During times of unprecedented uncertainty, small and midsize companies tend to feel the effects of it harder – in part because they have less cash on hand to weather disruption. When business gets unpredictable – whether from slow sales, unforeseen events, or even an unexpected spike in sales – challenges multiply.
For some firms, disruption can manifest as unprecedented demand. For example, after a major hurricane, makers of everything from building materials to shelf-stable food products and providers of construction and healthcare services can see exponential increases in orders. Finance leaders at businesses experiencing spikes in demand need to redirect spending toward new hires, purchasing of materials in large volumes, and even expanding manufacturing capacity. At the same time, countless other businesses impacted by the storm will be out of power and struggle to pay rent and meet payroll until business picks up again. They need to tighten their financial belts, cut costs wherever possible, and keep employees focused on strategic work.
Each disruption brings new challenges and opportunities for your business to respond to. For example, today, you may be managing a largely remote workforce, trying to extend processes to wherever employees are, and finding new ways to ensure operational efficiency and service customers. One thing is certain: you will have greater agility to adapt – and more stability through any disruption – if you can gain full control of discretionary spending, which is one of the biggest drivers of cash flow.
Maybe you’ve already done some preliminary automation of your company spend processes – for instance, do invoices come into your inbox instead of your mailbox? And do approvals happen through email instead of paper files? Or perhaps you’ve made the leap to full process automation for expense reporting or accounts payable using an SAP Concur solution or similar technology. Or maybe are you still trying to get by with a fully paper-driven process because “it’s the way you’ve always done it – so why change, right?”
Wherever you are on the automation continuum, what’s key is that if your spend management approach has any “holes” – whether due to manual processes, automation of just one or two spend categories (travel, expenses, and AP), or fraud that goes undetected because data capture isn’t granular enough, it acts like a sieve; you lose money and control over your cash – and you may not even realize it. So at a time when you need to be flexible and nimble, you could find yourself blindsided by insufficient cash flows to take required action.
These are widespread problems, according to findings from a recent AMI-Partners survey:
- 66% of businesses want to better track and analyze expense trends to pinpoint opportunities to reduce costs.
- 63% of businesses want to integrate spend management for better cash flow visibility.
- 72% of businesses want to improve operational efficiency and productivity.
The good news is, SAP Concur solutions work together to give you an integrated, holistic approach to spend management so that nothing falls through the cracks. Maybe you need to start by deploying incremental SAP Concur tools where you have the greatest need and build from there. And if you already have a solution in place, such as the Concur Expense solution, that’s great. To continually improve spend management, look for other holes to fill. For example, do you have lots of employees who need to track mileage and get reimbursed? Then add on the Concur Drive cloud service with super-granular, real-time, GPS-enabled drive tracking. You’ll address any vulnerabilities to mileage fraud and gain greater visibility and control over costs.
As this example illustrates, over time, with each SAP Concur solution deployment, you gain improved spend and cost control and thus better cash flow – the key to running a flexible, resilient business. According to AMI-Partners, you can also save time and money. Concur Invoice users report saving an average of US$42,000 annually through greater efficiency and an average of 148 hours per accounting team per week.
So…where are the potential holes in your spend management approach? To answer these questions and become a more resilient business, download the infographic now: Weather Unexpected Business Changes with More Control Over Company Spend.