Recovery or Not: How Finance Leaders Can Maintain Balance

As a finance leader, you’ve got a ton on your plate. 2020 and beyond shined a spotlight on many challenges, with an urgency for many businesses to improve how they run—immediately.

In this new landscape, many SMBs adopted some form of digitisation to help connect workers and improve processes, according to an Oxford Economics survey of small businesses. But some aren’t sure if the changes will stick, while many still work with manual paper processes or have only partially automated their finances. So, many operations still face workflow roadblocks, gaps in spend visibility, and spotty policy compliance.

But creating a resilient business is an ever-evolving process. So here are some best practices to follow, particularly when you have no spend to waste.

Best practices for spend management

In any economy, it’s critical to control costs, but even more so when navigating unpredictable terrain. But the building blocks of resilience include:

Streamlined processes – Manual data entry and paper processes cost a lot of time (and, therefore, money) to maintain. They’re also prone to higher rates of errors, which take additional time to reconcile. Meanwhile, automated financial processes and data capturing gives financial workers the right tools to do their jobs efficiently and more accurately.

Clear policies – Creating and communicating invoice and expense policies, and incorporating them into your processes, makes a distinct difference in keeping everyone compliant with spend—and therefore keeping costs in check.

Up-to-date spend visibility – Do you know where your cash flow stands now? Like, right now? A resilient business is an informed business when it comes to knowing exactly how much money is coming in and going out. With a manual process, you might have a lag time of days, weeks, or even months, on where your cash flow stands, which means you’re probably making very important business decisions in the dark. Having real-time spend visibility lets you see your next steps more clearly.

Employee support – Making it easier for employees to do their jobs, and do them accurately, makes for happier and more productive employees. Providing clear policies and processes eliminates the guesswork—and resulting errors—when employees spend on the company dime.

Cost control – All of these factors—visibility into spend, keeping processes efficient and accurate, adopting clear policies, and helping everyone be more productive—play into controlling costs, which can give you greater fiscal resilience to keep going in almost any economic climate.

Spend management automation and business resilience

You work to apply these best practices every day. But there’s an easier way to do it: by embracing full automation of your finance processes.

If you’ve wondered whether automation is right for your business, consider this: more and more businesses are automating their manual tasks. Your competitors might also be automating their manual tasks, adopting processes that make their teams more productive, and getting insights to help them make better financial decisions—and ultimately stay resilient when it matters most.

How are finance leaders looking to spend management automation to accelerate the recovery and growth in these times? According to Bryan Ball, research director for Aberdeen’s Supply Chain and Supplier Management research practice:  “In this current environment, having visibility into critical spending information that impacts cashflow and such as expense reports and vendor invoices can make a difference in terms of survival or how quickly companies can return to a stable position and be better prepared for the future.” 

Automating your expense and accounts payable processes will:

  • Show up-to-date spending across your business
  • Eliminate paper receipts
  • Auto-populate expense reports based on uploaded captured receipts
  • Automatically reimburse employees and pay vendors and creditors
  • Create a secure system of checks and balances by matching submissions with charges and receipts
  • Help spot and mitigate fraud

Staying agile has always been important, but it’s now more important than ever. See the Concur Expense demo and Concur Invoice demo to learn how they can help.