What to look for before downloading a business expenses app

How many times have you downloaded an app only to realise it isn’t what you were looking for?

When it comes to business expenses apps, the write-ups may promise you countless benefits, but how can you tell what’s true and what’s marketing exaggeration?

The sign of a good business expenses app is one that (1) makes your life easier (2) saves you time and (3) saves you money. Looking for these 5 elements will ensure you download an app that delivers on all 3 counts.

1.Positive reviews in the app store and online – app store descriptions are limited by space restrictions, which means you get the best idea of an app’s functionality from the reviews. Checking reviews sounds obvious, but you’d be surprised at how much you can learn by going beyond what’s in the app store. Google the name of the app + ‘review’ and see what external forums and news articles have to say.

2. Free trial periods – one of the signs of a credible app provider is that they give you the chance to trial the product. It shows they have confidence in their app and its ability to deliver what they’ve promised in their write-up. If you do sign up for a trial, make sure you check the small print for details of what happens once it’s over. Are you automatically signed up to a contract? Can you opt out of it immediately or are you locked in for a set period of time?

online-expense-manager-300x2003. Transparent pricing – while the cost of the app might be free or cost you, make sure you don’t get stung by any ‘hidden’ costs. Do you have to pay a one-time cost or are there recurring fees? If there are on-going costs, is it clear how much they are, what they’re for and if they’re something you definitely have to pay?

4. User-friendly functionality – the beauty of apps is that they’re easy to use. However, it can be tricky to gauge how user friendly an app is before downloading it. Look for features such as how flexible it is at capturing and organising your expenses data. Can mistakes be quickly and easily rectified? Is the layout slick, interface intuitive and wording easy to understand? Particularly keep an eye out for clever functions such as automatic VAT calculation, in store report generation and real-time monitoring.

5. Security assurances – how secure is the information going to be that you store within the app? Is there any mention of how your data will be kept private? And is your information going to be shared with any third parties? Last, but not least, if you do need to pay ongoing costs, are you given the option of paying for them using a recognised payment system such as PayPal?

Stopping to consider this best practice advice will ensure you get the most value from your business expenses app – whether you simply need something that sorts your receipts or need advanced functionality like claiming the correct VAT/sales tax/GST returns and avoiding unwanted late-payment charges.

Want more advice on managing your business expenses? Read our blog, ‘5 tips for staying on top of your business expenses.’