In the realm of expense management, those days of end-of-month frenzies with stacks of wrinkled receipts are long gone. Automation has taken over, freeing up time and ushering in an era of unprecedented efficiency. Valued at $6.04 billion in 2021 and $6.51 billion in 2022, the expense management market is expected to reach a staggering $12.05 billion by 2029.
This makes one wonder what's in store for 2024 in the expense management industry.
Observing the evolving landscape of expense management, here are some trends accountants can expect to see in 2024.
1. Better Business Credit Card Expense Management
A recent Capterra report stated that 90% of SMB managers worldwide foresee a surge in credit card payments, signaling a massive shift towards a cashless economy. As a result, the pressure was mounting on expense management solutions to innovate how credit card expenses are managed. And one of the responses here has been a game-changer: real-time credit card feeds.
With real-time credit card feeds, your native expense management solution directly connects to card networks like Visa and Mastercard to bring credit card transaction information into your expense management dashboard as soon as your credit card is swiped. It means you no longer need to wait for bank statements to arrive or even chase clients for receipts.
You can use this information to track credit card spend, reconcile card expenses, track budgets, and identify unauthorized spending, all in real-time.
2. Rise of AI and Machine Learning in Expense Management
Thanks to machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI), expense management is going through a revolution. AI-powered tools automate tedious tasks like scanning receipts, categorizing expenses, and detecting policy violations. This frees up your time, reduces the number of errors you’d normally encounter, makes expense reporting easier, and ensures you stay compliant.
However, expense management is about more than just reporting and compliance. Expense data is a goldmine of information that can help you save money and make better business decisions. Modern-day solutions effortlessly delve into spending details, analyzing transactions by categories, merchants, projects, employees, or even departments.
Gartner predicts that by 2025, 80% of organizations will use expense analytics tools to drive business value from their expense data.
3. Increased Popularity of Cloud & Mobile-Based Expense Management Solutions
Cloud and mobile-based apps are taking over the expense management world. In today's changing business landscape, employees and accountants both need mobile solutions to report, track, and manage business expenses on the go.
But why are mobile apps so popular for expense management?
For starters, they make it easy to automate tasks like expense tracking and receipt capture, which saves time and reduces errors for both employees and finance teams. Additionally, cloud applications make it convenient for your clients to submit expense reports on the go, which is especially important in today's hybrid work environment.
4. The Rising Importance of Compliance
With the regulatory landscape becoming more complex, it's critical to manage compliance right, or you could face severe penalties. Expense management is no exception here, with companies facing a growing responsibility to ensure their processes meet legal and financial standards.
With the right software, you can rest assured that your expenses are thoroughly scrutinized against set policies and relevant regulations. Most tools identify duplicate expenses, flag potential fraud, and instantly alert you on out-of-policy expenses. By automating compliance checks, you can save time, reduce errors, and safeguard your financial integrity.
5. The shift toward real-time expense tracking and reporting
In a world where data is readily available at your fingertips when needed, it’s only fair that expense management catches up. Having access to real-time data means – you have granular insights into client spending, and you can swiftly detect potential risks, operational bottlenecks, and excessive spending. You can also leverage real-time data to advise clients on cost-cutting measures, enhance their operational excellence, and help them close books faster.
6. A future where not a second is wasted on expense reports
The future is paperless, and this is good not just for the environment but also for you. OCR (optical character recognition) has been changing the way you manage receipts, but there’s a more recent innovation that’s made receipt collection and reconciliation instantaneous: text-based receipt submission.
Text-based receipt submissions allow you to submit your expense receipts via text messages. This means if you just swiped your business credit card, you’ll get a notification of spend via text. You can reply to this message with a picture of the receipt and it is automatically matched by the expense software.
That’s it. Receipt collection and reconciliation can now be done in less than two minutes!
What does this mean? True innovation will always strive to give you solutions that don’t force you to change how you work but enable you to do better work in your current workflows.
And this is what we can hope to see more of in the coming years.
Getting up to speed in your firm
Navigating the complexities of expense management in today's dynamic business world requires innovative tools that empower accountants like you. Look for solutions that are at the bleeding edge of expense management innovation and paving the way for the future with real-time credit card feeds and text-based receipt submissions.