EIU: Australian Executives Keeping A Digital Eye On Spend Management

Economic activity plummeted in the first half of the year in Australia. It is expected to rebound slightly in the second half of 2020 but will be slow and uneven, suggesting that even economic recovery from the global health crisis may be like the pandemic itself: unpredictable. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s baseline scenario, which assumes that infection rates in the country subside, forecasts GDP will take several years to return to pre-pandemic levels due to rising unemployment and muted consumer consumption.

To identify key trends among global organisations on the road to recovery, SAP Concur and The Economist Group surveyed 522 senior executives in 11 countries in June and July 2020. This report provides a detailed analysis how Australian executives deploy technology to better position themselves for the long-term.

Even before the pandemic, corporate spending was already challenging to track and manage, being deeply distributed across employees and taking a variety of forms, from cash to digital payments to P-cards. Now, there’s an even greater complexity as working from home creates new types of categories such as PPE or work-from-home expenses. Australian executives are relying on their expense management solutions to create order, ensure oversight into spending, and deliver business comes that support spend management in three ways: by increasing efficiency and productivity, delivering greater spend visibility, and hardwiring processes that ensure adherence to spending policies. 

Pursing these identifies strategic priorities requires close partnership across different functions in the organisations. Research on how to manage spend in a finance digital transformation shows:

  • Only 58% of Australian respondents strongly agree that IT leaders have adequate insights into the technology needs and priorities of the finance function. On the other hand, only 48% respondents strongly agree that finance leaders in their organisations fully understand IT leaders’ decision-making process when purchasing emerging technologies. 
  • 73% of Australian executives indicated that their most important business outcome from an automated travel expense solution is business efficiency. 83% indicated visibility into company spend as another priority business outcome.
  • 88% of Australian executives surveyed say the global pandemic will forever change how businesses operate. 96% also agree that it has forced their organisations to completely rethink their approach to travel and expense management. 

A rethink of current practices is indeed required to gain sure financial footing in this ever-changing business landscape. Download the report to learn more about how Australian executives leverage technology to better understand and manage spend across the business.