When purchasing something like a TV, savvy buyers do a side-by-side comparison to see which is the best purchase. What are the features – such as HDMI ports and web capabilities – that you get for the money? How well does it perform for different scenarios, such as in bright daylight, or for gaming? While a feature list is helpful, it doesn't tell the whole story about the overall user experience.
More important is the question of what other people who bought the TV say about it. A five-star rating from a fellow consumer will give any buyer much more confidence than a three-star rating, and carries far more weight than the company's own marketing claims. Also, while you’re not likely to buy a TV from a brand that you’ve never heard of, buying one just because it comes from the biggest TV manufacturer is unlikely to be a compelling point.
The same is true for expense management software. While the sales team can certainly give you a thousand reasons why you should buy their product, that’s a pretty good chance that their rationale may be swayed by the fact that they’ll make commission on the sale. To get an unbiased perspective, you need to see what fellow users say.
Related: 6 Questions Expense Management Vendors Don’t Want You to Ask
Does it Have the Functionality you Need?
Before doing the side-by-side comparisons, first check to see which vendors can functionally provide a solution that will satisfy your requirements. Small- to medium-sized organisations have a broad range of options available for expense management solutions, as there is less requirement for complex functionality, but still want to be treated as if they were the most important customer. For large, global organisations that have complex business rules, operate with numerous currencies and tax jurisdictions, and require solutions in multiple languages, the choice is limited to two: Chrome River and Concur.
If, like many other companies, your choice has boiled down to these two, it’s critical to do a side-by-side comparison, to see which solution would best fit the needs of your organisation.
For the end-user functionality, many of the important criteria revolve around ease of use for inputting expenses and creating expense reports. As many staff are frequently on the road, seamless mobile expense management capabilities are a must – intuitive, app-free access, and the availability of optical character recognition to automatically extract expense information from receipts are two prime examples.
Related: Myth vs. Reality in Expense Management Solutions
Does it Support Your Business Processes?
However important this is, organisations shouldn’t overlook the solution’s back-end capabilities. An attractive user interface is great, but if the solution can’t be configured to support the organisation’s existing technology infrastructure, business process and management reporting requirements, it won’t be an effective investment.
Areas that should be considered include:
- How easy is it to set up? Does it easily integrate into your existing infrastructure?
- How international is it? Does it support every market in which you operate?
- How efficient is the workflow? Can it be configured to support your existing business rules?
- Is it easy for you to administer (such as user management)?
- How effective is the reporting? Does it easily give you the data that you need?
- How well does it enable you to enforce compliance with your expense policies?
- How quickly and easily can you change compliance and routing rules as your business changes?
- If you make configuration changes, will they be immediately available across all devices and platforms?
You should also look at the overall experience that other customers have had with the vendors. As you are most likely looking for a long-term solution, “are they easy to do business with?” is a critical concern, as is the long-term direction of both the company and the product. Given that every company has support needs, be it for training questions or product issues, the quality of support rendered is also vital. As many of these are intangible, it’s impossible to get the answers you want from a datasheet, so unbiased, third-party insight is critical.
Related: What do Chrome River users say about the solution?
If you’re considering an expense management solution for your organisation and you have Chrome River and Concur as two of the possible vendors, check out what other users just like you think of them both. You may be surprised.
Download a full vendor comparison report to learn why more leading organisations like yours are choosing Chrome River over Concur.
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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.