They say change is the only constant. That’s changed, too.
It seems as if everything in business has evolved – radically – in the last year. From policies to paperwork to personal protective equipment to the fact that we’re not even going into the office anymore, it’s all fundamentally different than just a few months ago, and we’re all trying to figure it out.
This change isn’t all bad, however. It’s forcing companies to rethink efficiencies, reexamine spending, and reimagine how work gets done. And because you’ve got a proven system in place to actually do these things, you’ve been able to adapt and keep costs under control. That means you’re doing better than a lot of companies.
If you want to continue to improve – if you want to do more than just keep up with the changes as organizations work through the next stage of this business evolution – it’s going to take more than automating expenses. Automation is a great start, but it’s just that: A start. There is so much more you can do to outpace the challenges you’re facing. Specifically, that means expanding your SAP Concur solution.
So where do you begin?
It starts with re-examining spending.
Perhaps the most critical thing a company can have in unstable times is sure financial footing. But that, as you know, is almost always easier said than done.
Remote workers are running up remote costs for home offices, internet services, and expense categories you’ve never had to imagine before. People aren’t flying to as many meetings as they used to, but they’re driving considerably more – and few expenses are as nebulous and hard to manage as mileage. Employees are buying what they need to do their jobs, but if they can’t easily access your system, they’re just buying and billing you later, so you never know what’s coming or going.
Automation solves for some of this, but if it’s the only step you take, you can’t be certain your spending is helping you in every way possible.
The next steps involve modifying policies to match your goals, whether that’s simplifying the employee experience (eliminating paper receipts, for example, and capturing those transactions electronically), or tightening controls so that you can preemptively manage expenses before the money’s spent. You also want to make sure the processes you have in place are doing what you want them to do. Do you need GPS mileage capture, now that people are flying less and driving more? Do you want audit assistance to make sure every expense is what it says it is? Should you be looking at benchmarking data to see best practices and how you compare?
Guidance is good.
Employees have to be able to buy what they need, but as more and more of them buy things on their own, spending gets harder and harder to see and all but impossible to control. Since there are more ways to spend (from digital payments to virtual cards, purchasing cards, and ghost cards) , there are more things to miss. Your system has to work harder and reach farther to capture it all, and if it isn’t set up to adapt as things continue to change, you’re not going to get the data you need.
Once you have that spending data, you also need to be able analyize it, audit it, and put the findings to work. Otherwise, it’s just more numbers that don’t do you any good.
Expanding beyond automation moves you beyond this issue. Your solution can help you guide and govern your spending, even as it changes. So you can see who is spending, where they’re spending, and what payment methods they’re using. When you have this information, you can make better decisions for your organization.
So ask yourself:
- Are you delivering a simple, digital experience and making following the rules the easiest, fastest way for employees to get what they need?
- Are you bringing consistency and clarity to your process, giving you confidence that all your spending is going through the proper channels, getting the proper approvals, and following the proper policies?
- And are you giving budget managers a simple dashboard summary of what’s spent, what’s pending, and what’s planned, so they can drive funds to your top priorities?
Optimization is the answer.
Getting the most out of your travel, expense, and invoice solutions – by optimizing the process or bringing new support solutions into your existing program – brings visibility into every step in the process, so you can see every bit of your spend. And that is the only way to keep your spending consistent through all these changes.
To see what your spend is trying to show you and what you can do about it, take a look at this quick eBook: See Change. It just might change the way you think about spend management.