November 9, 2021

Meet your people where they are: how a simple Microsoft Teams integration can help manage employee spend

Teampay is thrilled to announce an integration with Microsoft Teams. Our solution has met people in Slack since its inception, and meeting people in Microsoft Teams is an exciting step toward empowering all employees to spend quickly and compliantly.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: the way we work has fundamentally changed.

Never before have working arrangements been so varied, both across and within companies and departments. Some businesses are fully remote. Others are in physical offices. Still others have a mix of the two. The same can be said of individual employees within those companies, including full- and part-time workers and contractors who are operating across geographies and time zones.

No matter their schedule or rank, every employee in your organization will be a business buyer at some point or another. Company purchasing is no longer limited to a handful of executives or IT personnel. Your purchasing department is now your entire workforce, and they have to make decisions quickly in order to keep up with the ever-increasing pace of business. In this environment, finance teams must connect with their people or risk losing their control and visibility into company spend.

Purchasing for distributed business

It was difficult to get employees to follow your purchasing process when everyone was in the same office. Now, as teams become increasingly distributed, it is nearly impossible. Many finance teams have attempted to digitize their existing process in an effort to make it more remote work-friendly, but the hybrid business landscape is bringing challenges to light. The lack of visibility and control over company purchasing, as well as the manual work required to manage it, is only becoming more of a burden.

Finance processes that rely on a physical location just aren’t feasible any more. Employees can’t pass around shared corporate cards, submit paper forms and receipts in person, or swing by finance’s desk when they have a question. On the flip side, distributed work makes it harder for finance teams to chase employees down for missing receipts or ask questions about a purchase. The increasing prevalence of online shopping has made physical corporate cards largely unnecessary and more of a security liability. In many cases, stagnant purchasing policies cannot keep up with the company’s changing needs.

It’s time to stop trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. Legacy purchasing processes and tools just weren’t built for today’s era of distributed spend. As more and more employees at every level of your organization are buying things for work, a new approach to purchasing is needed to ensure compliance. Empowering employees to spend intelligently requires meeting them where they are, inside the tools they are already using to communicate during their workday. For many businesses, that means Microsoft Teams.


Ease-of-use is key to employee adoption

Purchasing software is only effective if people use it. If finance teams want to implement new processes and systems across hybrid workforces, they need to be as easy as possible to adopt and use. Software should make employees’ lives easier, so if a new tool adds friction, it won’t be effective.

Legacy purchasing processes are confusing and time-consuming for employees outside of finance. They are forced to navigate separate procurement and expense tools, which are often clunky and hard to use. The process of submitting purchase orders and expense reports, obtaining the right approvals, and going back and forth with finance slows employees down and makes for a frustrating experience.

Embedding the process into Microsoft Teams aligns with employees’ existing workflows and communication preferences, rather than introducing them into a separate system. This makes it easy for employees to buy the things they need to do their job well. In this time of the Great Resignation, talent is getting harder to come by. Removing roadblocks and valuing user experience — even in finance software — helps attract and retain employees.


Finance without friction

Although the finance team understands the importance of adhering to policy, employees may see it as a roadblock to doing their jobs. Today’s business landscape is fast-paced, and employees need to move quickly. They likely don’t remember the company purchasing policy, don’t have time to read through it, or don’t even know where to access it if they wanted to. Instead, they make what they believe is the best decision to move forward, which might cause them to accidentally spend out of policy.

Building your purchasing process into Microsoft Teams eliminates the guesswork. Employees don’t have to learn a new system or remember your policy; it’s all embedded in the software they use every day. They are guided through the process via a user-friendly interface and notified of what exactly they need to do. This ensures compliance automatically: asking for the necessary information, routing requests to the correct approver(s), and administering funds only if a request is pre-approved.

Your teams are already using Teams. Embedding your purchasing process there is like introducing employees to a tool that they are already using. This allows finance to position itself inside an intuitive platform that your workforce knows and uses regularly. Instead of creating a separate process that adds friction, Microsoft Teams fits naturally into their current workflow.


Finance teams, meet Microsoft Teams

Employees outside of finance aren’t the only ones who benefit from integrating your purchasing process in Microsoft Teams. Because your purchasing policy is embedded in the software, your finance team doesn’t have to worry about employees spending out-of-bounds or over budget. They have complete visibility into spend, so there are no surprises at the end of the month.

Finance teams are also using Microsoft Teams. Enabling spend management within that system allows them to approve or deny requests and receive notifications right in their workspace. They can adjust policy on the fly and have those changes reflected in the software, rather than sending a company-wide email about the updates and hoping that employees remember.

Furthermore, reporting and data are just a click away. Finance teams can easily analyze spend data to gather valuable insights and share with senior leadership. Automated reconciliation frees them from manual work, allowing them to focus on more strategic tasks. By integrating purchasing with Microsoft Teams, finance can easily align with the rest of the business. This empowers employees to spend with confidence no matter where they are in the physical world, because their purchasing tool is always exactly where they are online. Click here to learn more.

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