28 August 2020

Keep Calm And Let Finance Automation Kick Out Chaos

by Rachelle Lee

Leading a transformation initiative to reset your business model? Looking to evolve, diversify and widen your sales channels? Winds of change are sweeping through many industries. Brands are under pressure to embrace business transformation to boost earnings and tackle sustainability. Businesses need to adapt and change within diverse contexts. Leaders need to stay resilient as they leverage opportunities from key trends shaping the industry. Let finance automation and better expense management be your key to success.

The rigors involved in identifying, assessing and mitigating varied risks are unfolding on a massive scale. This includes risks from dynamic macro factors, such as human and financial capital management. A new approach to business agility is required to match the change that is coming faster than anticipated. Maybe the solution to such challenges is to utilize corporate expense management software?

Astute business leaders recognize that they have a choice when it comes to prioritizing where they should invest more of their time and energy. 

They can either choose to try to overhaul their business with existing resources at hand. Or they can embrace new digitalized ways of working and automating business processes to focus on continued growth. This includes tools such as automated expense reporting.

A wide array of expense management software solutions tout promises of scaling new heights of business efficiencies. But where does one’s digital transformation journey begin? With ever-tightening budgets, how does one justify the expenses of process automation?

To help you through this process, we have created a handy checklist. It speaks to the very department who will be funding your initiative: Finance.

Simplify, simplify, simplify

This does not mean ruthless obliteration of expenses and budget cuts; it means getting smarter in the way we work. Look more closely at “dead weights” that have been created and are slowing your ship. 

Examples of such “dead weights” are processes that require tracking information in spreadsheets or sending long chains of emails. In the worst case it includes paper-based recording and documentation of hard-copy receipts. 

Apply the Marie Kondo business principle of saying “goodbye, and thank you” and put those lumbering processes into the paper shredder. Let’s dedicate our time to building future opportunities and getting to where we all want to be faster, and more efficiently.

Make it easy to find information fast

Looking to verify the accuracy of given information to make a pressing decision? In moments like these, full visibility and real-time accuracy of information must be available anytime to everyone who is working from anywhere. 

A single hub that collates and unifies such information promotes open and transparent communication. Siloed information must be avoided. Should the hassle sifting through paper trails to get questions answered.

When work gets done on time and on spot, everyone will be happy. 

It’s time to move into proactive apps that digitize time-consuming paper-based office processes as much as possible. That way, everyone can access the information they need on one integrated spend management platform, instead of emailing the latest version of a spreadsheet.

Ease of implementation

Many software vendors may besiege you with questions like How much are you looking to pay for this process change? When do you expect the implementation of this expense management solution to promote the optimization of internal processes? How would you demonstrate increased efficiency of performance of everyday tasks? 

They are right. For most organization-wide solutions, how you set these parameters will determine how your project will proceed and the results to follow.

The good news is that finance automation tools, and automated expense reporting tools in particular, are cost-friendly and can be easily implemented in little time. End-to-end accounting of corporate spend, regardless of where employees work from can be implemented seamlessly in a matter of days.

Recommended reading: How to Future-proof Your Organisation Through Your Expense Management Software

Bringing it all together

Business transformation is not just a technology problem. It is a combined technology, people, and process problem. To succeed, you need to involve and evolve all three areas. 

1. Evolving your technology

By applying the selection criteria recommended above, you are proactively shifting away from age-old process-centric behaviors towards an organization-centric view of managing administration.

In automating routine, repetitive and mundane administrative tasks, you are able to devote more time to other essential tasks. Wouldn’t you rather be building relationships with customers or finding ways to grow your business?

2. Evolving your people

When it comes to implementing finance automation and expense reporting software, pick a solution which is relatable to your employees. You want them to engage from the beginning. 

Let us look at a regular routine and familiar exercise that plays out in every company, in every industry and in every field: 

Employees dread sifting through a pile of receipts and other paper documents. Noone enjoys manually entering every line entry on an expense report, allocating taxes in a separate column. Especially with a pronounced urgency that comes at the peak of closing of the financial year.

Automated expense reporting is a great example for finance automation. It offers an easy way to digitize, categorize and archive receipts. In more progressive solutions, the application even writes the expense reports for you. This renders manual expense reporting to being a thing of the past.

By streamlining accounting and book-keeping tasks, finance teams, project managers are able to access accurate, up-to-the-minute information through one integrated platform. 

3. Evolving your processes

Another problem we see is a rush to try out new technologies without considering their suitability to the broader organizational strategy. 

One Chief Information Officer I met with recently remarked: “There is a ‘tools’ explosion going on. Individual departments are trying out the latest and the greatest software with absolutely no alignment to each other or the rest of the business.” This creates an unnecessary mess that he now must untangle. 

Does this sound like a technology problem? It is a process problem

Do you have a process in place for purchasing requests and as a “second layer of protection”? With a designated prepaid corporate card to be used for expense management, there will be no technical debt to pay down. 

It can be hard to imagine incorporating finance automation and automated expense reporting when you are already overwhelmed by keeping the lights on.

But let us take some time to consider how we have been doing business in the same ways we always have. Let us put together a plan and take advantage of those opportunities. Let’s make work easier so that we can focus on the biggest asset of growth: our creative energies!

Recommended reading: The Benefits of Expense Management Automation

Let Volve kick off your finance automation initiative with better expense management

Transitioning towards an automated expense reporting system? Setting up decentralized teams? As an organization, Volve is committed to learning and evolving. Share the challenges you are facing and how the Volve corporate spend solution can help you. 10 companies will receive a year of complimentary access to Volve, every month until the end of 2020.

About Volve

Volve’s corporate card comes with an automated expense management solution and reporting tool. This enables all functions of business to capture productivity growth potential from time-cost reductions, greater accuracy, increased visibility and control.

From sales to human resources to finance operations, management can look forward to shifting resources from repetitive manual practices to realizing strategic goals that create more value and deliver higher returns.

Experience how one single solution can improve accountability, accuracy and efficiency. Test drive Volve today free for 30 days.

Rachelle Lee
Growth Hacker
Prior to scaling next-generation financial services, Rachelle lived out of a suitcase across Asia working on a 3-year research plan gathering customer insights and synthesising consumer decision journeys for global creative agencies, engaging with businesses on growth marketing, brand storytelling and customer engagement models for future business growth. She still drinks too much coffee, doing meaningful work with trailblazers and innovators to bring greater literacy to spend management solutions.

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