through the details of Zoho Expense in brief -
Zoho Expense is a cloud-based expense management software designed for businesses of any size. Having high-end features; it is trusted by many organizations to automate their expense report creation, streamline approvals, and process quick reimbursements. It provides advanced features at affordable prices, though you can get a free trial before purchasing and check whether the software suits your business processes or not.
- Helps in capturing receipts effortlessly using auto-scanning, and mileage calculation features
- Allows scheduling the creating and submitting of expense reports
- Sends notification if any company policy is violated
- Allows setting up auto-approval and auto rejection criteria
- Sends reminders about pending approvals
- Can reimburse through different payment options like NEFT, RTGS, IMPS, and ICICI Bank Fund transfer
- Sends real-time notification once the reimbursement is done
- Provides 25+ analytical reports which give a clear picture of each penny spent
- Generates Audit Trail Reports for accurate auditing
- Allows scheduling analytical reports regularly
If you have already used GNUCash, please feel free to share your reviews here.
You would agree to the fact that an efficient expense management software can speed up the entire process of submitting, processing, auditing, and reimbursing expenses and make the job easier for your finance team and business travelers. To stay competitive and sustain the revenue generation of your business. It becomes vital to deploy expense management tools that help you in minimizing the chore of tracking costs, and at the same time, keep your records up-to-date.
Choosing the right expense management software is also a challenge when there is a sea of options available. To help you further, with your selection, we would also recommend you to consider freemium and paid software like Expensify, Certify Travel & Expense, Concur Expense, Fyle, Chrome River Technologies, Tallie, Rydoo, webexpenses, and Finly.io.
Also, you can explore the complete range of expense management software here.
We hope that this article helped you gain enough information about expense management and the software available in this facet. If you have experienced any of the software mentioned in this article, please leave your valuable feedback here.
Are you looking for other software categories as well? Browse all software categories here.