If you’re in charge of spend management for your company, it’s essential to stay up-to-date with the latest and greatest practices when it comes to budgeting, tracking, reimbursing, and more. Nowadays, that means educating yourself on digital resources that can make your job easier and more efficient.
As a finance manager, it’s not always easy to strike a balance between what’s best for your company’s bottom line and its efficiency all at once. You have a lot on your plate when it comes to what you’re in charge of, from inventory to supplier management, and everything in between.
So, what can you do to make your job easier? Additionally, how can you strike that necessary balance to keep your business in the black and reduce the stress of your brand’s accountant and financial manager?
Let’s cover some of the best smart spend management practices you should be utilizing immediately. Not only will they make things run more effectively, but you’ll feel more in control as you’re able to see active changes and tracking in real-time.
The digital transformation of spend management
Once upon a time, finance managers had to rely solely on spreadsheets and manual methods to keep track of budgets and spending. Unfortunately, like most things, that left far too much room for human error. While it was the best option at the time, it’s a method that is inefficient, ineffective, and can contribute to a lot of pressure and stress.
If you’re not already using digital tools to make spend management practices easier, you’re likely not optimizing your workflow or output. One of the best ways to improve your output and accuracy is to rely on automation. Today’s software programs allow for integration into other business systems so you can see exactly where money is going and how it’s impacting departmental budgets.
The real benefits of spend management automation include:
- Efficient budget management
- Easy payables processing
- In-depth analytics
- Real-time control that allows you to see company-wide spending
Automation also allows all finance positions to be on the same page. You’ll be able to provide information on a single dashboard that’s available to everyone on the finance team, so they can make their decisions based on real-time data, rather than guessing on numbers and projections. It’s also important from an expense management standpoint. Whether you’re in charge of expenditures or not, this type of data will give your entire team detailed insight into the financial health of your business. You’ll quickly be able to discover “leaks” in your system, or areas of unnecessary overspending that can be mitigated quickly.
The right tools for the job
Automation and software advancements have touched nearly every aspect of the business industry. When it comes to finding the right program(s) for smart spend management practices, it’s important to look for the right characteristics. Some of the key features your software should have include:
- Flexibility for administrators
- Customizable options
- Real-time analytics
It’s also important that your service is user-friendly. You might be able to train the entire finance team on a new program, but if they aren’t able to troubleshoot issues on their own and learn how to navigate in-depth data, the program won’t be worth it.
When you’re considering the right program, you should also consider your biggest challenges, and look at automation tools that can help you overcome them. When it comes to manual spend management, you likely deal with issues like outdated data, missed opportunities to save money, and a lack of real-time visibility. If you’re trying to use multiple software platforms to monitor spending, you might run into communication issues if those programs don’t “talk” to each other.
Finally, there are fewer delays with automation. For example, when it comes to employee expense reports, most finance teams have to wait until the end of the month to see how much employees are spending on certain projects. That can cause a threat to your business’s bottom line. With real-time automation, you can see where that money is going right away, rather than holding your breath at the end of each month wondering if you have to worry about employees going over budget.
Focus on those challenges and research automation programs that can fix them almost instantly. We might be biased, but Fyle’s spend management software is a great tool for covering all of the bases listed above.
Why smart spend management matters
If you’re still using manual techniques to manage your business’ spending and provide data to other departments, you’re not optimizing your work, and you could be making your job harder on yourself and other people in the finance team.
The data alone makes smart spend management practices well worth it. When you introduce room for human error with manual techniques, you could put your business at risk of financial leaks and revenue loss. That’s because manual data input can’t be done in real-time, and there’s always the chance that your figures will be calculated or entered incorrectly.
Additionally, you could be putting more stress on your accountant(s) or bookkeeper(s). Jobs can take a toll on people’s mental health, and too much work stress can lead to anxiety and burnout. Reducing the stress for yourself and other members of the finance team will increase productivity, improve retention, and increase your business’s chance of success.
Smart spend management — especially automation — will help to stop unnecessary overspending while showcasing cost-saving opportunities. With everything at your fingertips, you’ll be able to provide accurate, detailed reports that will show the real-time efforts of your business. As you start to save money, it can be allocated to different departments and contribute to long-term growth.
There are many moving parts to a solid financial team within a company, no matter the size. Don’t let the idea of automation make you believe that your work will somehow become “obsolete.” Instead, focus on the idea that smart spend management software will not only make your job easier and more exciting, but more rewarding as you see your business grow.
By Indiana Lee, BOSS contributor
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