Budgeting for big-ticket expenses, like office rent, salary, and benefits, is simple enough. These types of recurring expenditures, in which the numbers generally are the same month to month, can be easily traced in accounting software and something you may even be able to keep track of in your head.

The sort of expenses that tend to interfere with budgets usually are those smaller transactions that take place across a multitude of vendors. These low-value expenditures, known as “tail-end spend,” can add up quickly and be tricky to track.

Many small or mid-sized enterprises (SMEs) struggle to capture and analyse this kind of spend due to a lack of time and resources. Without dedicated teams or systems in place, it can be easy to lose sight of what is being spent by whom and why. Because a credit card often is used to purchase these kinds of goods and services, the charges generally aren’t monitored until after the purchase and, therefore, not accounted for in profit and loss planning.

American Express Global Business Travel (GBT) aims to change that with the launch of a new spend management platform called Neo1, which was specifically built to help SME business owners and finance departments manage employee spend. Here are five ways the tool can help your business gain greater visibility over employee spend.

1. It offers three services in one tool.

SMEs may rely on finance software, Excel, or expensive specialist reporting services to gain a consolidated view of their spend behaviors and trends. Then they may use a second and third tool to enable employees to buy the items they need to do their jobs and book business trips.

Neo1 simplifies this by combining all three functions – travel expense management, purchasing, and travel booking – in one tool. With Neo1, businesses can pre-approve, source, procure, process, and report on total employee spend in a single location. Because it integrated with GBT’s booking tool, employees also can book flights, hotels, and ground transportation services and get access to live travel counselor support 24/7.

This all helps to create a more efficient workflow. Your employees won’t need to learn different systems and procedures, save multiple passwords and links, or toggle back and forth between programs to buy the items they need to do their jobs. Meanwhile, owners can rest assured that total employee spend is being conducted within company boundaries.

2. It offers seamless integrations that turbocharge your capabilities.

As if having all the functions described above isn’t enough, Neo1 offers “out of the box” integrations with third parties that boost what you can do within the tool.

For instance, with the Amazon Business integration, employees can search and purchase items they need for work from zillions of suppliers through the e-commerce marketplace. Because there is full pre-purchase approval, managers have total visibility and oversight before an order can be fulfilled.

Neo1 also features integrations with leading finance systems, such as Sage, Xero, and QuickBooks, to optimize data flows and reimbursements. The connections only take a few minutes to establish – you just click a button, enter some information, and the two systems start talking to each other.

3. It sets up parameters around employee spend. 

Often SMEs don’t see the damage of overspending until it’s too late. However, with Neo1’s pre-purchase approval workflows, managers can accept or reject specific purchases before the transactions go through and set other limits around employee spend.

This means a manager can say “yes” to the stationery Scott wants but “no” to the $5,000 laptop he put in the online shopping cart before Amazon Business begins processing the transaction and fulfilling the order.

And because the travel booking tool in Neo1 takes into account company policies, you’ll have more visibility into the costs of air and hotel bookings.

4. It is simple to set up.

The problem with many spend management tools is they can be challenging to configure and set up. Not the case with Neo1.

Creating a simple, consistent user interface and experience was an essential part of Neo1’s design. Each person has the same view and user experience to simplify adoption, and little technical know-how is required.

Because Neo1 has been preconfigured with settings and policies applicable to your business needs, your teams also won’t get bogged down trying to set it up. Businesses can have the platform up and running within 48 hours. All you need to do to get started is sign up on the Neo1 registration site.  

5. It won’t cost you a pence at the moment.

Especially in this economic climate, we wanted to do something to help local businesses. At the moment, Neo1 – now available in the UK and soon launching in the US – is available at no cost. Yes, you read that right! There are no subscription fees, and you do not need to upload a credit card to gain access to the platform.

So take advantage of this unique offer – register now on the Neo1 signup page.