How To Analyze Your Expenses with Center Expense

By The Center Team on May 2, 2022

Take a closer look at your spending to identify patterns and trends, improve forecast accuracy, and identify policy improvement opportunities.

Center Expense saves you time by shifting your focus from tedious tasks like receipt wrangling and manual audits to more strategic ones like forecasting more accurately and identifying opportunities for policy improvements. Here’s how to analyze your spending so you can elevate your team’s impact.

Go Beyond the Numbers with the Insights Dashboard

With Center Expense, you can skip the data gathering step and dive right into analysis to identify insights into your business. Center Expense Insights displays real-time spending across your company for a snapshot of where you stand today, not last month.

Choose your time period—month to date, quarter to date, year to date, or a custom date range—and analyze it by cost center or merchant to explore patterns and trends like where money is being spent, who’s spending it, and which GL codes are being hit.

Analyzing spend by cost center

Analyzing spend by merchant or employee

Drilling into the details

Let’s say you have a meeting with your VP of sales to discuss how spend is tracking to budget this quarter. Select Quarter-to-date and click Sales to see the details on the $91,000 that’s been spent in sales so far this quarter—by expense type, by employee, and by merchant.

Easily view spend by employee type, employee, merchant, or team

You might notice that there’s a large portion of this $59,000 in software licenses. You can continue to drill into the details. Click on Software License – Monthly Expense to see more detail on who’s spending what and where.

Going deeper on an expense type

The full list of transactions is always available, and you have the power to drill into the details. Click on any spender or merchant to see only those transactions.

Reviewing individual transactions for a particular merchant

Click on any transaction to view the details, including receipts, cost centers, and approval flow. This is especially helpful at audit time, when you may need details for specific transactions.

Reviewing expense details

Identifying opportunities

With all this information at your fingertips, you can easily see opportunities to consolidate subscriptions and software licenses, adjust travel policies, increase purchasing power with preferred vendors, and more. And it’s easy to share these views with budget owners to encourage accountability and build a stronger fiscal culture.

Because Center Expense can flow information directly to your accounting system, you can often skip right to Insights and spend most of your time on analysis, which simply isn’t possible with legacy expense management solutions. Slicing and dicing the data in Center is far easier than in an ERP or accounting system, since you have transaction-level data and can easily drill into a department or expense type. This opens up a number of opportunities for finance to deliver high-value business insights. For example:

  • Getting clearer on when to spend and when to put on the brakes across the organization.
  • Coaching team members on how they’re tracking to budget so they can make more informed spend decisions.
  • Keeping a closer eye on customer billables and analyzing profitability with custom fields reporting for projects, jobs, and customers. (Unlike with legacy expense solutions, there’s no need to pay a consultant to get reporting on custom fields. It’s quick and easy to set up your own custom fields, and Center Expense Insights works with all of them.)
  • Consolidating merchants. Center Expense Insights makes it easy to flag spend outside of preferred merchants and identify opportunities for consolidation.

Want to see how Center can help your finance team elevate its impact by analyzing expenses? Sign up for a personalized demo.

Photo credit: Austin Distel