Recently, we looked at how a paper-based process makes finding any data over and above the standard stuff like looking for a needle in a haystack.
In many cases, the information people are asking for isn’t unreasonable. It would help them to do their job better. But they probably don’t realise how tricky and time-consuming it is for you to produce. So, when your face falls when they ask for a non-standard report or it takes you a while to compile the information they need, they don’t understand why.
It all contributes to an unfairly negative perception of the finance department.
Automating your invoice and expense process can help to combat any negative perceptions of the finance team. How? It does this because it transforms your unit into a knowledge powerhouse.
Paul Jackson is Head of Finance at Thames Reach. He says of SAP Concur: “Having a system that works and takes advantage of technology makes a big difference. It puts us on the front foot and gives us self confidence and a standing in the organisation we didn’t have before.”
Automation Makes Analysis Much Easier, Faster and More Effective
Whether you’re trying to cut costs or forecast spend, being able to analyse your data quickly and easily is essential.
Luke Braham, previously Head of Technology Operations at RED offers one example of what SAP Concur was able to deliver: “I was able to pull up a report within six seconds that told me we spent £67,000 on taxis in 2017. I was therefore able to suggest that if we moved to Uber Business we’d have predicted yearly savings of £20,000.”
Automation Makes it Easier to Get Control of Costs
Getting control of costs is critical for most businesses. Automation makes this much easier for the finance team. In the case of SAP Concur tools, because it’s also held in the cloud, you can make it much easier for managers and directors in the rest of the business too.
Tom Miner, Accounting Manager at Dermalogica, says: “Because it's all in one system, it's all very clear to navigate and people feel like they have control and visibility of their own spend. Therefore they feel more part of the purchasing and invoicing process and there is less responsibility on us as a finance team.”
Automation Gives You Better Visibility of Cashflow
As the saying goes, cashflow is king. But in a paper-based process, you don’t have real-time visibility of it and it’s hard to plan with any certainty.
Automation changes that.
Andrew Simcock, Finance Director at Atech Support, says of the difference SAP Concur has made: “The cost control, the visibility of spend and the control over the procurement process has led to us being able to more accurately forecast our cash position three months ahead.”
Automation Delivers Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness
Automation makes it easy to get the information people need – and fast. Shona White, Expense Administrator at Peak Scientific, comments: “We can report back to management accountants immediately without having to wait until quarter- or year-end.”
It saves time and money day-to-day too. David Hawes, Finance Director, at Devon Air Ambulance comments: “In reality, significant time is used up responding to ad hoc emails and queries, which is where we’ve seen much of our time savings. We’re able to run the month end cycle earlier every month with a reduction of errors.”
It's little things like this that add up to a big difference. Research shows using an integrated expense, travel, and invoice solution typically saves over 500 hours per year per finance employee and on average, over £30,000 for the business.
So, finance automation doesn’t just combat a negative perception of the finance team and transform you into a knowledge powerhouse. It also delivers concrete, bottom line savings.