Cash Flow Creates Options for Your Business. So Why Let Uncontrolled Company Spend Steal Them Away?

As the finance leader of a small or midsize business (SMB), what’s keeping you awake at night right now? Chances are you have much more on your plate these days – weighty stuff such as:  

·       How are we going to make payroll next week?  

·       What bills can we afford not to pay right now?  

·       Can we afford to keep so many employees on the books right now?  

·       Do we have the cash flow to fund higher production to fulfill an unprecedented increase in orders – before we actually get paid?  

·       Is it time to reduce our overhead for warehousing, staff, and more? 

·       How do we continue to approve and process vendor invoices and employee expenses remotely?

·       If high demand continues, should we expand in-house manufacturing or outsource it? 

There’s no quick answer to most of these questions. They require wisdom, business and customer insight, and a firm grasp on actual spending relative to cash flows, budgets, and liquidity. Note the emphasis on actual spending – because with company spending so decentralised today and tracking often manual, budgets may not reflect what’s really happening on the spend front. Employees are making purchases for items such as monitors and digital cameras using personal credit cards and expensing the costs and tracking mileage using handwritten records. At the same time, supplier invoiced purchases often come into accounts payable as paper invoices, which can take weeks to process. This means you, as a finance leader, are always at least a month away from knowing has been spent, by whom, and on what. Manual finance processes also drive up costs, frustrate employees (have you ever lost a receipt and can’t get a purchase reimbursed?), and hinder your ability to forecast spend and redirect budgets t where they are needed most. 

So as the finance leader of an SMB, perhaps the most pressing question to answer is this: What’s the state of our finance processes – in particular, the processes we use to track and manage discretionary spending? Because if you digitally transform your finance processes, you can intelligently automate how you manage travel, expense, and invoice management. As a result, you’ll be better positioned to respond, adapt, and survive in an uncertain business climate—whether that climate brings stormy weather or fair skies. 

What if you’ve already begun to digitally transform how you manage company spend by automating expense tracking and reporting, or how you pay supplier invoices? Then you’ve already taken an important first step, your visibility of cash flow has improved, and your employees are enjoying a faster, more mobile process that saves the time and hassle. But there’s more work to be done to gain full control of spend. Until all aspects of employee spend are automated and controlled, there’s always hidden spend leakage – purchases that aren’t strategic or simply unnecessary, add up quickly, and deplete vital cash flow that creates options for your business. How you answer the questions asked above are heavily influenced by your cash position.  

So more than ever, it’s important to keep optimising your spend management program. Are there areas of spend that are still handled manually? Automate them. Have troublesome areas of spend like mileage tracking? Deploy a GPS-based mileage tracking solution that takes the pen and guesswork out of tracking. Want to harness your spend data to make better business decisions? Employ expert services that compile spend data and generate actionable reports, or have an outside audit performed to detect hidden issues.  

By continuously improving your spend management capabilities, you’ll gain full control over cash flows – and be even better positioned to respond, adapt, and survive in today’s uncertain business climate. To help you along your journey, SAP Concur solutions offers seven recommendations.

To learn more about these recommended steps and how they can benefit your business, read the article from SAP Concur solutions7 Ways Your Finance Processes Can Help Future-Proof Your Business.”