Abstract: Implementation of best practices at the workplace is undoubtedly a priority for mangers, though it is easier said than done. In this post, we will see how the spend management platform helps organizations implement spend management best practices.

There is no doubt that every manager would want the best practices in their domains implemented at the workplace. This, however, is easier thought than done. While managerial will is one of the culprits of this lack of best practice implementation, oftentimes, it also happens as a result of the lack of wherewithal – the lack of supporting tools and personnel. It also takes a great deal of time and skill to identify the best practices and constantly course-correct. One easy and quick way to ensure the implementation of the best practices in any process at the workplace is to use purpose-built business productivity software. These solutions come with a number of features that are a collection of best practices, ensuring that once you deploy the solution and use it regularly, you would be quintessentially following these best practices every day. In this post, we will discuss some of the best practices that come with the spend management software platform.

Comprehensive Visibility

Maverick spending, fraud, mismanagement of funds, misalignment of budgets, and inaccuracies in reporting are some of the issues that plague spend management practices in organizations. While undesirable practices in spend management manifest in multiple ways, the root causes are similar. One of the major contributors to this is lack of visibility into the various tasks and processes that make up spend management. While standalone solutions can provide visibility into a particular area or sub-task, they are no match for the comprehensive spend platform solution that provides holistic visibility across all the processes that form part of spend management.

With this visibility best practice, organizations can counter multiple evils – identify and eliminate all kinds of funds misuse, provide status updates to decision-makers in real-time, and ensure collaboration among all the stakeholders involved in the process.

Analytics

Analytics is another best practice that more and more organizations are warming up to. Gone are the days when they did not have the means to collect or analyse data – today, most organizations use analytics in some capacity or the other to manage vital processes such as human resource management, marketing, and of course, spend management. The platform’s analytics module is more powerful than a standalone solution’s – instead of analytics being a feature of a solution, it is an entire module now, which allows for advanced analyses of different processes. It is also easy to use, which means that managers and employees can themselves analyse their processes instead of depending on centralized analytics functions. Since lack of analysis is one more contributing factor to many of the process evils noted above, this best practice can help in more than one way. Analytics are also essential to perform periodic audits of business processes to assess their efficiency and effectiveness.

The analytics module also helps handle data management effectively, making it easier to store, share, and analyse data.

Reporting

Periodic reporting to keep all the stakeholders engaged and informed is another best practice that many organizations fail to follow owing to factors such as lack of wherewithal, opaque processes, and so on. With the comprehensive spend platform though, reporting becomes a breeze. Managers and administrators can also automate reporting, which ensures least manual intervention in the task. Say the CEO needs a report on the expenses of a particular business unit every Monday, the software can be programmed to deliver the same.

Integrated Processes for Collaboration

In many organizations, there exists the problem of lack of collaboration among the different business units and departments. Since these business units are often the internal customers of each other, when they don’t collaborate with one another effectively, it can directly hurt the bottom line. In a way, this lack of collaboration is not always the fault of the employees – the solutions they use to manage their work have to share the blame. When organizations automate different tasks at different times due to budgetary constraints or other considerations, they run the risk of these systems not working with one another to share data among themselves. The manual transmission of data from one solution to another completely negates the purpose these software was deployed for in the first place. There is also the problem of compatibility between systems, which means that when another business unit needs some information, it has to be converted into a different format, often manually.

In contrast, the spend platform is an integrated solution whose bedrock is collaboration. There is no question of incompatibility among systems – as all the solutions are offered by the same service provider, they work with each other fine. This further allows business units to collaborate with each other with minimal deviations from the task at hand. Even third-party solutions can be added to the platform and be made compatible to ensure seamless processing.

Automation

There is no doubt that automation is a best practice that many organizations can dearly do with. A spend platform is an automation powerhouse that makes the lives of users easier and more comfortable. No matter what the role of the user is – employee, manager, senior management, administrator, service provider, or vendor – the platform automates almost everything that there is, giving users the chance to save time on processing and spending it on more productive tasks. There is no doubt again that spend management comprises of numerous mundane and repetitive tasks that could hugely benefit from automation.

Some of the processes that the platform automates are requisitioning, travel booking, expense report preparation and submission, verification, reimbursement, invoice-reception, sorting, classification, and matching of invoices, making orders and tracking deliveries, and so on. The traveling employee would benefit from the reduced time it takes to prepare a report, the accounts payables manger will be happy with the automated sorting, matching, and classification of invoices, and procurement managers will benefit from automation of multiple procurement-related processes. And above all, the senior management is very happy since employees are becoming more productive while processes are becoming more efficient.

Vendor/Supplier Management

Management of the firm’s employees and their affairs is one thing – management of suppliers and vendors is another whole thing entirely. In functions like procurement, expense management, and accounts payables, internal stakeholders have to deal with these external stakeholders, and very closely, to ensure that business affairs are handled in a productive manner. With the spend management platform, all of the organization’s suppliers and their needs can be handled in a mutually beneficial manner. In case of travel booking, a booking engine can be integrated with the solution. In procurement, suppliers and their catalogs can be hosted on the solution. In accounts payables, invoices can be directly received from the suppliers’ systems.

Furthermore, data pertaining to all the transactions with the multiple stakeholders is recorded diligently in the repository. This makes it easier to implement supplier management efforts, and periodically evaluate their performance accurately.

Apart from the above, the spend management software platform can also help organizations implement numerous other best practices such as centralization of data management, decentralization of tasks, forecasting, accuracy, and so on, at the workplace. Since the software comes in both online and on-premise models of delivery, firms have a choice of deployment that is more suited to their privacy and security needs. With the online version, organizations can enjoy greater flexibility and agility.