When purchasing something expensive like a new car, savvy buyers do a side-by-side comparison to see which is the best purchase. What features do you get for the money? What’s the fuel economy like? What’s the cargo capacity? These are all pretty tangible, and easy to find, often from the dealer themselves. But there are other considerations that the dealer won’t tell you. What’s the reliability like? How much will it cost to own? How well will it work for my specific needs? 

The same is true for high-value, infrequent, business purchases like enterprise software. While the data sheets and the sales executives tell you part of the story, different organizations may have very different needs. Buyers need to look beyond the sales pitch and ask themselves - and their peers - what solution works best for them.

If you’re looking at expense management software, here are four key questions you should consider when determining whether you should choose Chrome River or Concur.

Related6 Questions Expense Management Vendors Don’t Want You to Ask

What’s the total cost of ownership? 

The implementation and subscription costs may be far from the only items that you pay for during the lifetime of the solution. It’s important that you can get a comprehensive view of what the cost will be overall - not just the base fees. Does every single bit of functionality above the bare minimum come with a supplementary cost? Will every single change require a large consulting fee?

With Chrome River EXPENSE, many of the things that other companies charge for are included in the monthly fee. From the basics like OCR (optical character recognition) receipt transcription to ongoing consultancy for change management initiatives with our Emburse Solution Administrator program, the fee you agree at the outset is what you’ll pay. No nasty surprises.

Related: Myth vs. Reality in Expense Management Solutions

Is this solution built for organizations like mine?

“One size fits all” usually means that nobody gets what they need. If you have a large family, you’ll likely choose an SUV or a minivan. If you’re single, a small two-seater sports car may be better, so why would everyone be forced into a midsize sedan? The same is true for business technology solutions. If your vendor only offers one system for every type of organization, it probably works OK for everyone, but not great for anyone.

Chrome River is specifically designed with the needs of sophisticated, global organizations in mind. Whether it’s highly configurable approvals and routing engine, 34 interface languages, deep international tax and compliance capabilities, 24-hour, multi-language support, or deep international reimbursement capabilities, Chrome River can easily support the largest and most sophisticated global organizations. 

And if you don’t need quite such a rich set of functionality, you can be sure that one of the other solutions that Emburse offers will fit your needs perfectly. We provide expense software and invoice automation for organizations ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500, so whether you need that nimble sports car or that big SUV with all of the latest gadgets, we’ve got you covered.

Related: What do Chrome River users say about the solution?

How many people will want to use the solution on a mobile device?

Most users will start their expenses on a mobile device, likely by capturing and uploading  the receipt images. But for users of many expense solutions, that’s where it often ends. There are several reasons for this. 

First, many OCR solutions are slow or inaccurate. They require a human verification of each receipt, which means that it could often be several minutes or even hours before the data is extracted and mapped into the expense program. This delay often means that the user will put off doing their expenses until a later date. In addition, many native iOS and Android expense apps come with several limitations. They may lack the functionality of the full version, be outdated, or not be available in all languages. All of these present a barrier to adoption, and diminish the user experience.

Chrome River EXPENSE is designed as a mobile-centric expense solution. Its lightning-fast and highly accurate Emburse Receipt Transcription technology, especially when combined with credit card real-time alerts and automated matching means than an expense can go from the receipt to the report in seconds, so users can complete the entire process in one go. The solution also uses an innovative hybrid mobile app approach. Users get the convenience and security benefits of an iOS/Android app, such as biometric authentication and single sign-on, combined with the  same deep functionality and capabilities as the full version. Anything that can be done on a laptop can be done just as easily on a mobile - any time, any place.

Do you expect you’ll need much customer service and support?

Like the car owner that’s more than happy to change their own oil, there are some customers that don’t need additional support and are happy to set it and forget it. But that’s becoming increasingly rare, especially for those with more sophisticated cars. 

The same approach is true for software. While some organizations rarely need additional service and support, the larger the implementation, the more complex the requirements and the likelihood for future change management processes, be they new markets, travel or card providers, or other configuration changes. 

This means that instead of just a software vendor, you’ll need a partner who can work with you at every stage to get the most out of your solution. When you’re just one out of tens of thousands of customers - many of whom are likely way bigger than you - it’s likely that you won’t get the type of service you’d hope for. Tickets may take longer to resolve, and calls and emails may not be returned quite as quickly as they used to be.

So if you’re deciding which expense software may be best for you, ask yourself these questions. And while you’re at it, ask your peers, analysts and other third parties. They’ll give you a far more accurate picture than the vendors ever will.

Download a full vendor comparison report to learn why more leading organizations 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. Sally Abella, Director of Corporate Travel Harman International
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. Ben Zastrow Zelle
Users Rate Chrome River over Concur for Global Expense Management

Users Rate Chrome River over Concur for Global Expense Management

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