Business Continuity

You Don’t Need to See the Future if You Can See Clearly Now

SAP Concur Team |

No one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be ready for it. And while “getting ready” for further disruption might conjure images of a total corporate overhaul or revamping your entire workforce – again – getting started can be as simple controlling spend.

Wait. Controlling spend is simple?

Well, let’s just say it doesn’t have to be impossible. And as this recent whitepaper points out, shedding light on spending blind spots in areas like travel and expense can be critical to business continuity as you attempt to weather change.

Simply put: If you can see your spend, you can control it. And if you can control it, you can adapt more quickly to both challenges and opportunities.

Where is all the money going?

This question is at least as old as your dad, because you’ve been hearing it your whole life. It’s just that now, the numbers are in the tens of millions. Travel and expense is typically a company’s second-largest line item after payroll, so any amount of leakage or hidden spend – or even the cumulative casual mistakes we all make on expense reports – add up quickly.

And there’s any maverick spend you can’t currently control. Plus the regulatory fines you don’t know about until it’s too late. Then the increased spending outside your policies and negotiated rates. When you take all of that into account, and you’ll soon begin to see why the money runs out.

You might not immediately feel the pain of this invisible spend (because you don’t know it’s happening), but when you start peeking into the gaps in your data, it all becomes clear.

Is anyone following the rules?

Compliance is the second part of the spending problem, and again, visibility is the answer. If you can see where people are sidestepping policy, you can help keep things in line. And if you give employees tools that give them options – like booking travel directly with brands they love, and simple apps that make managing expenses easy– they’ll be far more likely (one might even say happy) to comply.

These same tools make it abundantly clear where your policies are working and where they can be improved. They show you the data, the tracking, and the trends And with the help of AI and machine learning, you’ll have a second, unblinking set of eyes on the rules.

You can’t make everyone follow policy, but you can see where the problems are. And that makes it considerably easier to fix them.

Whatever happened to the honor system?

No one is asking you to mistrust your teams, and the honor system still works fine when it comes to paying for donuts in the breakroom, but when we’re talking about cold, hard, company cash, you need to be able to see and verify what’s going out the door.

This whitepaper has input on this, as well, in two very challenging categories of spending: mileage and cash payments. Currently, most companies are expected to trust what ends up being guesswork in the mileage category (How far is it to Cleveland, anyway?). And cash or pCard payment validation depends on a wrinkly little receipt getting stapled to the right expense report and, of course, being keyed in correctly in the first place.

Fortunately, technology has surpassed the odometer and the stapler. Mobile management tools automatically record mileage – so employees don’t have to worry about entering their miles – and you don’t have to worry about the entries being wrong or, at the very least, late. And regarding receipts, simply snapping a picture is all it takes to upload the charges and automatically categorize them in an expense report.

Again, this makes it easier for employees to comply – and for you to control what they’re spending.

Future-proof, not future promise

This technology isn’t like the flying car; it’s here now, and it’s here to prepare you for the changes and challenges ahead. Because you’re better able to stand up to disruptions when you know your financial footing, and you’re better able to answer opportunity’s knock when you’ve got cash on hand.

Sure, travel and expense management isn’t the end-all, be-all. But it’s a start, and right now, that’s all any company needs.

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