The best expense trackers for businesses
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Small business expense tracking is a must. Without it, operating a business would be like driving a car blind—the car would eventually run out of fuel and possibly break down. Monitoring your business expenses regularly helps you budget accurately, plan your tax deductions, and minimize the misappropriation of your business finances.
That's why easy-to-use expense management tools are essential. Sure, you might get away with manual expense tracking, especially if you’re a small business owner or a startup, but as you grow and expand, using expense management software to automatically track costs is vital. In this article, we'll introduce you to some of the more popular expense trackers in the market today.
Top business expense trackers
Pricing per month: Free plan or $15 per user (Ramp Plus) with a 30-day free trial.
At Ramp, we offer an all-in-one expense management platform and corporate card. Our user-friendly online and mobile software automates expense tracking by leveraging the power of AI and integrations with popular accounting platforms including Xero, QuickBooks Online, NetSuite and Sage Intacct. Some of our standout features include the following:
- AI-powered receipt capture: Ramp's mobile app lets your employees upload receipts using their camera and automatically matches the expense with pre-set expense categories. This feature helps catch and flag out-of-policy expenses and does away with the time-consuming manual reviewing of receipts.
- Automated receipt generation and categorization: Once you upload a receipt on the platform and Ramp categorizes it, you automatically receive a Ramp-generated receipt, making expense reporting and reimbursements fast and easy.
- Bank integrations: Ramp has over 60+ bank integrations, which allows you to manage all your accounts from one centralized location, essential for expense tracking and management.
- Real-time spend reporting: Ramp's expense management platform lets you see all your business's expenses in a single dashboard. Using AI, we provide actionable insights related to your expenses, like alerting you to overpriced vendors and duplicate subscriptions.
Pricing per month: Free for up to three users, then $5, $8, and $12 per user for Standard, Premium, and Enterprise plans, respectively.
Zoho Expense is another popular expense tracker for businesses. It is a web-based platform, but you can also download the app on Google and Apple stores to use on the go. Zoho Expense can also integrate seamlessly with Zoho's dedicated accounting software and other systems your business might use. Its features include:
- Request advances: If your employees require advances ahead of work trips or upcoming expenses, they can do this on the platform, and once received, Zoho records these expenses.
- Delegation: The platform allows you to delegate your admin roles (as the business owner or accountant) to other employees, such as team leaders and managers, by giving them the power to perform employee expense approvals and rejections as well as manage expense reports submitted by other employees.
- Budgeting: Zoho lets you create budgets for your projects or business and compare them against real-time or current expenses.
Pricing per month: Free for up to 25 receipt scans per user. For unlimited scans, prices start at $5 per user (with a six-week free trial).
Expensify is another expense tracker for businesses that doubles as an expense management app and a credit card. The app is available on both App Store and Google Play Store, allowing for expense management on the go. Some of Expensify's features include the following:
- Corporate card reconciliation: The Expensify app allows you to track all your corporate card data on one platform for easy confirmation, review, and expense management workflows.
- Accounting systems integrations: Expensify integrates with your accounting system so that you can easily import data between the systems, which is essential for tracking cash flows.
Note, compared to other expense trackers, Expensify is more expensive. It charges a monthly fee for a few of its core expense tracking features, such as accounting sync and multi-approval flows.
SAP Concur Expense
Pricing per month: Customizable based on features and number of users with a 30-day free trial.
SAP Concur Expense allows you to come up with a customized plan price based on your business needs. However, for existing Concur customers, the platform is free. Its features include:
- Integration with existing systems: SAP Concur has integrations for over a hundred systems. If your system or software isn't available for integration, SAP lets you custom integrations for your specific needs with its open APIs.
- ROI calculator: The platform lets you calculate your return on investment (ROI), which is crucial for justifying your business's expenses.
Note, Concur may take more time for your employees to learn to use, due to its somewhat dated interface. It also doesn't analyze your spend for savings insights, unlike many other tools on the market today.
Pricing per month: $17 for the Lite Plan, $30 for Plus, and $55 for Premium. You can also contact sales for a customized plan under Select.
Last but not least, FreshBooks is another option your business should look into for expense tracking. Here are some features that FreshBooks offers:
- Bill business expenses: This platform allows you to mark expenses as billable and automatically convert them into invoices for your clients.
- Cloud receipt storage: FreshBooks stores all your receipts in the cloud, so it doesn't matter where you update your expenses—mobile or desktop—all your records will match.
Best ways to track business expenses
Expense tracking software is your best bet for keeping on top of expenses. But aside from this, you can use the following tools:
- Accounting and bookkeeping software
- Cloud-based spreadsheets
- Bank account and business credit card statements
- Automated bank alerts
If you're self-employed or a freelancer, you can start out with a self-employment ledger to track expenses. This document records all your business's income and expenses, and it can be a spreadsheet, manual book, or accounting software.
Free business expense tracking apps
On top of the expense trackers mentioned in the previous section, you can try out these free business expense tracker apps:
- Everlance for iOS and Android
- Divvy for iOS, Android and web
- Marcus Insights for iOS, Android and web
- Mint for iOS and Android
How to create an expense tracker
If you want to start with something simple and DIY, you can create a free expense tracker in Google Sheets or Excel. Here’s how to easily set it up:
- Categorize your expenses: First, decide which expense categories you’d like to track. You might choose between 8 and 15 categories for optimal visibility without becoming overwhelming. For ideas of what to include, check out our expense category classifier.
- Setting up your sheet: After establishing your categories, create a spreadsheet in Google Sheets. Here are some possible columns you may want to include that could be tailored to your specific requirements.
- Payment date: The date the expense was paid.
- Paid to: The name of the vendor or payee.
- Description: A description of the expense.
- Category: The expense category. Use data validation to create a pull-down menu of your expense categories so that you can easily select one.
- Amount paid: The cost of the expense.
- Running total: A running total taking into account each expense in your sheet. This allows you to see how much your expenses are adding up over the week or month.
- Summarizing expenses: Once you've input your expenses, you can summarize them in a separate tab. Use the SUMIFS function to calculate the total expenses in each category over a weekly or monthly period. This summary can then be visualized using charts or graphs within Sheets to provide a clear picture of where your money is being spent.
Automate expense tracking with Ramp
Need an expense tracker that you can depend on? With Ramp, not only do you get all the most important features for expense tracking, but you also get added advantages such as:
- Easy policy enforcement: Ramp makes enforcing expense policies easy by reducing the back and forth usually involved in approving reports and reimbursements by automating these processes.
- Accelerated reconciliation: Ramp reduces the lengthy reconciliation process businesses go through by accurately coding, categorizing, and mapping thousands of transactions using AI.
- Accounts payable automation: Beyond expense management, Ramp can also help you save valuable time on recording, approving, and paying your small business invoices.
Learn more about Ramp's expense management software.