Best expense management software & tools for Hong Kong businesses

Kirstie Lau6 min
Business tips
Best expense management software & tools for Hong Kong businesses
In this article

Choosing the right expense management software is crucial for maintaining efficient financial operations. It not only reduces human errors and saves valuable time but also empowers CFOs and financial controllers with better budget control and strategic financial management.

In this article, we'll explore the top 5 expense management software and tools for Hong Kong businesses, helping you streamline your financial processes and maximise efficiency.

What are expense management software & tools?

Expense management tools are designed to streamline the process of tracking, organising, reimbursing, and reconciling business expenses. These tools can automate the entire expense management process, from submitting and approving expense claims to generating detailed financial reports.

Compared to traditional methods, which involve manual data entry and are prone to human error, expense management software eliminates these risks. It saves time, ensures better accuracy, and provides more effective financial control.

How do expense management systems work?

An expense management system ensures that your company stays within budget by aligning with its expense policy. For a system to work effectively, you first need a clearly defined expense policy and a set of expense categories.

Once these are in place, the system typically works in 5 steps:

  1. Expense submission: Employees submit their business expenses through the system, specifying the purpose, date, and amount, along with receipts as proof.

  2. Policy compliance check: The system automatically checks each submission against your company's expense policies, such as spending limits and approved vendors.

  3. Approval workflow: Administrators receive notifications to approve or reject the expense claim.

  4. Reimbursement processing: Once approved, the system processes reimbursement through payroll or accounting software, ensuring timely payment to employees.

  5. Reporting and analysis: At the end of each month, the system generates detailed expense reports and provides insights into spending patterns, compliance issues, and cost-saving opportunities.

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The key components for expense management in small businesses

1. Company size and industry

Depending on the size, structure, and industry of your company, the way you use expense management software can vary. For instance, if your company has multiple business units, you might want to separate expense management systems accordingly for performance clarity.

2. Expense categories, definition and budget 

Whether you are managing your business expenses manually or via an expense management system, you will need to define common expenses and set spending limits for each category. Here are some scenarios where using expense management software is particularly beneficial:

  • Travel expenses: For businesses that require frequent travel, streamline the tracking of airfare, accommodation, transportation, and meal expenses with expense management automation

  • Entertainment expenses: Properly document expenses for client relationship building and business development meals, activities, and gifts to ensure compliance

  • International workforce: Manage payroll and overseas office expenses in different currencies with ease. For teams with remote employees, track expenses for home office setups, internet, and other allowances

  • Software subscriptions: Common for tech developers and media agencies, 有can timely manage payments for digital tool subscriptions with expense management software

3. Effective company expense policy

This is the backrock of maintaining efficient expense management, and there are 4 key aspects to be aware of when you set out to create your company expense policy.

  1. Explain protocol for approval and reimbursement: Ensure all employees understand the exact procedure of expense claims and who is responsible for approvals. Consider the following factors when laying out the protocol:

    • Required details for a claim, e.g. purpose, date, expense category

    • Proof of spending, e.g. digital or paper receipts, bank statement screenshots

    • Time period for submitting expenses

    • Approval timeline

    • Reimbursement timeline 

  2. Clarity, transparency, and compliance: Involve your employees in the rollout of your expense management system, ensuring they feel supported and understand the expense policy. You should also consider legal and tax compliance, knowing which expenses are tax-deductible to streamline accounting and reconciliation processes.

  3. Think about consequences and exceptions: If your employees fail to comply with the expense policy, what are the consequences (e.g. warnings and financial penalties)? Are there any exceptions for certain employees or types of expenses? Establish clarity on these questions to facilitate a smooth transition in managing expenses and maintain fairness and transparency.

  4. Conduct organisation-wide communications and updates: Your expense policy will evolve as your business grows and changes. New expenses may arise and others may become obsolete. Take time to reflect and update your expense policy regularly to adapt, and share with the wider team through various channels, including shared drives and company intranet. 

Top expense management software & tools

Here are the best expense management software options for you to make an informed decision.

Xero QuickBooks NetSuite Expensify
Expenses reimbursement
*Incur an additional ~HK$31 / month
Accounts payables and receivables
Bank connections
(Limited to HSBC and DBS Bank)

(Limited to specific banks)
Account reconciliation
(can only reconcile company cards)
Multi-currency
(will convert to default currency)
Expense report
Pricing ~HK$242 / month HK$29.5 / month Customized solutions and pricing based on the needs of the business ~HK$40 / month
Number of users included in the plan Unlimited 5 - 1

How can an expense management software help you reduce costs?

1. Lower transaction fees

Advanced expense management solutions offer integrated payment services and bulk payouts to reduce transaction fees associated with reimbursements and vendor payments. Some platforms also provide company or employee cards with lower transaction fees, further minimising costs.

2. Eliminate duplicate business expenses 

With improved transparency and clarity on employee expense structures, you can easily detect and eliminate duplicate expense submissions. Some expense management automation systems allow you to identify unnecessary payments with just a few clicks.

3. Maximise tax deductions

Expense management solutions ensure that all tax-deductible expenses are accurately recorded to help you maximise tax benefits. 

Keeping an organised record of all receipts also supports tax filings and audits, minimising the chances of unpleasant surprises and penalties.

4. Improve compliance and minimise overspending 

Your expense management automation can act as a gatekeeper, ensuring all expenses comply with your company’s expense policy. This significantly reduces the likelihood of non-compliant expenses and overspending.

5. Optimise relationships with vendors 

Use data intelligence from your expense management system to understand spending patterns with specific vendors. This information empowers you to negotiate bulk discounts or better terms. 

Additionally, you can evaluate vendors based on cost-effectiveness and subsequently reduce overall costs.

Why choose Airwallex for expense management?

Designed for businesses going global, Airwallex offers an all-in-one platform that streamlines the entire financial management, including comprehensive expense management solutions with the following high-value features:

  • Multi-currency Airwallex Borderless Cards: Companies can issue Airwallex Borderless Cards for employees in a few clicks and empower them to make certain routine spending decisions. These Cards come with built-in expense management features, allowing you to set spending limits, restrict purchases to specific merchants, and track usage in real-time.

  • Eliminate unnecessary FX fees: Spend in multiple currencies directly from the balances in your Airwallex Business Account to eliminate all unnecessary FX charges in international transactions. 

  • Efficient employee expense submission and approval: Employees can upload receipts, categorise spending, and submit expenses on the go; while your finance team can track, review, and approve these business expenses in real-time, all within the Airwallex platform. You can build multi-layer approval workflows and set expense submission criteria.

  • Seamless integration with other business tools: Airwallex’s user-friendly plugins integrate seamlessly with your existing platforms, such as Shopify, WooCommerce, and accounting software such as Xero. This enables automatic reconciliation and simplifies all aspects of financial management.

  • Separate expense accounts for multiple entities: Airwallex allows the creation of separate expense accounts and additional users at no extra cost. This means that you have clarity and complete control over employee expenses across different offices or branches. 

How does Airwallex compare with other expense management systems?

Airwallex is designed for scalability, offering a comprehensive suite of financial tools to ensure that as your business grows, Airwallex scales with you. 

These tools include company and employee cards, FX & transfers, Payments, and an Airwallex Business Account that allows you to transact in 60+ currencies across 150+ countries and regions.

Unlike some other expense management platforms, it is free to open an account, and create company cards.

Streamline your expense management with Airwallex

Take control of your business finances and simplify your expense management processes with Airwallex. Discover how our comprehensive suite of financial tools can help you eliminate unnecessary fees, enhance efficiency, and scale seamlessly as your business expands globally.

Sign up today and experience the smart approach to expense management. 

Open a global multi-currency account for free in Hong Kong

FAQs

1. What is an expense management software?

Expense management software helps streamline the process of tracking, organising, reimbursing, and reconciling business expenses. It allows employees to submit their business expense claims through the system, while providing a centralised platform for the finance team to approve and process reimbursements. 

A good expense management solution not only facilitates these tasks but also helps reduce costs and improve productivity. To ensure effective use of an expense management tool, it is essential to clearly define your company's expense policy.

2. How to choose the most suitable expense management software for your business?

It will depend on your company size, structure, industry and business nature.

For example, if your company has multiple business units, you should select an expense management software that does not charge based on the number of users, and offers multi-layer approval workflow. 

If your business incurs significant travel or entertainment expenses, you might want to opt for a solution that provides custom spending limits, approval automation, and real-time expense tracking to avoid overspending.

Additionally, you will need to consider the integration capabilities of the expense management solution with your existing platforms.

3. Can Airwallex expense management software be used on travel and reimbursement?

Yes, Airwallex offer expense management solution for travel expenses and reimbursement processes. 

You can issue Airwallex Borderless Cards to your employees for travel-related expenses. These cards empower employees to make purchases autonomously in multiple currencies, while the built-in expense management automation, such as spending limits and real-time tracking, helps prevent overspending.

For out-of-pocket expenses, with Airwallex's smart expense submission and approval workflow, employees to easily submit claims on the go. Finance teams can review and approve these claims in real-time, ensuring timely reimbursement for employees.

References:

Information on Xero, Quickbooks, NetSuite and Expensify is updated as of June 2024 and is for reference only. Please visit the relevant official website to obtain the latest information.

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Kirstie Lau
Senior Associate, Growth Marketing

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