Growth is back on the agenda for global executives. Randy Fodero, vice president of enterprise sales at the SAP Concur organization, recently asked a panel of C-Suite leaders for their insights on future business growth, managing risk, and the importance of cloud technology as the world begins to return to business travel. The panelists included:
- Kathy Hinton, former VP of supply chain management and facilities at Andeavor
- Tom McKee Jr., former CPO and CIO at Kennametal
- Don Whittington, retired VP and CIO at Florida Crystals Corporation
Listen to the webinar for the full insights.
75% of executives are optimistic about growth in their organization over the next 12 months.
The return of business travel
It’s not a matter of if we’ll return to travel, but when. More than half of the respondents in a recent Economist research report expect to rely on business travel as much or more than they did pre-pandemic.
Tom McKee Jr. shared that when business travel returns, it will be different. “The way we look at it, the way we approve it, the way we forecast it, and the way we manage the costs,” said McKee during the panel discussion. “Companies need to prepare now as many were unprepared for all the work-from-home expenses.”
All panelists agreed that business travel is essential to a company’s success. “The maturity of the relationship matters. The less mature the more face-to-face contact is probably needed to grow sales, negotiate with suppliers or others,” McKee added.
Adding in a pre-trip approval process was one recommendation discussed. “Pre-trip approval has really come full circle,” said Kathy Hinton. “We tried this many years ago and employees disliked it. However, post-COVID times, this could work.”
Managing risk and compliance
Maverick spend is on the rise, which means that employee spend is taking place outside of traditional channels and agreed upon contracts. In fact, almost three-quarters of U.S. respondents from the Economist research report say they have experienced an increase in “maverick spending” by employees, largely due to an increase of employees working from home.
It’s likely that many organizations will maintain a hybrid structure, where employees can work in the office and from home. Kathy Hinton shared, “it’s very important to be able to have holistic spend data, not only to see what your current spend is…but to be able to forecast what you’re going to do in the future,” to control rogue spending.
In addition to rogue spend, there’s also a focus on policy compliant spend and preventing fraud. Automating card spend directly into an expense report or corporate card enables a company to capture detail that may be needed to verify compliant spend. For example, Hinton explained how a $20 wiper blade expense led to uncovering a significant fraud scheme from an individual.
With all the changes that have taken place in the last year, many organizations have relied upon digital infrastructures to enable continuity of day-to-day business activities. With artificial antelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), companies are able to shift from a transaction mindset to data-analytics.
At Florida Crystals, Don Whittington focused upon eliminating extra work, rather than merely automating it. With AI, “we were able to take and look at trends and patterns and turn it into insights.”
AI and ML also allow processes, such as reclaiming VAT (value-added tax), easier. Randy asked, “if we had $10,000 in a tax return sitting out there waiting for us, all we had to do was fill out the paperwork, would we do it?” Of course, so why should VAT be any different? Let the technology do the work and your organization will reap the benefits.
89% of executives say investing in resilience now will help their businesses navigate and grow in an evolving economic landscape.
Invest in your organization first
Establishing and increasing business momentum takes a continuous commitment to improvement. With SAP Concur solutions, you can re-examine how you manage spending and ensure that your policies and processes in place fit with how you’re doing business today—removing any barriers that slow you down and hold your budget or margins back from their potential. For more ideas and insights, listen to this webinar.