Busted: 8 myths about SaaS-based expense management software

It’s natural to be a little sceptical about things we don’t understand – it’s the instinct that kept us safe from wild animals back when we all lived in caves. But Mankind is nothing if not inquisitive, which is why we’ve drawn up a list of eight myths about SaaS-based expense management software to explain why it’s nothing to be feared, to encourage you to explore it, and find that it is actually your friend…

Your first sticking point with SaaS-based expense management software is likely to be by that you’re not sure exactly what it is or how it works, so let’s clear that up right away.

SaaS is an acronym, and it stands for ‘software as a service’. Think of it as leasing a car rather than buying one. Buying a car means you take on the responsibility of maintaining and running it, suffer all the depreciation, repair and other costs that might arise during your ownership, and then debate when and how to upgrade, with all the costs that involves.

The leasing alternative means you pay a fixed amount every month, which gives you access to the car whenever you need it, but leaves someone else to worry about all the other costs. Moreover, you can see at the outset exactly what ownership will cost, and manage expenses accordingly.

In the case of software, that’s held ‘on the cloud’ (which means it’s on a server farm somewhere), and available for you to use whenever you need to access your expense management software online, which you can do from any device, anywhere in the world (so long as you have a good WiFi connection).

And here’s an important point to remember: Just as you don’t need to know the intimate details of how a car works to be able to drive, to be able to use SaaS effectively you don’t need to know the technicalities which make it possible.

The myths and the truth

1. Saas is hard to use: Not at all. It’s no harder than recording a television programme to watch tomorrow. The TV recording is held in the cloud, rather than in your TV, and you access it, rewind it, pause it or fast forward it using software as a service.

2. It’s insecure: Possibly the biggest myth of all. If there is any degree of insecurity at all, it’s more likely to be in the way your own security arrangements have been set up, if they’re been set up at all. A worrying number of companies use factory-default security or none at all, which is the same as going away for the weekend and leaving the front door wide open. Conversely, the security around the server farms holding the software you’re using, and the files you create, is infinitely more robust.

3. You lose control of data: The security arrangements outlined above apply equally to the files you create as to the software your using. Therefore, if you’re using the Solo Expenses expense tracking app, for instance, the only person able to see what expenses you’re claiming are you and the people you want to share the information with – such as the person who has to approve the spend to enable you to be reimbursed, or the company’s accountant, for example. What’s more, you’ll be able to access the information wherever you happen to be, subject to internet connection, rather than only at base.

4. It’s only for small firms: Companies of any size can use software as a service. Sticking with the expense management app create by Solo Expenses as an example, corporate organisations employing several thousands people happily use it, maximising the feature-rich options to offers to control expense management, and to save time and money. Taking another example, Microsoft’s Office 365 provides the basic business management software in an SaaS package.

5. It’s only for disaster recovery: We can see why you’d think that. Since the software, and your files, are held in an off-site location (and no doubt replicate by the server farm owners) there is no reason for your company to cease operation in the event of your servers being disabled or destroyed. So long as you have a Wifi connection, you can run your business with the help of SaaS – even sitting in the nearest McDonald’s, should the need arise. However, to be in that happy business continuity position, you’d have to be using software as a service already, otherwise it wouldn’t be ‘continuity’; it would be a new arrangement.

6. It can’t be customised: Nothing could be further from the truth! Solo Expenses is a great myth-busting example here too. With four packages to suit every size of enterprise (and individuals too), this software can be tailored to suit your business. The most powerful option, for companies with thousands of employees, is feature rich, allowing users to pick exactly what suits their operation best – all done using Software as a Service.

7. It’s expensive: It’s about the cheapest way to get into having the right software for employees. Because it’s accessed on a pay-per-month basis, there’s no initial set up cost, and you’re guaranteed to have any security patches and upgrades offered as part of the package. That means you never need to bother about making the decision to invest in an upgrade to the latest version, because that’s always what you have anyway. Furthermore, Solo Expenses clients (and we have them in 90 countries) save money by using our SaaS expense management app because mistakes and duplications are eliminated, and the claiming process is streamlined. Our website shows some examples of the ease of use of our system.

8. The available applications are limited: Perhaps they once were, but that’s no longer the case. Watching TV, claiming expenses, and even ordering the weekly grocery supply is done using software as a service. In fact, so universal are the applications that can be accessed in this way, small firms in rural areas worry that they’re getting left behind because they don’t have the one thing necessary to reach the available software – a robust broadband connection.