Is Disconnected Spend Data Costing You?

Caitlin Strickling

When it comes to automating the travel and spend management process, it’s likely your business has already stepped up to the digital plate. But automation alone doesn’t always translate into effective processes, especially when it comes to managing employee-initiated spending.

Employee spending on travel expenses, traditional POs, non-PO invoices, payment cards (p-cards), and corporate cards, just to name a few, typically fall into the bottom 20% of overall spend. Yet they involve the majority of your vendors – and your department’s time and resources. How many orphan invoices do you have floating around your organization?

In parts one and two of our four-part series, we discussed how employee spending – and the resulting orphan spend – can put a wrench in spend management, plus what that means for an organization’s ability to mitigate fraud and manage compliance.

Here in part three, we look at how a limited automation and archaic technology not only put you at risk for lost dollars but also can impact your organization’s ability to make strategic decisions.

Being a victim of disconnect

For many organizations, these payables are spread across multiple systems, or, worse yet, are completely paper-based, making it challenging to manage them all. Too much effort is spent hunting down lost invoices, chasing down approvals, and giving payment status updates to suppliers. It’s nearly impossible to stay ahead of schedule and focus on forecasting future spend while controlling costs and staying compliant. When all of this disconnected spending from all of these sources, across all these categories, finally comes crashing into view, it’s too late.

If your employee spend management is disconnected, it leads to:

  • Lack of accurate and timely data
  • Trouble staying on top of payment due dates, which leads to late fees
  • Limited insights to maximize working capital

When you’re drowning in details and manual busy work, how can you move your department from being just another cost center to a strategic partner in your organization? Simple: you can’t.

Managing spend strategically

The only way to drive long-term growth and improve productivity is by embracing technology that connects all spend, so all data is captured and you get complete control over all employee purchasing. Similarly, a complete spend picture empowers you to make informed, strategic decisions on behalf of your organization. Ensuring that your current technology is up-to-date can help. To strategically manage your spend, your technology must:

  • Integrate with your existing systems. This allows you to bring together data from your credit card provider, HR technology, and other business systems, all in one place. This gives you the information needed to negotiate better vendor rates, make better budget decisions, or spend on initiatives that will have the greatest impact for your business.
  • Run in the cloud. Cloud-based, automated technology is critical for improving efficiency and reducing processing time. In fact, according to IDC, organizations that use cloud-based expense management can save employees an average of 70% on the time it takes to do their expense reports. It also lessens the burden on the internal IT support team, allowing them to focus on tasks that are more helpful to the business.
  • Provide a single solution for all departments. A single solution leveraged across the business allows managers from T&E, AP, and beyond, to get a high-level view of trends. Similarly, it allows departments to develop better budgeting and financial projects for the quarter, year, and well into the future.

Download the full Forrester report “Getting Better Mileage Out Of Your Travel, Expense and Invoice Solutions” to learn more about how automated, cloud-based technology can help with strategic spend management.

This post originally appeared on the SAP Concur Newsroom.

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Caitlin Strickling

About Caitlin Strickling

Caitlin Strickling is an associate content marketing manager for the Enterprise Americas team at SAP Concur. Caitlin earned her degree in Communication from Santa Clara University and enjoys leveraging her experience in SMB, enterprise, and product marketing to create thought leadership content for organizations of all sizes. When she isn’t in the office, she’s out exploring Bay Area breweries or relaxing with a good book.