How Resilient are Your Spend Processes? A Checklist for 2021

Companies around the world are looking for ways to move business forward in 2021. Consider this statistic from a September 2020 report by Aberdeen Research:

67% of companies worldwide have shown a noticeable to significant drop in revenue, with 24% indicating an increase and 8% with negligible change

We talked to business leaders around the world and evaluated insights gained through recent global surveys conducted with both AMI-Partners and Aberdeen to uncover top pressures driving expense and invoice process improvement. Not surprisingly, they include:

  • Need to reduce expense reimbursement time
  • Need to reduce manual AP errors, inaccurate entries and duplicate invoices
  • Lack of visibility into spend and budget comparisons

While many businesses had invested in expense management automation, the sudden shift to work-from-home quickly highlighted the fact that true business resilience requires having spend data connected and automated across multiple finance functions. Trends also emerged in the research about key spend management capabilities that build resilience.

What can we learn from those best-in-class businesses that are ahead of the curve? First and foremost, that automation is critical to visibility. In particular, businesses were able to benefit from enhanced visibility and control over corporate spend when Accounts Payable and expense spend data was integrated through automation.  

A study by AMI-Partners underscores this advantage by revealing that 61% of businesses reported having a lack of visibility into cash flow as a major challenge before automating.

Another key spend management capability of best-in-class businesses was the extent to which they empowered employees with mobile apps and tools. These workforces were able to transition to remote working much more smoothly than companies that relied on in-office software solutions and manual submission processes.

A recent survey of business leaders by Aberdeen Research found that global best-in-class companies are:

13% more likely to have mobile apps designed for making expense and supplier invoice approvals, and 10% more likely to have mobile apps designed for capturing expense receipts and submitting invoices immediately after incurring them.

In the end, it comes down to ensuring your spend management ecosystem is versatile, fully connected, and supported by a solutions partner with the expertise to help guide you every step of the way.

Ready to see how your business might compare? Keep in mind that if you are not able to check-off at least two of the resilience checklist items within each of the six capabilities, you may find yourself at a disadvantage.