An Overview of Technology That Allows Companies to Monitor Spending in Real Time

January 29, 2011 by  Filed under: Management 

The economic downturn of the last few years has caused many businesses to do a bit of fiscal belt tightening. While slowing the amount of money being spent is an important first step to getting a company’s budget under control, it is more or less pointless if a company does not also spend some energy monitoring how, when and where the money is being spent. There are several methods to choose from when it comes to monitoring spending and maintaining a budget. A good expense management program is an excellent option because it allows a business to monitor its accounts, pay bills, and balance expenses and income.

There is no shortage of programs available and they range from fee-based to free. Regardless of the software that is chosen, the guidelines to set up and use these programs are similar across the board. Once a program has been installed, an individual will enter income and then divide it into manageable chunks, usually by weeks or months. It is then necessary to fill in the expense categories and fill in the amounts for categories that are spent every month, such as utilities and rent. Depending on the number of expenditures, an individual can create as many subcategories as necessary.

Once all the information has been entered into the program, it is time to link the software to a bank account. These programs are designed to communicate regularly with a business’s bank so that spending can be monitored in real time. It will give an up-to-the-minute account of how much money is being spent and where it is going. Another nice feature about these programs is that most allow an individual or business the option of paying bills online. It may also feature a way to print checks directly from a computer.

Using these types of software programs will enable a business to track transactions as they happen. Combining real time transaction monitoring with detailed reporting that virtual card programs make available gives managers the information they need to improve resource allocation and improve profitability.

Some programs will try to automatically categorize spending, but their accuracy may not be 100%. It is a good idea to periodically check to make sure that the money being spent is placed in the right category. This type of program makes it possible to stay informed about where a company’s money is going and how it can improve spending habits. It is important to keep in mind that this type of software will not be as efficient if the majority of spending is being done with cash. It will monitor withdrawals but will have no way of keeping track of where the money is going.

Expense management solutions from Comdata provide businesses with a single source for purchases that can be tracked in real time. Employee expense tracking has never been easier.

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