“Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” Wise words for living your life and for running your business. Sudden changes – good and bad – can greatly impact demand for your products and services as well as your ability to deliver. The question is, are you and your employees ready to respond to whatever the future may bring? By ensuring your processes are flexible and you have enough cash on hand, you can better prepare for whatever boom or bust may be waiting around the corner.
At SAP, we are dedicated to helping businesses like yours stay flexible and adaptable. In light of that and the unprecedented times in which we are living, we have compiled a checklist – Seven Best Practices for Weathering Unexpected Change – to help you prepare for whatever the future may bring.
The first step in meeting unexpected change head-on is to quickly figure out which processes are critical to stabilizing your business. One business may need everyone to be able to work from home while another may need all hands on deck to pack and deliver merchandise that can no longer be bought in the store. Whatever the case may be, you need to clearly communicate exactly what is expected of employees and give them the tools they need to focus on the most urgent tasks.
Another critical component of business preparedness is knowing exactly how and where you are spending money. This is, of course, a best practice under normal circumstances. But, when faced with a sudden crisis or a surge in sales, there’s no time to dig through paper invoices, e-mails, and spreadsheets to figure out which funds can be redirected to where you need it most. Having a comprehensive, automated, intelligent spend management solution can give you the visibility you need into fixed and variable expenses so that you can quickly optimize cashflow. It can also help you forecast where you would be financially given “what-if” scenarios, allowing you to adequately prepare – come rain or shine. Plus, by automating tedious, error-prone manual spend management processes, you will be saving money and time as well as protecting your business from costly mistakes and missed savings opportunities.
Remote, work-from-anywhere access is also key to helping ensure that your people are able to keep operations flowing in any situation. By moving your expense and vendor invoice management processes and data to the cloud, you are no longer dependent on documents stored on individual computers or tucked deep in the back of filing cabinets. This way, come what may, you can keep buying (and paying for) the materials and services you need to keep your business running and your vendors happy – without missing a beat.
Having a single, central cloud-based repository for all your business data has clear advantages beyond just spend management. Whether you are filing insurance claims or applying for government assistance, having fast and easy access to all expense documentation is a must. Not only are related costs clearly organized and categorized, you have the analytics capabilities to record a baseline for performance to show exactly how a given event has affected your business.
Finally, whether you are experiencing stormy weather today or have in the past, take advantage of what you’ve learned to make your operating procedures more resilient. What were the biggest challenges for your employees and your customers? And what tools could you implement to make sure those issues are resolved going forward? No one has a crystal ball. But with the right spend management technology, you’ll have the visibility, access, and financial insight to make unexpected financial decisions quickly. Plus, you’ll have that same technology in place to help you scale once the clouds have parted and sunny days are here again.