What to Look For in an Expensify Alternative

By The Center Team on October 14, 2020

A checklist for evaluating automation, customization, support, pricing, and more in your next expense management software.

If you’re in the market for an alternative solution for expense management, here are some things to consider.

Modern Technology Platform Built for Automation and Real-Time Data

Most traditional expense reporting products are built around the legacy paper expense report, which batches a month’s expenses together in one report. Batch-based expense reports are time-consuming for employees, they are difficult to review, audit, and report on, and they delay visibility into expenses until 30 days or more after the spend occurred.

New expense solutions use real-time, transaction-level data to eliminate expense reports, automate previously inefficient audits and reviews, and provide real-time visibility into spend.

Expense Automation Features:

❑   Transaction-based expensing (no batched reports)
❑   ML-powered expense categorization for accurate, high-quality data
❑   Real-time visibility into spend as it happens (immediate vs. delayed by 24 hours or more)
❑   Dynamic approval workflows to send individual transactions to specific approvers, such as software expenses to the CIO
❑   Real-time reporting and insights, with graphic top-lines and drill-down details

Robust Workflows and Flexible, Self-Service Customization to Track Expenses Your Way

Organizations used to compromise between the features they really needed in expense reporting software and a price point they could afford. Newer expense solutions offer all the features of market-leading software with none of the fees.

Some features to consider are ease of customization, ability to configure policies and sophisticated approval workflows, and options for tracking and reporting on custom fields like project or grant.

Flexibility and Scalability Features:

❑   Standard and customizable expense policy (ability to create, change, audit, and flag out of policy expenses)
❑   Dynamic approval workflows (default; rules-based by transaction, amount, category or expense type; auto-approvals)
❑   Custom fields by expense type (self-service/no-code customization, flexible formatting, reporting by custom fields)

Professional, Responsive Customer Support

When you’re working with a financial software system that is integral to your month-end close, timely answers to questions is critical.

As you consider alternatives to your expense solution, you’ll want to look for free, in-person/virtual training, onboarding and deployment support, and multiple methods of communication, all backed by a professional team.

Customer Support:

❑   Multiple support options (telephone, email, chat)
❑   Time to response (same business day)
❑   Training (for finance and accounting, employees, and expense approvers)
❑   Onboarding (processes, time to deployment)
❑   Feedback from customers (reviews, testimonials, G2)

Fully Integrated Corporate Credit Card Connection

Integrating your corporate card feed with an expense solution helps ensure accurate expense data, especially as more and more spend moves on card. Done right, card integrations can decrease manual data entry and manual card reconciliation. Unfortunately, few traditional bank or corporate card integrations work well 100% of the time, and even then, there can be a delay of 24 to 48 hours before transactions are visible.

Beyond integrations, it’s equally important to consider card-specific features, such as a range of settlement options. For example, if you card provider only offers daily settlements, that means daily reconciliation and more work in accounting.

Corporate Card Features:

❑   Native, seamless integration between card and full-featured expense management software (built together from the start)
❑   Immediate visibility into all card spend (real-time transaction data, including pending transactions)
❑   Easy card administration (adding cardholders, setting and changing limits, locking cards)
❑   Credit plus flexible options for card settlement (pre-pay, 7-day, 14-day, and 30-day)
❑   Broad, worldwide card acceptance with fraud coverage, traveler insurance, and 24/7 support

All the Features You Need, Without the Fees

Depending on your solution provider and plan, you may be paying monthly fees, user fees, support fees, and more. Look for solutions that offer all the expense management features you need, without the fees.


❑   Pricing model (subscriptions, add-on fees, card fees, other)
❑   ROI (time to value, cost savings, time savings)

About Center Real-Time Expensing

Center® is a complete corporate credit card and expense management solution that delivers real-time visibility and flexible spend controls to automate expense tracking.​ Center simplifies expense processing for the entire company, saving time for employees, improving operations and compliance for the finance team, and delivering live insights for managers and executives.

Check out the 10 things to know about Center as a real-time expensing alternative.
The term Expensify is a trademark of Expensify.