With expenses that can range from a handful of photocopies to overseas travel, grant and research project budgets can be tough to track. Paper-based expense management systems are a headache for both your researchers and administrators. And one-size-fits-all expense software doesn’t have the specific capabilities your university needs to accurately manage the myriad of grant and research nuances.
Related: 10 Perils of Manual Expense Reports
Chrome River was designed to meet the precise needs of universities and research centers when it comes to expense management, with functionalities that make filing, approving, tracking and recording expenses easy for everyone involved. Chrome River can handle the typical scenarios you find with grant and research expense management, as well as those that are more complex.
Typical Grant and Research Expense Management Functions
At the very least, grant and research expense management encompasses a number of general functions your expense management solution must provide. These include:
- Complex per diem functionality
- Ongoing reconciliation of funds allocated versus funds already used
- Safeguards to avoid errors in encumbrances, budget or expenditures
- Safeguards to avoid overspending
- Easy uploading of receipt copies or digital files from any desktop or mobile device
- Functionalities that help ensure costs align with project schedule and budget and are within project start and stop dates
- Confirmation that project funds are available
Advanced Grant and Research Expense Management Capabilities
Advanced capabilities align with more complex grant and research needs, such as projects involving multiple staff members or research that may involve overseas travel. Other benefits your expense management solution should provide include removing the need to memorize general ledger codes for expense allocation and the ability to discern between grant travel and standard travel. More advanced features include:
- Advanced per diem functionality, with ability to designate grant solicitation and research travel differently than standard travel
- Ability to guide users on appropriate use of funds per grant guidelines and university policy
- Capabilities to divide expenses among multiple grants and/or cost centers
- Smart workflow approval rule for grants versus standard expenses
- Easy expense allocation that automatically populates form fields when user types in a recognizable portion of the cost center name, grant name or other identifier
- Staff permission customization features that let one staff member create and submit expense reports on behalf of another
- Global capabilities that include currency conversions, up-to-date foreign exchange rates, and VAT and international tax policy support
Ease of use is another essential component for an expense management system, and Chrome River has that base covered, too. The intuitive, user-friendly interface requires little to no training for staff. Your research teams can quickly submit receipts and expenses from any device, while your administrators can just as quickly route, approve and reimburse them.
With Chrome River, expense management for grants and research is no longer a burden that makes researchers and admin staff cringe. It becomes a convenient, streamlined process. And just wait until you check out what Chrome River can do for other expense management requirements throughout your university.
Our choice of Chrome River EXPENSE was made in part due to the very user-friendly interface, easy configurability, and the clear commitment to impactful customer service – all aspects in which Chrome River was the clear winner. While Chrome River is not as large as some of the other vendors we considered, we found that to be a benefit and our due diligence showed that it could support us as well as any large players in the space, along with a personalized level of customer care.
We are excited to be able to enforce much more stringent compliance to our expense guidelines and significantly enhance our expense reporting and analytics. By automating these processes, we will be able to free up AP time formerly spent on manual administrative tasks, and enhance the role by being much more strategic.