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How to Automate Custom Expense Management for SMEs using No-Code Tools

Explore how no-code tools are transforming custom expense management for SMEs. Learn why automation is crucial, uncover challenges of manual processes, and discover how to streamline workflows for efficiency and growth in financial management.

Nelson Marteleira
Designer & Nocoder

In the sphere of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), it is essential to optimize operational processes for sustained growth. One such process is custom expense management, for which automation emerges as a strategic solution for navigating the intricacies of financial workflows.

Recognizing the significant impact of automating custom expense management for SMEs is essential in a context where manual methodologies can hinder progress. Challenges related to manual approaches, such as time constraints, susceptibility to errors, and potential oversights, underscore the need for transitioning to automated frameworks - a move from convenience to strategic necessity.

This article explores the paradigm shift catalysed by no-code tools, shedding light on the substantial advantages inherent in this technological evolution.

As we systematically unpack the guide, elucidate benefits, scrutinize real-life case studies, and articulate best practices, the narrative unfolds, delineating a transformative terrain where SMEs can fortify their financial processes without the necessity for profound technical adeptness.

Understanding the Automation of Custom Expense Management Process 

Picture this: stacks of receipts, hours lost in data entry, and the constant fear of human error in your financial records. It's a familiar struggle for many SMEs.

That's precisely why automating Custom Expense Management is not just a luxury; it's a necessity

The custom expense process involves the systematic handling of tasks such as:

  1. Expense Identification;
  2. Expense Recording;
  3. Expense Approval;
  4. Expense Reimbursement;
  5. Expense Tracking;
  6. Reporting and Analysis;
  7. Integration with Accounting Systems.

The manual process brings along a set of challenges - time-consuming, error-prone, and prone to oversight. The good news is that automation through no-code tools offers several benefits that significantly improve the efficiency of tasks related to expense management for SMEs, such as:

  1. Reduced Manual Entry;
  2. Streamlined Workflows;
  3. Standardized Processes;
  4. Real-time Visibility;
  5. Improved Accuracy;
  6. Faster Approvals and Reimbursements.

In the fast-paced business world, these hurdles can make or break a company. It's time to break free from manual chains and embrace a more efficient way of managing expenses.

📌 Also read: How To Automate Field Operations For SMEs Using No-Code Tools

Exploring No-Code Tools 

Enter the superheroes of our story - no-code tools. These platforms empower even the least tech-savvy among us to take the reins of automation. No longer do you need a degree in computer science to streamline your financial processes.

The advantages for SMEs are crystal clear: simplicity, affordability, and accessibility.

For instance, Merge Development, a no-code agency, has successfully implemented a no-code workflow for internal expense management, which streamlined the entire process, resulting in a threefold increase in efficiency.

Merge Development has successfully implemented a no-code workflow for expense management

Moreover, a study conducted by Forrester Consulting found that companies using no-code automation tools experienced a 50% reduction in time-to-market for new applications and a 40% increase in productivity among developers.

Now, let's spotlight three no-code tools that are revolutionizing Custom Expense Management and making life easier for businesses like yours.

  • Zapier: Seamlessly connect your expense management tools without a single line of code.
  • Airtable: Turn your data into powerful databases, effortlessly organizing and tracking expenses.
  • Make (former Integromat): Automate workflows with ease, saving time and reducing manual errors.

Check out this quick tutorial to see how easy it is to build a free expense tracking tool using Airtable mobile app.

How to create an expense tracking tool using Airtable: by Business Automated

Step-by-Step Guide to Automating Custom Expense Management

9 Steps to automate custom expense management

1. Map the Expense Management Process: Break down the process into stages;

2. Gather requirements: Identify all your needs to automate the process and identify trigger points for automation;

3. Choose the right No-Code tool: Select a tool based on your specific needs, considering factors like user-friendliness and integration capabilities;

4. Connect Your Expense Apps: Begin by linking your expense tracking and management tools through the chosen no-code platform;

5. Set Triggers: Define specific triggers, such as new expenses or approvals, to kick-start the automation process;

6. Data Mapping: Ensure accurate data flow by mapping fields from source to destination;

7. Implement Conditions: Set conditions for when actions should take place, adding flexibility to your automation;

8. Test Your Workflow: Before fully deploying, conduct rigorous testing to identify and iron out any potential issues;

9. Deploy and Monitor: Once satisfied, deploy your automated workflow and keep a vigilant eye on its performance.

Benefits and ROI 

💰Cost Savings

No-code automation drastically reduces manual labor costs associated with traditional expense management processes. According to a study by McKinsey, companies can achieve cost savings of up to 30% by automating repetitive tasks. For SMEs, this translates to significant savings in terms of time and resources, as fewer staff hours are spent on manual data entry, approval processes, and reconciliation.

🚀 Efficiency Boost

No-code automation streamlines workflows, leading to a significant decrease in the time spent on tedious tasks. For example, by automating expense approval workflows, SMEs can reduce the time it takes to process expense requests from days to hours. This not only improves efficiency but also enhances employee satisfaction by providing a faster and more seamless experience.

📈 Productivity Gains

Automating custom expense management processes frees up resources for strategic business initiatives, enhancing overall productivity. With less time and effort spent on manual tasks, employees can focus on activities that add value to the business, such as innovation, customer service, or market expansion.

⤵️ Error Reduction

No-code automation minimizes the risk of human error in financial records, ensuring data accuracy and integrity. Manual processes are prone to mistakes, such as typos, miscalculations, and missed entries, which can lead to inaccuracies in expense reporting and financial statements.

💲Estimated ROI

Calculating the ROI of no-code automation for custom expense management in SMEs showcases tangible returns and emphasizes the financial advantages of automation. By quantifying the cost savings, efficiency gains, and productivity improvements achieved through automation, SMEs can make a compelling business case for investment in no-code tools.

Using intelligent automation to double productivity in Finance”, Deloitte

Overall, by automating custom expense management processes through no-code tools, SMEs can achieve significant cost savings, efficiency gains, productivity improvements, error reduction, and a compelling ROI, positioning them for long-term success and growth.

Real-Life Case Study 

Real-Life Case Study: XYZ Marketing Solutions

🎯 The Challenge

XYZ Marketing Solutions faced a daunting challenge in their manual expense management, drowning in paperwork and risking errors. Recognizing the need for change, they embarked on the journey to automate their process.

💡 The Solutions

  • Zapier Implementation: Seamlessly integrating various expense-related apps with Zapier eliminated manual data entry, ensuring a continuous flow of accurate information.
  • Airtable Utilization: Leveraging Airtable, XYZ Marketing Solutions transformed scattered expense data into an organized database, simplifying tracking and analysis.
  • Custom Triggers and Actions: With Zapier, custom triggers and actions were set up, automating notifications and approvals for new expenses, reducing delays and improving team communication.

🚀 The Results

40% Reduction in Processing Time: Automation led to a 40% reduction in processing time, freeing up resources for revenue-generating activities.

Error Reduction to Almost Zero: Automation through Zapier and Airtable ensured accuracy in recording and tracking expenses, minimizing the risk of human error.

Enhanced Collaboration: Custom triggers and actions facilitated smoother communication, streamlining the workflow within XYZ Marketing Solutions.

🤖 Key Tools Used

  • Zapier: Connected and automated workflows between expense-related apps.
  • Airtable: Transformed scattered data into an organized database for streamlined tracking.

XYZ Marketing Solutions' journey showcases the transformative impact of no-code automation, proving that even a marketing agency can revolutionize its financial processes. Challenges were met, solutions implemented seamlessly, and the results speak volumes about the benefits of embracing no-code solutions for Custom Expense Management.

Best Practices 

✔️ Regular Audits

By scheduling periodic reviews, SMEs can assess the performance of their automated expense management processes and identify any areas for optimization or enhancement. During audits, SMEs should evaluate various aspects of their automation workflows, including: accuracy, compliance, performance, and user feedback.

✔️ Stay Informed

Keeping abreast of updates and enhancements to chosen no-code tools is crucial for maximizing the benefits of automation in expense management. No-code platforms regularly release new features, improvements, and integrations that can enhance the functionality and performance of automated workflows.

✔️ User Training

Investing time in training your team to optimize the use of automated systems is crucial for ensuring everyone is on the same page for seamless integration. Effective user training helps employees understand how to use the automated expense management system effectively, increasing adoption rates and maximizing the benefits of automation.

✔️ Monitoring and Fine-Tuning

Even after automation is implemented, it's important to regularly evaluate and optimize processes to ensure they remain effective and efficient. Monitoring and fine-tuning activities may include: performance metrics, feedback mechanisms, process analysis, and continuous improvement.


In conclusion, the era of manual expense management for SMEs is fading into oblivion. 

Armed with no-code tools, businesses can not only survive but thrive in the competitive landscape. As someone deeply immersed in the world of no-code for over five years, I've witnessed the tangible benefits these tools bring. The key is to embrace change, explore the possibilities, and watch as your Custom Expense Management transforms from a burden to a strategic advantage

Don't just take my word for it; take the first step towards automation and experience the difference yourself. Cheers to a more efficient and productive future!

Nelson Marteleira

Nelson is the co-founder NoCode Institute. He is an experienced NoCode specialist and developer with a solid portfolio. Nelson helps bring ideas to reality.

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