If you read our post about letting go of your spreadsheets, you're already familiar with the benefits of moving to an automated expense management solution. Now, we're focusing on how to justify the upfront and ongoing costs so you can frame a business case for making the switch. Here are the questions you may want to consider when determining whether to justify an automated solution:
- Labor costs: How much time do you spend each month consolidating information? Correcting the data? Trying to find and correct errors? Tweaking your formulas to get the right outcome?
- Data integrity: Do you trust your data? Particularly if you’re tweaking your formulas, do you know if the “right” outcome is actually showing you the information you need to make the right decision for your business?
- Reports: How long does it take you to spin up a reliable report from your spreadsheet? Is it as easy as pushing a button, or does it require doing data sorts and making pivot tables to arrive at the right combination of data for your report? And after you do that—do you trust that report?
- Visibility: What is your company spending money on? How quickly can you spot trends or problems? Do you have a dashboard that displays the most important information quickly?
- Opportunity costs: If you were out of the office and your team had a business opportunity that relied on being able to serve up the right data quickly, could they?
- Mobility: Can your people access data from their smartphones? What about capturing receipts and recording expense data—what’s that experience like in a spreadsheet? Do you have one-button capture?
- Data integrity: Is your data centralized? Do you have one true source of data, or are there multiple versions of your spreadsheet? What about getting the historical view of the data so you can spot trends over time?
- Policy violations: How do you spot violations of your expense policies? Can you configure your spreadsheet to automatically alert you about a potential violation?
- Cash flow: How easy is it to track payments using your spreadsheet?
- Integration: Can you integrate your spreadsheet with other applications that you and your employees use?
- Time savings: How long does it take you to close the books? What about logging expenses manually? Do your employees have to keep their paper receipts? Do they ever lose them, or put them through the wash?
Automating expenses can make a complex, time-consuming process much more efficient, as well as bring visibility to your budget. Take these five steps to strategic spend management to understand more about an integrated solution for modern finance leaders.