Where to Spend Your Excess 2019 Budget to Save in 2020

2019 is coming to an end. Many teams are realizing there’s leftover budget from a project that didn’t materialize and finding themselves in a “use-it-or-lose” it position. Wisely spent, this can allow your team to make an impact before 2020. The only question is: what should you spend it on?

For finance teams, there’s an added degree of difficulty to contend with: a ticking clock. Busy season is closing in fast. If the change can’t be implemented now, it’s definitely not getting implemented during the hectic rush of year-end close.

Fortunately, there’s one investment finance teams can have up and running before the end of the year: spend management. With distributed spend management technology, you can see results right away—and sustain them for years to come.  

In the age of agile operations, businesses are getting leaner and moving faster than ever before. They need a finance department that can help to accelerate that growth. Especially as spending becomes more distributed across departments and geographies, technology is a key piece of that puzzle. 

Implementing distributed spend management technology is a quick win that can set your team up for success before the year comes to a close.

Stop worrying about overhead, and start focusing on growth

This won’t come as a surprise to many finance professionals, but businesses spend a lot of money that they don’t mean to spend. U.S. companies waste $28 billion per year on “zombie” subscriptions alone. They lose another $50 billion per year to employee theft, including credit card fraud.

These kinds of leaks in the budget have had finance professionals tearing their hair out for years, but it’s generally been assumed that this kind of unintentional spending is, on some level, inevitable. Spending money you didn’t mean to spend was just part of doing business in the real world.

The truth is, it’s inevitable only in a world where businesses don’t have visibility into the places where this sneaky spending tends to happen. Sure, when teams are manually reconciling transactions and only finding out about purchases weeks after they happen, there’s a lot that can fall through the cracks. But in a world of digitally enabled finance, on the other hand, there’s nowhere left for that sneaky spending to hide. 

Distributed spend management software plugs into the exact places where unintentional spending tends to leak through. Finance teams can set limits on how much employees can spend on any given purchase or vendor. Proactive policy controls prevent out-of-bounds spending before it occurs.

The result: by investing in more modern spend management solutions, you can catch dollars that are currently being lost to overhead—and redirect those dollars toward fueling growth instead.

Unleash your finance team’s untapped potential as a strategic partner

According to a recent PwC report, top performing finance teams spent 75% of their time focused on data analysis and insights in 2018. That’s a steep climb from five years earlier, when those top performers dedicated only 47% of their time digging into data.

Where are these top performing finance teams finding all of this time to focus on strategy? The answer is that they know when and how to leverage technology to increase their effectiveness. Intelligent software reduces workflow friction and makes it simple to get the data the team needs to make business-critical finance decisions.

The cost of finance as a percentage of revenue at these top performing organizations is 40% lower than at average institutions, according to the PwC study. McKinsey found that, at one consumer packaged-goods company, a single cloud-based tool “replaced more than 10,000 offline spreadsheets, vastly freeing up the time and capacity of the finance function.”

The time your finance spends on administrative tasks—chasing down receipts, checking purchases against policy, reconciling the books by hand—is time that they could spend on higher-impact, more strategic activities. By investing in a distributed spend management platform that can handle those tasks automatically with proactive policy controls and automated reconciliation, you will free up your team to think creatively, move strategically, and drive your business forward.

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    Empower your entire team to move at the speed of business

    Finance employees aren’t the only ones who stand to benefit from companies investing in distributed spend management. In a business climate increasingly defined by agile operations, spend management has the ability to push the whole team forward—or hold everyone back. 

    From the sales associate who has to wait 2 weeks to be reimbursed for a hotel room she paid for herself, to a marketing associate who misses out on booking a top vendor because the approval didn’t come through in time, to the manager who spends hours each week reviewing and approving expense reports, employees across your organization feel the impact of inefficient spend management. They all stand to benefit from a smarter, more streamlined workflow.

    In today’s business environment, speed and efficiency are key, and friction is the enemy. Asking employees to wait days to have a purchase approved or spend hours filling out arcane expense reports introduces friction. It slows the team down and makes it that much more difficult to perform at their best.

    By introducing distributed spend management technology, finance teams can empower employees and fuel agility, instead of hindering it.

    Give your company the gift of distributed spend management

    Financials are the lifeblood of an organization, and there are two sides to that coin: money in and money out. There’s no direct lever to control revenue, but executives can have direct control over spending—with the right solutions in place.

    By enabling better resource allocation and smarter decision-making, distributed spend management impacts not only the finance team, but the entire organization. What better way to spend your excess 2019 budget than that?