As the expense, travel, and invoice management landscape changes, small and midsize businesses (SMBs) are put in the position of having to keep up with the times or fall behind. Businesses struggling to grow and compete eventually find that their legacy processes and solutions can’t keep up – and they risk getting surpassed by more nimble competitors.
Read the report for more on boosting business performance with automation
So, how can financial decision makers at SMBs best allocate their limited resources? AMI Partners conducted a study to find out the answer to this exact question. In surveying more than 400 small and midsize businesses, the research firm discovered that businesses which were automating their expense, travel, and invoice management saw the greatest boost in business performance.
As part of their findings, AMI Partners laid out the top trends that SMBs must be preparing for in order to remain competitive in the current landscape:
Workforces are increasingly mobile
The need for mobility in the modern workplace is quickly becoming non-negotiable. More employees are going to expect to work on mobile devices; more partners and suppliers are going to be based on mobile-enabled solutions; and as technology advances faster in the coming years, businesses that don’t go mobile risk falling further behind.
In the report, AMI found that “allowing for key personnel to sign off on invoices while on the road saves time and allowing traveling employees to automatically populate and upload an expense report boosts employee satisfaction and engagement.”
Businesses are processing invoices from multiple suppliers
A typical business could be working with hundreds of suppliers and was likely to process as many as 28 invoices per accounts payable employee per month. That added up to 14% of the finance staff’s time in a given week spent processing invoices. Teams using an automated expense, travel, and invoice solution were found to spend “significantly less time processing invoices” and were able to dedicate more time to tasks that helped grow the business.
Overarching business goals are creating added pressures
64% of businesses surveyed by AMI said that reducing operating expenses is a strategically important goal for them, and more than half said that they wanted to reduce costs and increase productivity with technology. However, businesses that stuck with manual solutions were at a disadvantage when trying to meet their goals because inefficient finance systems impacted several other parts of the organization.
As these trends continue to pose new challenges that small businesses will face, the spend management space also continues to heat up. The demands on managers and decision makers will force them to automate spend management processes or risk lagging behind — or worse.
Ultimately, AMI Partners sums up the results of their study succinctly: “Firms that do not take steps to update their T&E and invoicing processes will miss out on opportunities for growth and struggle to compete.” Get the free report to learn how to take those steps.