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9/96 Reviews SW: Xpense Management Solution

Listing of September 1996 Reviews

Expense Heaven for the Fortun(at)e 1000

By James E. Powell

QuickXpense has truly grown up. Once just a front-end for preparing your travel and entertainment forms, it's become an enterprise groupware package, the Xpense Management Solution. It bears about as much resemblance to standalone expense-tracking systems as an elephant does to a flea.

I checked out an early beta version of this software, and was impressed with its money-saving potential for organizations of 250 or more. XMS employs e-mail to move forms along, adding sophisticated processing to speed the review and handling of expense management's paper mountains.

As a traveler, you'll see XMS as QuickXpense's checkbook-like front-end for entering expenses. The system can feed purchases from major credit card processors to employees via your corporate network's e-mail system. Expenses will automatically appear in your QuickXpense Inbox; you indicate whether a charge is company-related or personal. The program can preview additions before it makes them and will match them with charges you've already added to forms.

The program builds in rules, known as policies, to prevent errors or incomplete forms. Airfare charges might require a ticket number, for example, while meals might need info on business purpose. You can define dollar limits for each expense type; exceeding that amount can trigger the need for additional approvals.

The finished form routes to managers for approval, returning status messages to the sender as it progresses. Your boss can approve or reject an entire form, or just certain entries.

XpenseServer sits on an NT server and shunts approvals into an SQL database. XMS Administration tools help set up and maintain the program, which needs professional installation. That in itself is valuable; the Portable Software technicians I spoke with shared several money-saving travel industry trends and suggested ways to best use the product.

Xpense Management Solution is, quite simply, an accounts payable clerk's version of heaven. For the average Joe who just needs to fill in an expense report, Intuit's Quicken ExpensAble 2.0, our current Recommended product, is still the best choice. For the Fortune 1000, Xpense Management Solution could be a godsend.

--Info File--
Xpense Management Solution
$200 per seat; consulting charges and installation additional
Pros: Intuitive e-mail and checkbook-like interface
Cons: Requires on-site installation and consulting
Platforms: Windows 95, 3.1x, NT; Windows NT required for XpenseServer
Disk Space: 6MB; server, 8MB (exclusive of data files)
RAM: 4MB; server: 16MB
Portable Software Corp.
800-478-7411, 206-702-8808
WinMag Box Score: 4.0

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