(Last updated on January 12th, 2021)
SAP Concur or Expensify? Which expense management application is better in 2021?
Read this ultimate SAP Concur vs. Expensify comparison to find out which software is right for you.
Managing expenses can be a nightmare, particularly if you’re always on the road, on planes, working from client premises or from a laptop in Starbucks. Having to keep a handful of paper receipts, print-outs, boarding passes and credit card slips is the biggest hassle – particularly when you’re traveling light.
And as your business grows, you also have the headache of processing employee expenses and keeping a handle on what’s being spent. As a business moves from small to medium-sized, the task gets more difficult – and you’re going to need some help.
In this review we compare two expense management applications that can help businesses organize their expenses better. The first, SAP Concur, comes from corporate software giant SAP – you don’t need the company’s ERP software to use it, but if you do, it will slot right into the system. SAP Concur integrates travel and expense reporting for flights, hotels, rental cars, rail, and other categories, and also helps source travel bookings.
Expensify comes more from an innovative tech background and while it handles big corporate business, it also seems to understand small businesses’ needs. Like SAP Concur, it will handle expense reporting, policies and approval, and exports to most common accounting packages.
Which of these two is the best for you? We’ve kicked the tires, we’ve looked at the specs… and yes, there’s a winner. Read on to find out how the two applications compare.
SAP Concur Vs Expensify: Comparison At a Glance
Winner: SAP Concur. Both applications let you set up policies and approvals, link to the accounts system, scan receipts, and reimburse employees. But SAP Concur additionally helps manage travel bookings.
Winner: Expensify. SAP Concur has a high minimum and low pricing transparency. Expensify runs from free to $10 per user per month.
3. Ease of use
Winner: Expensify. SAP Concur does a lot, but its interface is dated and errors can be difficult to fix. Expensify has a small weak spot in producing reports, but otherwise is a much more user-friendly system.
4. Mobile Apps
Winner: Expensify. SAP Concur actually does more on the mobile app, adding travel booking and itinerary management. But Expensify again wins for user-friendliness – and when you’re uploading expenses on a road trip, ease of use is not an optional extra.
Winner: Tie. Both applications have good integrations with accounts software and travel providers.
6. Customer Support
Winner: Tie. We think both Expensify and SAP Concur could do better with customer support.
Winner: Expensify. Expensify is a little easier to implement, particularly for smaller businesses.
Winner: Tie. Both applications do a good job of reporting, but you may get more mileage out of using your accounts package’s reporting function to analyze the data.
SAP Concur has more functionality, but we don’t recommend it unless you already use other SAP products and need an expense management system that will integrate well with them. Its dated interface and high complexity make it a system that’s not particularly user-friendly, and its pricing structure lacks transparency.
Expensify doesn’t offer travel management as SAP Concur does, but its expenses management functions are more robust and easier to use. For us, that’s a convincing reason for taking Expensify on board.
Both Expensify and SAP Concur synchronize with your (or your employees’) credit cards, and allow receipts to be scanned into the system via smartphone. That’s the basic functionality behind both of the apps, and it’s the only part that employees and contractors will see.
However, there’s more to both of the apps than that, as they’ll link to your accounts system, let you set up policies and administer approvals, and give you reports to better control your expenses. Both also allow you to reimburse employees by direct deposit, automatically. If you’ve previously been writing checks or making individual one-off payments, it will dramatically free up your time.
Both these apps support multiple currencies, which is great if international travel is part of your business. And you’ll get proper audit trail allowing you to see who spent what – and who authorized what, too.
Expensify uses machine learning to identify the details on invoices (merchant’s name, type of transaction) and automatically fill them in on your system. It also matches each receipt automatically to the correct category of transaction. It also enables time tracking – something that SAP Concur doesn’t do – making it the better application of the two for businesses that work on the basis of billable hours.
Expensify also has some useful automation. For instance it spots duplicate receipts, reducing the risk you’ll reimburse someone twice for the same trip.
SAP Concur does all this but it also adds a separate feature set, enabling travel bookings through the system. It keeps track of credit cards, reward packages, seat preferences and so on, making bookings easier but also ensuring that corporate policies are followed and that group discounts are used to the full. However, some customers report that they’ve been able to book direct at lower rates.
SAP Concur also allows expenses to be assigned to specific projects or customers, so you get a good feeling for project/customer profitability, and can re-bill customers with relevant expenses.
However, SAP Concur has one small but annoying glitch: you can’t split receipts. So for instance if an employee stays in a hotel for three days, spending two days working with one customer but the third day making a few sales calls, if the hotel bill was paid in one shot it’s not going to be easy to allocate two thirds to the customer support function and one third to sales.
This is one area that Expensify gets right – you can split an expense using the ‘Options’ tab on the mobile app. And each split automatically contains a copy of the original receipt.
Winner: SAP Concur
Expensify actually has a free version. It’s pretty limited, as you can only use it for 25 Smartscans a month, but it can help a small business get started – or you can use it as effectively a free trial for the software. It’s also potentially useful for freelances who need to re-bill certain expenses to one of their regular customers.
The unlimited version costs $4.99 per user per month, and includes a little more functionality, too. But most medium sized businesses would gain much more by stepping up to one of the two corporate versions, which add synchronization with your accounting software and full reconciliation. If you use an Expensify corporate credit card, it only costs $5 per user per month – and you get a lot of value for the extra penny!
We understand that Expensify only bills for the number of users who have actually used the application in any given month. That’s great news for business which have high seasonality, or which have a high proportion of occasional users.
The Control package adds HR integration and sophisticated approval workflows for $10 per user per month. That may be too ‘corporate’ for some mid-sized businesses.
|Plan||Pricing per user per month||Functionality|
|Free||Free||Up to 25 Smartscans/month., other functionality as for Track or Submit|
|Track||$4.99||Mileage tracking, auto-categorize: freelance or solo entrepreneur|
|Submit||$4.99||Same as Track but for multi-employee businesses: submits receipts to manager / accountant|
|Collect||$5 with Expensify card $10 unbundled||Adds auto-sync to accounting software, reconciliations|
|Control||$9 with Expensify card $18 unbundled||Adds corporate card management, approval workflows, HR/ERP integration|
To benefit from the bundled fee, 50% of more of spend must be on the Expensify card.
SAP Concur sells on a quote basis so there’s no openly available price structure, and it prices per report. The Standard Edition starts at around $8 per report. We don’t like to recommend products that don’t have a transparent pricing structure. There is also a minimum monthly charge level or around $80 which may make SAP Concur uneconomic for the smaller business. There is no set-up fee, though.
Both applications have a free trial available.
3. Ease of Use
Expensify gets super reviews for the ease with which users can upload receipts on their phones. It’s a good-looking and easy to navigate app. The workflow for approvals, too, is easy to learn and use. That’s good news if you’ve never needed to administer expenses for staff before.
However, getting reports out of the system can be complicated. Admins don’t seem to love Expensify quite as much as the employees do. And it can be frustrating when credit card and banking links get thrown out of sync.
SAP Concur has a user interface that’s slightly intimidating – lots of small fonts and expanses of small numbers. It’s also not terribly intuitive, and a number of users complain that the software is cumbersome. It doesn’t always itemize expenses correctly, and can fail unexpectedly when it’s exporting data to other systems. It does, however, make a good job of showing basic information on the dashboard.
One feature of SAP Concur that we find a hassle is that its error reports don’t give much information on exactly what has gone wrong or how to resolve the problem. That’s an area that could be much better handled – particularly considering the relative lack of customer support. And oddly, SAP Concur doesn’t focus on exceptions, or prioritize tasks that need action.
4. Mobile apps
SAP Concur For Mobile allows users to capture receipts with their smartphones, but that’s not all it does. For instance, you can create an itinerary on the phone out of separate travel and hotel reservations – going well beyond just being able to make bookings. The phone will also track car mileage and add it to the expense report. Manager access allows you to approve or reject expense reports on the phone, too.
Expensify feels more mobile native and the interface is much more fresh and modern. Like SAP Concur, it expands its functionality well beyond simple expense scanning. Mileage/GPS tracking works within the app, for instance, though it doesn’t deliver the full desktop functionality.
However, reviews seem to be split between five star and one star – the mobile app is a life saver for some, but it can be buggy particularly if you’re uploading a lot of reports at the same time.
Expensify aims to integrate with all your business systems. For accounting, it can put your expense data straight into QuickBooks, Sage, Intacct, Xero or Oracle Netsuite. It can integrate with payroll and time management systems such as Gusto, Workday, and TSheets.
It also has a whole batch of receipt integrations including Uber, Lyft, Hotel Tonight, Trainline, Parkwhiz and Roomex, AirPlus, Tripcatcher, TravelPerk and more. If your staff use one of these systems to make a booking, Expensify will catch it automatically.
SAP Concur’s integrations tend to be on the heavier side, biased towards big corporate solutions. It integrates well with enterprise software like Sunsystems and of course with other SAP solutions, and also works with QuickBooks and Intacct.
Like Expensify, it’s got a list of receipts integrations including TripIt, Lyft, Uber, and even AirBNB for Work.
Neither of these apps integrates with accounts packages at the really small end of SME, such as Wave, Zipbooks, or Zoho.
6. Customer Support
SAP Concur is really supportive in the implementation period, when you’ll have your own personal rep to lead you through the process of setting up and configuring the system. But after that, there’s no phone support; you have to submit a support request through the website, and response isn’t always as timely as it could be.
That’s a pain, because you’re dealing with a quite complex application which isn’t always intuitive, so there’s a real need for support. It’s perhaps not surprising that SAP Concur’s (lack of) customer support is one of the least liked features in user reviews of the product.
Expensify also provides a training session and onboarding support for paid plans – not for free ones – but has rather less in the way of ongoing support. It has a chat service, but it can take a while to get a response, particularly at month-end which is always the busiest period. Credit card sync can also be a weak point and if things go wrong, it’s sometimes difficult to get them fixed.
In our view, both applications could do a better job of supporting their customers.
Both these applications are provided on the cloud so there’s no local installation needed. Expensify is very easy to set up and get started if you only want to link up two or three users. If you have more, you’ll need to take a bit more thought about how to implement and roll out the application, but Expensify provides help throughout the process.
SAP Concur, partly because it offers more complexity, is a little trickier to set up. However, if you want to implement specific expenses policies and be able to attribute expenses to different cost centers and create different types of expense, spending time on set-up well repays the time and effort. There’s a lot of customization that can be done during set-up and that will add value over the long term.
SAP Concur also offers help with configuration – enterprises get an Activation Coach who’ll assist in ensuring the best possible implementation.
Both these applications deliver robust reporting of expenses trends. Some admins have criticized Expensify, since the interface for business reports isn’t easy to use and customizing it demands familiarity with basic programming commands. However, you’ll be able to get good information on what’s being spent, by whom, and where.
However, many users may find that it’s actually easier to get good results by exporting the data to their accounting package and then using customized reports within the accounts system. Integration with QuickBooks, for instance, lets you use QuickBooks’ really excellent reports system, particularly if you have one of the more highly priced packages.
Both these applications do a good job of managing travel expenses for the mid-sized business. However, we feel that for most businesses, Expensify has the edge. It’s cheaper (unless you have a very large number of users), more user-friendly, and its integrations are more focused on the kind of applications that mid-sized businesses use.
SAP Concur, by contrast, is more relevant to the needs of larger enterprises. It does add travel planning functionality, but we’re not sure how much value that adds, particularly given some users report getting better rates by going direct to hotels or airlines. Some users find it clunky, as well.
If you already use SAP products for other business needs, though, easy integration is a big plus for SAP Concur.
Both these applications are really for the mid-sized to larger business. They start to pay for themselves once the work of policing employees’ expenses becomes too big for your management team. Automating report submission and approvals takes a big weight off your shoulders.
Expensify’s free app might also work nicely for smaller businesses and the self-employed. But since most accounts apps for small business will now let you scan receipts in, and provide robust reporting, you probably don’t need Expensify as well.
But there’s one way Expensify does work really well for single users. Plenty of employees have decided to declare independence and use Expensify to file their reports, even though their employers don’t officially support it. Because reports go to an email, Expensify will let you do this – in fact it’s one of their most common ways of winning a big account! So if you have one major client and re-billing them your expenses is always a pain, Expensify could work really well for you.
Yes, Expensify integrates with QuickBooks and can export all the expense data you need directly into your accounts system. Because it has already categorized the data, you’ll have much less work to do in the accounting system. Expensify also works with Sage, Intacct, Xero, and Oracle Netsuite.
Expensify makes money in two ways – from subscriptions to its software application as a service, and from its corporate credit card. Any company with a US bank account can use the credit card, and as long as 50% of spending is on the card, will benefit from a lower monthly price for the software subscription.
Expensify issues a free corporate credit card for use with the app. In addition to enabling employees to meet their expenses, it helps manage the business – settlement is daily rather than monthly, and expenses are automatically synced to accounts and categorized.