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How to stop poor spending before it happens

For businesses of all sizes, every spending decision holds potential; it’s an investment opportunity that, if managed correctly, can propel the company forward. The flip side is that it can also present a risk, especially if the business doesn’t have a system in place to control and monitor expenditure.

Fabian Calle, managing director, small and medium business, SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand, said, “As a business owner, success often hinges on maximising profitability and maintaining a healthy cash flow, which can only happen by establishing control over spending. To overcome this challenge, businesses must address the inefficiencies and gaps in traditional manual processes, such as paper-based expense reporting and invoice approvals, that often lead to delays, inaccuracies, and lack of real-time visibility.”

Automated expense and invoice management solutions provide an essential toolset for businesses aiming to enhance control over spending and boost efficiency. Not only can businesses gain speed, but they will also have a new way to monitor and manage spending to maximise their profitability. Adopting automation lets employees submit expenses from anywhere and businesses speed up their accounts payable process and payments.

By implementing automation in these areas, businesses can gain several benefits, including:

1. Real-time visibility into spending 

One of the key challenges faced by businesses of all sizes is the lack of real-time visibility into employee spend. Manual processes—like paper-based expense reports and invoice approvals—can lead to delays and errors, making it hard to respond to market conditions with agility. By automating expense report creation, approval workflows, and reimbursement processes, businesses can access up-to-date spending data. This visibility lets businesses identify spending trends, control costs, and adjust their operations accordingly to ensure cash flow is managed effectively.

2. Established and enforced policies 

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Automated expense and invoice management solutions can help businesses establish customisable spending policies tailored to their unique needs.

Fabian Calle said, “By defining specific spending limits, approval workflows, and expense categories, businesses can ensure compliance and prevent poor spending. Intelligent policy controls embedded in an automated platform can flag non-compliant expenses, reducing the risk before it occurs.”

3. Streamlined processes and improved efficiency 

Manual tasks, such as expense report and invoice management, can be time-consuming and prone to errors. If businesses have limited resources, these inefficiencies can have a significant impact on productivity. By automating these processes, businesses can eliminate paper-based tasks, reduce manual data entry, and streamline workflows, empowering employees to focus on strategic work rather than getting caught up in administrative burdens. Better yet, by eliminating mundane tasks, businesses can improve employee satisfaction, retention, and overall productivity.

4. Cost reduction and improved forecasting 

Automated expense and invoice management solutions give businesses access to valuable data analytics capabilities. By leveraging the data collected through automated processes, businesses can gain deep insights into spending patterns, identify cost-saving opportunities, and optimise budgets. Data analytics can uncover trends, highlight areas of excessive spending, and inform strategic decisions for better spend control. Businesses can generate comprehensive reports, perform accurate forecasting, and track key performance indicators to drive profitability.

How automation can help fuel future growth 

By automating manual processes, businesses of all sizes can gain better control over spending and make smarter decisions.

Fabian Calle said, “Providing employees with tools that simplify their work processes can greatly enhance their experience, especially automated solutions that provide mobile apps and user-friendly interfaces that guide employees through expense reporting and invoice management, making their lives easier and more efficient.

“Faster reimbursements and reduced unnecessary manual tasks also demonstrate to employees that they are valued, and businesses can create an environment that promotes employee satisfaction, loyalty, and engagement. Ultimately, automation can help businesses experience superior spending control, paving the way for more insightful decisions, amplified efficiency, and greater profitability.”

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