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Tracking Expenses The Electronic Way With NetSuite

NetSuite today announced it has broadened its self-titled on-demand business process management software to incorporate employee accounting management.

NetSuite Employee Resource Management (ERM) automates employee management functions, such as expense reporting and tracking time spent on a project.

Because it is integrated with the rest of NetSuite's applications, including payroll and human resources, the ERM module allows for an electronic flow of what has traditionally been data from external sources within NetSuite.

For example, expense reports can all be done within NetSuite ERM and filed electronically. Expenses are then included as part of an employee's paycheck. The more common method is filling out an Excel spreadsheet, mailing or faxing the report for signature, and having the expenses come in a separate check.

The company argues that usual accounting solutions, especially for small and mid-sized companies, are standalone accounting point solutions that operate separately from the HR and finance systems.

"The alternative [to NetSuite ERM] is the medusa of multiple apps all tied together with bits of string and e-mail and fax," said Craig Sullivan, senior director of product management for NetSuite. "If you look at what businesses do today with e-mail, paper and fax with off-the-shelf apps cobbled together, that's a really inefficient way to operate."

The ERM module is a two-way street, allowing management, payroll and HR to push out documents to employees on matters such as benefits, job performance and reviews, company policies, new hire information, company policies, and other HR-related information.

NetSuite ERM is now available as part of NetSuite, as well as NetSuite Small Business, as a part of NetSuite Employee Center; it is sold in five-user bundles starting at $49 per month.

NetSuite's payroll service is sold separately, and is priced based on number of users and payroll frequency. All NetSuite applications are available as on-demand services.

Such a feature may sound like simply a nice addition, but Sanjeev Aggarwal, vice president of infrastructure solutions for SMB  market research firm AMI-Partners, said the ERM module has much more value than it may sound.

"Having it in one repository with elect approvals and all streamlined makes it important and leads to productivity of the employee and overall efficiency of the employee," he told internetnews.com.