As an SMB Leader, Do You Really Know How Much Manually Managing Company Spend Costs Your Business?

Managing company spend is a hot topic today – especially among small and midsize businesses (SMBs) – because cash flow is key to driving profitable growth. But are you optimizing how you manage it?

In the age of Big Data, digital transformation, and automation, this requires intelligent automation to provide companywide visibility across travel, expenses, and vendor (or supplier) spend. SMBs that fail to modernize their processes place themselves at high risk on many fronts – most notably, through wasted time and spiraling indirect costs that can derail growth strategies and drain working capital. Put simply, wasted time equals wasted money, and what SMB can afford that?

According to a new survey conducted by AMI-Partners, leaders of small and midsize organizations agree. They cited their top challenges related to time as:

  • 65 % Delayed reporting of expenses

  • 63% Time wasted in expense audits

  • 60% Time taken away from strategic work

  • 59% Delayed approval cycles/reimbursements

These challenges share a common thread: they result in lost time and financial opportunities due to inefficient travel, expense, and vendor invoice management processes. Traditional methods such as spreadsheets or pen and paper for tracking and managing expenses and vendor invoices are inherently slow, cumbersome, and costly. This becomes more evident as companies begin to grow beyond 50 employees. Manual travel, expense, and vendor invoice management impedes growth and scale because it requires that time spent by finance and accounting teams increase proportionately to the overall growth of the firm. More time means higher costs.

But perhaps you’re asking yourself – how much is all of this REALLY costing my business? Is it so much that it’s worth spending the money on an automated travel, expense, and vendor invoice management solution?

The AMI-Partners’ study looked more closely at the true costs of manual processes through the lens of the challenges firms face prior to automating their travel, expense, and invoice management. And they found that the costs can be categorized into three key areas:

  • Visibility

  • Risk/Compliance

  • Time/Financial

More evidence of the cost of manual processes is the hard savings realized after companies deploy T&E automation solutions – especially by users of SAP Concur. According to AMI-Partners, SMBs using T&E solutions save over US$31,000 per year after implementation. Firms using Concur Expense reported greater average savings of $40,000 per year. Companies implementing vendor invoice management solutions saw similar cost savings. The average annual dollar savings was nearly $34,000. Firms using Concur Invoice indicated that they are saving over $42,000 annually.

Make no mistake: There are inherent challenges related to implementing a new automation solution, including the onboarding and training of employees. And it takes time to learn a new system. But these challenges should not discourage you from implementing automated travel, expense, and invoice management solutions or taking a further step of integrating across various processes. The benefits of automation significantly outweigh any cost of implementation, and there is a considerable return on investment once you adopt automated T&E and vendor invoice solutions.

To learn more, read the new paper from AMI-Partners yourself, “The Value of Automated Travel, Expense and Invoice Management: A Before-and-After Look at the Small-to-Midsize Business Cost of Manually Managing Company Spend and the ROI of Automating These Processes.”

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