As a retailer, you need to focus on your customers. To do this, make finances a little less frantic and get your travel, expense and invoice spend taken care of. Our research highlights how you can get more time to focus on those all-important shoppers by joining the dots across different types of spend…
1) Stay in control of cash flow
With merchandise buying, allocation and replenishment, effectively managing cash flow is key for smooth retail business operations. Some 30% of retailers named it as the top priority for their finance team next year in our Spend Management Report. Without it there’s no space to develop and grow, and yet so many things can affect cash flow. Retailers said their finance team’s three biggest challenges were errors and mistakes, payment delays and manual processes.
Connecting and automating your spend management across travel, expense and invoicing streamlines the entire process, so there’s no time-consuming data entry holding things up. From the January sales through to the festive frenzy of December, you’ll see exactly how much budget you’ve got to play with each month. Plus, you'll have the data required to spot VAT reclaim opportunities and put money back in your budget.
2) No more late payments
No one likes being paid late – it messes with your cash flow, incurs penalties and is far from ideal when you’re trying to build a strong supply chain. Retailers told us that on average it takes 27 days to pay suppliers once an invoice is received, and only 19% were confident that their payments are always on time.
However, after making improvements to invoice, expense and travel systems and processes, 61% of retailers benefitted from faster payments, as well as reduced costs. Improve your supply chain with an efficient connected approach to spend.
3) Save time, money and people power
Spending hours trawling through documents, capturing data and processing details manually is not the best for your employees’ job satisfaction especially when things get very busy. And yet, few retailers have completely automated their systems. Only 6% said their travel bookings and 8% said their employee expenses were entirely automated, while only 18% and 12% (respectively) said they had fully automated accounts payable and financial analysis.
4) Boost efficiency and grow your business
For many retailers, business efficiency is likely to be a new year’s resolution. Especially as only 21% were completely confident that each and every travel and expense claim submitted by employees was thoroughly checked. Similarly, only 12-13% said all of their travel and expense claims and invoices are audited for duplication, errors and fraud - either by their finance team or an external provider.
Of course, Christmastime is especially business critical so retailers need to concentrate on their customers instead of expenses and invoices. Managing spend within one automated system will minimise data-entry errors and time spent on manual tasks, so you can make the most of the Christmas shopping stampede.
5) Visibility to make informed decisions
If you can’t see your finances and spend, how can you make informed business decisions? Visibility is hugely important and one of the biggest benefits of having a connected approach. in fact, 62% of retailers agreed that their travel, expense and invoice systems and processes could be better connected to provide a holistic view into spend.
Seeing company-wide spend from a single place means less time spent worrying about processes, cash flow and late payments and more time to develop strategy. Clever data management and reporting will also help you control costs and spot spending patterns, so you can be 100% confident when making big decisions.