“When you encounter a difficult time, like the COVID crisis, it really helps you to see what's important and recalibrate. You learn about some of the areas of your business that, perhaps, needed to be corrected all along, and it affords you the opportunity to focus on that.” –Tom Lavin, SAP Concur CFO
If everyone who spends money across your company did exactly what you told them to do, or if they could somehow do exactly what you know needs to be done at any given moment, everything would be just fine.
No more cashflow issues, no more cost concerns, no more work-from-home conundrums.
But because people can’t read your mind, you, like other CFOs and financial leaders, likely spend at least some of your nights worrying about what to do about these issues and, ultimately, how to get employees to do what you need.
And there’s proof that you’re not alone. A recent Gartner survey, highlighted in this whitepaper shows how 2020 has impacted CFOs, detailing three key findings:
- Focus has shifted from growth, efficiency, and business partnerships to back-to-business continuity.
- Increasing cash positions, reducing functional costs, and enabling remote work have become top priorities.
- Finance leaders are unsure of what to do next.
“You realize in times like these that if you want to survive, you need to have that flexibility and agility to respond to quickly changing business conditions, and you need to have the right technology to do that.” –Tom Lavin
All right. You can’t automatically get everyone to do what needs to be done (or perhaps you can – more on that in a moment). What do you do now? Well, if you’re like all those other CFOs, your goal is to bring as much order and oversight to spending as you can, creating as much consistency and clarity in your processes as possible.
But how? Digital transformation of your processes is an essential strategy for managing spending. It’s how you make certain that each type of spending gets directed through the proper approvals and that the appropriate policies are applied. High tech, in other words, is how you gain the confidence that employees are choosing the right supplier, the right product, and the right price, so you get the best value for the budget.
There are three core focus areas where technology can be put to immediate effect.
1. Creating clear, consistent spending policies and processes.
The right digital solution will make it simple to set up workflows that automate control. For example, you might add a simple request feature to the purchase process, so managers can review spending decisions before they’re made.
2. Get true visibility into spending.
Detailed reporting and easy-to-analyze dashboards can shine a light on hidden spending, helping you see a) if supplier payments that should be covered by POs are winding up on expense reports, b) how much spending is going on personal cards and why, and c) where your expense categories are working and where they’re falling short.
3. Increase process efficiency and employee productivity.
An easy-to-use digital process across all your spending functions – from preapprovals to submitting expense reports – increases the odds that processes will be followed, your finance team will get accurate data, employees can spend more time working and less time managing spend, and you’ll maintain control.
“The one thing we've learned from COVID is that when you go from having everybody in the office to suddenly everyone's at home, it really emphasizes the need to adapt to new work paradigms quickly.” –Tom Lavin
It’s as simple as this: Give employees intuitive, automated tools to help them manage spending, and they’ll do what you want. You, on the other hand, will be able to see their expenses, control the costs, and finally manage a good night’s sleep.
To learn more how CFOs help turn adversity into advantage in times of crisis, download this whitepaper.