Is your business growing? Now is the time to think about digitizing your expense reports! Your workforce is growing, your employees are travelling more often, and business expenses are piling up. The result: your accounting department is overwhelmed by the enormity of the task and your employees’ productivity is marred by the repeated and time-consuming chore of preparing expense reports. To streamline the validation process, help teams increase their efficiency, and improve overall satisfaction within the company by reducing the grind of expense report management, switch to a digital solution! To choose the solution that best suits your needs, take it one step at a time–from preparing your technical specifications to launching your request for proposal, N2F will accompany you in your transition to digitized expense reports.
Expense report RFP: consultation challenges
You want to digitize your expense reports to save time, improve process reliability, and/or reduce your management costs? Your choice of solution is crucial. The following two methods can help you make the right choice:
- Issue a request for proposal, or RFP. The upstream procedure is long and will require a lot of energy from your company. The advantage: solution providers come to you with their best offer.
- You identify potential providers and ask them for an expense report RFQ (request for quotation): the prior selection reduces your options, but the procedure is faster.
In any case, you need to do some work in-house before choosing your expense report digitization solution. This solution must be exactly tailored to your needs, by addressing the issues that you have identified. It’s up to the publisher to show you the extent of the additional functionalities offered by its tool, as well as the many bonuses that you can take advantage of to further facilitate the paperless management of your expense reports. Technologies on the market evolve quickly, make sure that you take advantage of the best innovations!
Writing a request for proposal: the essential steps
A successful RFP must be carefully prepared. You need to establish a meticulous set of technical specifications that are perfectly aligned with your company’s expense report management needs.
These technical specifications will help potential service providers to understand your priorities so that they are able to provide you with a compliant digitization solution. In addition, the technical specifications should be consulted regularly by your teams throughout the RFP process, to avoid deviating from your objectives.
1. Set up a project committee to draft the technical specifications
To ensure that the technical specifications drafting process is consistent and efficient, entrust the task to a project committee. When setting up the committee, it is advisable to involve, at different levels, the various stakeholders in the project.
The accounting department is naturally interested in digitizing expense reports. But the IT and finance departments and employees should also have their say. The technical specifications for the digitization of your expense reports should specify the exact requirements that the solution must meet: every employee who is a stakeholder in the expense report system should therefore participate in the process.
Don’t hesitate to distribute roles. For example, you could assign an advisory role to employees, entrust the IT department with the verification of technical aspects, and the decision-making role to the head of the accounting department.
Once you have set up your project committee, you can start drafting your technical specifications.
To help you get started, take a look at our technical specifications template.
2. Collect your requirements
This central step will determine how satisfied you are with the system that is ultimately delivered, so make sure you take the time to collect the opinions of all stakeholders. You can carry out an internal consultation using question/answer forms and satisfaction surveys: this allows the employees surveyed to participate in fine-tuning the company’s expense management needs. Be sure to leave a blank space for respondents to make any useful comments they have.
The expense report digitization solution that you choose will depend on your key objectives. Make sure you ask the right questions!
3. Validate the technical specifications to launch the RFP
Once you have identified your requirements, you can list the essential functionalities required for your expense report management solution. You should also record additional requirements in the technical specifications to highlight your priorities.
Before issuing your request for proposal, check that your technical specifications address the following points:
- The major improvements that the solution must be able to provide.
- Essential functionalities–approval workflow, paperless payment method, reporting and export, collaborative sharing with access rights management, etc.
- The number of users supported by the tool.
- Your overall budget for digitizing your expense reports.
With your technical specifications in hand, the software publishers will be able to respond effectively to your request for proposal. We recommend that you download our sample RFP for expense report management. Its Excel format allows you to tailor the template to your own needs.
Expense report RFP: 3 questions to ask when choosing your solution
How will expense reports be submitted in the software?
To be implemented easily and quickly, your new solution must be compatible with your existing methods and IT system.
Example: Is the new expense report management tool capable of managing a receipt transferred from an online purchase and a scanned image? Make sure that the solution includes OCR (optical character recognition) to ensure data extraction and mapping in the fields of an expense line. The best solutions can intelligently assign an expense type to a transaction based on the data on the receipt.
What is the pricing model for the expense report management software?
Ask publishers about the exact costs for implementing and maintaining your future expense report management solution, so that you can compare prices and stay within your budget. Some providers offer fixed-price implementation, while others charge additional fees–there may be hidden costs that you need to know about before making your choice.
Do the software’s international capabilities suit your needs?
Is your company expanding internationally? Your digitized expense report solution must address this issue. Make sure that you will be able to enter expenses in any currency, from the afghani to the kroon to the zloty: your new tool must be able to support your organization wherever your company is operating. Also check for language accessibility: is the user interface available in all the languages your team uses, on the full desktop version and for mobile users? This may be one of your key selection criteria.
We recommend that you download our checklist to help you choose your expense report management software and to prepare an effective RFP that will help you identify the best expense report management software provider for your needs. Don’t hesitate to contact us, we are here to help you with your request.
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