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How Technology Can Enable SMBs to Foster a Responsible Spending Culture

Was the last exhibition that you showcased your brand, where you spent CAD 10,000 effective? Your revenue from the north-eastern region is off the charts. Do you need more salespeople to manage that? Travel is back, but do you know if you are spending on the right kind of travel?

Wouldn’t it be infinitely easier if you had a dashboard capable of providing these insights?

If you are an SMB owner or a finance professional advising an SMB, it is imperative to have complete visibility into spending. Today, systems that can provide cross-functional insights into your spending patterns and can nudge you into spending in the right areas can be a huge competitive advantage. This can ultimately make or break your business.

Running a business requires you to spend money. There are all sorts of expenses you will incur. Some are classified as direct expenses – those that can be directly attributed to the cost of the goods or services you sell, and some are indirect expenses – those that are required for running your business day to day.

How Technology Can Enable SMBs to Foster a Responsible Spending Culture

So how do we go about choosing the right technology partner who can systematize a culture of responsible spending? What do you need to look at when you choose a travel and expense management system? Here are a few tips:

Simplifying compliance for your employees

Implementing a well-designed and simple application that increases adoption and allows all stakeholders – employees, administrators, finance professionals, external auditors, and accountants – to work collaboratively is crucial. Nothing automatically inheres simplicity, and at times it could be subjective. For example, your system is not simple if your employees need to do anything more than just snap a receipt to claim an expense, or if your finance team is burdened with the complexity of manually recording transactions. The only solution here is to adopt a streamlined travel and expense management system. Such a system simplifies expense claims, automates transaction recording, and eliminates manual record transfers, ensuring a user-friendly experience that saves multiple productive hours, and efforts of your employees.

Compliance wrapped around day-to-day tasks

The right travel and expense management system will ensure that tax and regulatory compliance is baked right into the application, addressing it from the moment a transaction is captured, without requiring additional inputs from the user. This saves plenty of time during financial close and helps the finance and administration teams in staying compliant throughout the year. This not only ensures financial prudence but also reinforces the commitment to responsible spending practices across the organization.

Enabling cross-functional collaboration

A travel and expense management system should be able to glean data from multiple departments, such as HR, Accounting, Finance, Sales, and Marketing. This is essential for creating a complete visibility on an organisation’s spending. This type of data collection will allow the system to process transactions through the organisation’s policy filters, ensuring that every expense is aligned with the company’s guidelines. Additionally, with access to real-time analytics, businesses can make informed decisions, and spend more efficiently.

AI infused and Dynamism personified

Subject to privacy and security considerations, the system learns how to classify and continually self-enhance to automate and reduce user intervention. Furthermore, the right areas to spend, depending on your business and the time of year, may shift in response to evolving dynamics – akin to Schrödinger’s cat, where what was considered a wise expenditure last year could be a luxury this year, and what might have seemed excessive in the past could be necessary for staying ahead now. The system should possess the flexibility to adapt to these external factors.

Enhanced Risk and Fraud management

A good travel and expense management system should be adept at identifying fraudulent activities, detecting anomalies, and continuously learning. This functionality enhances the organization’s overall fraud and risk management capabilities. Such a system will contribute to a responsible spending culture while reducing the chances of financial discrepancies.

Audit Ready at All Times

A powerful travel and expense management system will notify you about policy violations, duplicate entries, and run audit trail reports, as well as detect fraudulent activity, ensuring no discrepancies in your financial records. This essentially leads businesses to be ready for an audit at any time.

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