4 Essential Steps to Boost Visibility for Your Company Spend

Boost Visibility for Your Company Spend

Monthly and quarterly reporting does not provide accurate spend visibility. In today’s fast-paced business world, the only effective way to truly track spending is in real time. There are tools and technology that can be used, but certain challenges need to be overcome before those can be effective. This is particularly true in larger enterprises where non-integrated data sources and redundant systems can skew the numbers. Correcting those issues must come first.    

Critical Challenges to Achieving Comprehensive Spend Visibility in an Enterprise

Internal departments and off-site satellite offices are often given a certain level of autonomy when it comes to spending. They’re given a budget. Inflows and outflows are reported to the accounting office. Quarterly financial reporting shows whether they’ve made a profit or taken a loss. Corrections are made only after those reports come out.

Spend visibility can be achieved in the above scenario by performing an internal audit of expenses, but that’s a time-consuming process. Changing the system is a more cost-effective solution. There are four key areas to focus on when doing this:

1. Data standardization: The rapid development of new technology has been a boon to businesses of all sizes. It’s also been a nightmare because newer systems don’t necessarily communicate well with older systems. This problem is compounded when doing business internationally where standardized data is hard to come by.

2. Manual processes: Human beings make mistakes. They can also intentionally or unintentionally provide incorrect numbers or misplace expense reports. Add all that to the additional cost of doing anything manually and this becomes a real problem. Automating systems and processes can be a solution to this.

3. Limited visibility: If you can’t see where the problem is, you can’t correct it. This gets more complicated as businesses grow. A solid foundation can facilitate scale. Real-time intelligence is required for that to work properly. Waiting for the end of the quarter to see your financials could be catastrophic when you’re in growth mode.

4. Compliance risks: Issues with compliance should never hit you from the blind side. Frequent changes in certain industries can make it difficult to keep up in this area, but the technology available to track those changes is always available. Being able to see your spending in real time is also an advantage when trying to stay in compliance.   

Each of these topics has been generalized and condensed. As a business owner or working professional, none of these are new to you. Data standardization is a headache. Manual processes are slow. An inability to see outflows is frustrating. Compliance is a pain in the neck. Rather than highlight the problems further, let’s look at some solutions. 

Step 1: Standardize your data

Using a centralized data source rather than relying on multiple systems that are not integrated is the best way to ensure your spend reporting is accurate. Establish some data quality standards that can be used universally across the company. Eliminate older systems which might contain redundancies that are disrupting your reporting and accounting processes.

One of the ways to simplify data standardization is to look for accounting tools and spend management software that integrates with each other. With integrated tools, you can create rules and automate data flow, eliminating the need for manual checks and data conversions. This is far more efficient than using multiple systems that don’t “talk” to each other.    

Step 2: Implement a spend management solution

Lack of spend visibility isn’t a new problem. It’s a challenge that businesses like yours have been looking to overcome for decades. That’s led to the development of spend management solutions designed to increase spend visibility. Mesh is one of those systems. We offer custom reporting, real time expense tracking, and integrations with accounting tools.

Spend management solutions can also provide spend controls and tools to ensure you remain in compliance. Many of them offer real-time insights into spending, giving your business the ability to make corrections as soon as the problem arises, not three months later when the accountants produce your quarterly financial reports.  

Step 3. Enable real-time visibility through pre-approval processes

Spending can be controlled before it happens. One way to do this is to implement pre-approval processes like setting spending limits and using automated approval workflows. Doing this through your spend management software ensures that the pre-approved spending will be tracked in real time, eliminating the need for expensive manual checks and balances.

Real-time visibility through pre-approval processes can reduce overspending and increase your chances of remaining in compliance. It also helps keep your employees honest. Those pre-approval processes could be extended to include expenses by limiting where and how much they can spend to qualify for reimbursement at the end of the spending cycle.   

Step 4: Leverage data analytics

Data analytics are every business owner’s best friend. When configured properly, they can tell you how much, where, and when your company is spending. That information can be leveraged to conduct regular reviews and make changes wherever necessary. Incorporating visualization tools into that process can help you share that data with the rest of your team.

The source of your data is the most critical component in this exercise. That data can be provided integrating Mesh with your accounting software. Mesh can produce the customized reporting to produce visual aids and the real time data to stay on top of your spending as it happens. 

To learn more, schedule a demo with Mesh today.

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Manage Your Payments With Full Control & Visibility