Think of the last mistake you made. Maybe it was this morning or maybe as long ago as last night. Either way, when you own up to it, the question you have to ask yourself is: What did I learn?
Well, in the aftermath of the global mistake we’ll call 2020, we’ve learned that we can handle just about anything. Going remote? Sure! Going completely remote? Okay. Not going back to the office for a year or so? Um, yeah, fine.
Businesses took action overnight, and over the year, they beefed up their tech capabilities and boosted their performance. And now, as they look ahead, they’re feeling good about what they’re seeing. According to a recent The Economist Group global paper:
Because of their investments in efficiency and productivity, businesses have put growth back on the radar.
Because they’ve taken on tools to trim costs and spot savings more effectively, they’re seeing actual hope on the horizon.
Because they’ve invested in improvements when it was scary to invest at all, they’ve committed to continuous improvement, and that positions them well against any upcoming economic upheaval.
Examining the positive role of change in an organization’s outlook
The paper is based on several surveys, including a sampling of 550 senior executives in 11 countries, and their input is refreshingly optimistic. It’s also filled with insights into what it’s going to take to see that positive outlook through.
Chief among these initiatives is cost control, particularly in the realm of travel, expense, and invoice (TE&I) management. Because when you can handle these costs more efficiently, you can move more quickly toward growth. Nearly 90% of the executives agreed, saying that increased speed and flexibility in the management of TE&I is critical for their organizations to stay profitable and grow.
The paper dives a little deeper into the details, as well, highlighting essential and high-priority areas in which companies will invest, using new technologies to:
- Access real-time data and analytics: Get more than information, get intelligence backed by AI and machine learning and make the most of all the data you have.
- Identify cost savings: See more of what you’re spending, spot trends and anomalies, and save everywhere from fewer human errors to stronger negotiations.
- Consistently apply expense policies across the business: Set up preapprovals so you can keep spending in line, then automatically audit 100% of your expenses and invoices so you’ll know it’s all within policy.
- Improve VAT recovery and reclaim: Get your share of $40 billion of value-added taxes and don’t leave any more on the table.
Companies are already starting to see these outcomes, and they expect even more as they continue to invest. They’re putting resources into in the types of tech improvements that give them more visibility into spend, more control over costs, more confidence in tax reclaim, and more tangible ways to drive growth.
They’re investing in tools to prepare for and conquer change, and it’s working.
What can we learn from that?