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How intuitive spend management software can help businesses create agile, future-fit finance teams.

How intuitive spend management software can help businesses create agile, future-fit finance teams. 1

By Dynshaw Italia, Soldo’s CFO

Recently, ONS released its latest findings which showed that GDP grew by just 0.1% in February compared to 0.8% in January. From these figures, it is apparent that the cost-of-living crisis is now taking a hold not just on UK citizens but on its businesses – a shift that is likely to be the start of a prolonged period of weaker growth. If this dip is to persist, it is essential businesses begin looking inward and invest in strengthening their internal operations early.

Though not a preferred situation, periods of slow growth do offer the chance for businesses to regroup and look at how their business is performing internally. By focusing on improving the inner workings of the company, decision-makers can see where departments need supporting to keep future-fit.

Finance teams are an ideal target when looking to update processes – as so often they are still operating with outdated, manual entry programs to manage one of the most important parts of the company. In order to see growth, it is key that finance teams are modernised, and solutions are adopted that provide visibility, control, and the flexibility to adapt to any situation

Building on a resilient foundation

In a period of accelerated digital transformation, we are beginning to see many businesses look to digital tools, such as spend management software to strengthen operations. In fact, 94% of CFOs are expecting to invest more in digital technology over the next three years, making it clear that establishing a stable, digital base for finance teams to adapt to change is top of the agenda.

Creating a robust foundation of financial processes requires human error and needs to be ironed out early. Finance operations that are highly liable to error should be the first to focus on, such as expense management. When expenses are managed across multiple platforms, issues such as lost receipts and entry mistakes can cause greater mishaps and wasted time down the line. Having a platform where all purchases made on company cards are automatically tracked means every expense can be traced back to its source, avoiding outgoing purchases going unnoticed. Spend management software allows finance teams full visibility of where their money is going and gives them the confidence and control that they need to deal with unforeseen situations. From this strong foundation, these tools enable finance teams to build strategies around unexpected issues without the fear they are working without support.

The power of automating spend analysis

For analysing spend data and making precise financial forecasts, finance teams need reliable tools that are going to give them the most accurate results. Conducting a spend analysis is a practical way to gain insights that will assist in predicting future outcomes, but without automation the process is a tedious task that is left open to human error. With finance teams underpinning much of a company’s operations and success, eliminating errors can have a large positive impact on the business growth.

When dealing with urgent complications, finance teams need to quickly draw up solutions based on previous insights. However, when data is hidden from view and reports are created manually – finance professionals may be forced to use out-of-date materials that no longer accurately depict the condition of the business. By using spend management software that offers real-time reporting, finance teams can respond as soon as an issue arises – whether that be refocusing resources to a particular part of the business that has taken a hit or blocking a company card being used for fraudulent purposes – and fix it right away. Instead of settling for old data, businesses need to move to a new reporting structure.

Automating the tedious sections of spend analysis does not only improve the accuracy of finance data, but the extra time available gives employers the opportunity to train their finance teams in more strategic and top-level skills. Companies who have trained their teams in these skills early will be one step ahead of competitors when full automation is inevitably introduced into spend analysis. Businesses must consider the importance of future proofing the individuals in their finance teams, not just future proofing their tech.

In a turbulent business landscape, finance teams need the perfect combination of resilience and agility. To thrive in the changing world, adaptability must be backed up by a solid platform, accurate insights and good strategic decision making. By utilising spend management software, with its tight but customisable controls, businesses can get a grip on their finances while embracing the flexibility that automation gives them.

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