Budgeting & Tracking Software

Budgeting and tracking expenses is an integral part of running a business. Businesses have to project the amount of money they will spend during a particular financial period. At the same time, they have to track the amount they have spent at different stages. Budgeting and tracking solutions enable businesses to automate and organize their budgeting process. They can conveniently create tables and charts to keep track of their expenses through an accounting and finance software. Every aspect of budgeting will fall under this subcategory.  Read the full software guide...

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What is Budgeting & Tracking Software?

Budgeting software helps businesses estimate their future revenues and expenses, predict financial outcomes, and create detailed financial operating plans for future months or years.

Expense tracking software, on the other hand, allows them to track actual revenues and expenses, generate reports on financial progress, and compare those figures to the expected outcomes.

Most budgeting software applications include an expense tracking module. However, products exclusively designed for expense tracking and reporting are also available.

Essentially, products in this software category aim to streamline the three-step process for financial goal setting, commonly known as budgeting, planning, and forecasting (BP&F).

Budgeting and tracking software automatically pull all financial information into one place, making it easier for you to make informed budgeting decisions. More advanced products allow you to access real-time analytics, perform what-if scenario analysis, generate complex financial reports, and create budgets collaboratively with other team members.

How to Choose Budgeting and Tracking Software

If you think about it, most budgeting tools perform the same tasks, such as budget preparation, expense tracking, financial performance monitoring, and forecasting. What makes them different though, are the features they offer. Each vendor comes with a unique combination of product features, which allows you to find a product that addresses your main concerns but also leaves out the unnecessary features.

Before you start choosing budgeting and tracking software for your business, consider where you stand on the following questions.

  • What is the size of your business? Is it a small, mid-sized, or large business?
  • How many employees do you have and how many of them regularly submit expenses for reimbursement?
  • What accounting applications do you currently use and how important is it to link those to your budgeting software?

If you run a startup or small business, you need a simple product with a user-friendly interface. In addition, the software should be able to generate easy-to-understand financial reports in the forms of charts and graphs. Since startups lack historical records, they cannot fully utilize a system with advanced financial forecasting capabilities.

Companies that often need to track and approve employee-initiated expenses should look for a product that enables their employees to create and submit reports for work-related expenses. For instance, employees should be able to take a snapshot of receipts, scan and attach those to the expense report, and submit it directly from their mobile phone for a quick approval.

Taking this a step further; some expense tracking applications use Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology for fraud detection. This also helps convert the scanned receipts or documents into searchable and editable documents, allowing users to add or delete certain expense items and even leave comments. More advanced products pull expense data directly from an employee’s credit card and automatically transfer the reimbursement amount to their bank account.

If you’re planning to involve multiple users in the budget creation process, look for a product that offers document management and version control. This allows multiple team members to work on a document simultaneously. You can also store different versions of the budget and track all changes made to it.

Budgeting software for mid-sized and large businesses should have the capability to forecast future sales and expenses based on historical data. Some solutions analyze overall spending, generate reports on spending trends, identify cost savings opportunities, and forecast future expenses.

More advanced products can find out how a single budget variable could impact your overall financial outcomes. For instance, you can run what-if scenario analysis to determine the possible outcomes of inflation.

Larger organizations with multiple departments and offices in different locations can benefit from a solution that can import data from external applications. They need a product that easily integrates with their existing accounting, time tracking, and workforce management software. The software should also have the capability to organize budgets by project, department, and location, handle various types of expenses and revenues, and perform advanced analysis, such as Monte Carlo simulation and two-way sensitivity analysis.

Benefits of Budgeting and Tracking Software

The right budgeting and tracking software can benefit a business in many ways, such as,

  • Helps avoid costly human errors – Most budgeting programs automatically import financial data from your accounting applications. In addition, some programs send automated reminders to make sure users do not forget to key in business information for budget analysis. This helps eliminate calculation errors and manual data entry errors and improves the overall accuracy of your budgets and financial plans.
  • Improves productivity – Budgeting and tracking software helps streamline the work-related expense approval process, which in turn increases productivity. For instance, employees can capture images of receipts rather than having to maintain paper receipts, while the ability to view all financial data from a single dashboard helps managers to track expenses more easily.
  • Saves time on budget creation – The right software also makes collaboration during budget creation easier and faster. You can store and reuse financial data for several years, which makes budget creation less hassling and more time-saving.
  • Helps predict future outcomes – Using the right budgeting software, you can analyze your company’s past financial records to identify patterns and predict future revenues and expenses. You can also use the software to perform risk assessment and identify cost-saving opportunities.

Overall, budgeting and tracking software is beneficial for any business looking to establish realistic budgets and track actual financial progress.

Common Features of Budgeting & Tracking

2-Factor Authentication Adds an additional layer of security by requiring an extra step in the login process. Usually external devices are required for this or a text message with a verification code is sent to the user when trying to login.
Accounts Payable Keep on top of payables and manage what you owe to creditors and suppliers.
Accounts Receivable Track unpaid invoices and keep on top of what your customers and debtors owe you.
API Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) are programmatic intersections with external products or platforms that allow for custom integrations with your own solutions or other solutions you are using.
Balance Sheet A common financial statement used as a snapshot of a business's assets, liabilities and capital at a particular point in time.
Billing/Invoicing Issue bills and invoices to customers, often combined with tracking capabilities for outstanding payments.
Budgeting Planning and tracking capabilities for financial budgets and plans often used to manage funds across different departments or for investor / shareholder oversight.
Calendar Management Manage and update calendars for scheduling or consolidation of events across teams, departments or business functions.
CRM Integration This indicates whether integrations with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software are supported by a software application.
Customer Management Manage customer databases and/or track outstanding shipments, payments and more.
Dashboard Dashboards are digital interfaces commonly used to visualise data or give quick access to important features and functions of online platforms. They often serve as an overview gateway in software applications.
Data Export Exporting functionality can be used to streamline the migration of data sets and information across systems, platforms or applications.
Data Import Importing functionality allows you to use data sets from other systems or platforms to cut down on data entry requirements or to more easily migrate records from similar applications you have used in the past.
Data Visualization Data visualization features render a visual interpretation of data sets through the use of charts, infographics and other visual cues generally in form of a reporting dashboard.
Expense Tracking Track employee travel and other expenses to stay on top of budgeting requirements and reimbursements.
External Integrations Integrations with other software products or platforms to improve efficiency and compatibility across systems.
Forecasting Forecast upcoming expenses, sales, revenue, user levels, etc. through the use of predictive methods and past data.
General Account Ledger Track transactions in the form of account information to prepare financial statements and reports.
Inventory Tracking Stay on top of inventory levels, to manage the storing, reordering or production of stock items.
Multi-Currency Support of different currencies for payments, accounting purposes, taxes, reports and more.
Multi-User Supports more than just one user account and generally allows for collaboration with colleagues.
Notifications Includes notification support and sends you alerts with information on important events and other time sensitive instances. For example through push notifications on mobile phones or email notifications.
Payroll Manage employee payroll to keep track of taxes due to the government, pension schemes and payments to employees.
P&L Support for Profit & Loss statements in financial / accounting systems.
Scheduling Schedule tasks, resources, appointments, payments, communications, etc.
Supplier Management Manage suppliers and purchases required in the day-to-day operation of a business.
Tax Management Manage tax payments and reporting requirements to ensure compliance with local or national taxation regulations.

Latest User Reviews of Budgeting & Tracking Products

John Watson
25 Jan 2020
"Bringing order to the chaos"

I like its simplicity and user-friendliness. For general users it is logical enough that you dont need to be trained to create order...

Catherine Pence
17 Feb 2020
"Financial Management Tool"

The great thing is that it pools all important financial information of an individual into one place in an user friendly dashboard b...

QuickBooks Online
Shannon Jones
01 Jun 2020
"Simplifies Accounting "

What i like about the software is that it protects my data from getting lost since all information is stored in the cloud.I also lov...

odell walker
20 Jun 2020
"its quality"

I like the fact that customers can upload documents into the files section of Xero and their accountant can see these documents imme...

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