Modern Spend Management: Real-Time Data Is Essential By Anna King, CFO, Mesh Payments Modern spend management needs to be both connected and contextual. Rather than a standalone tool, spend management should be integrated into a CFO’s tech stack to provide real-time insights, steer decision-making and allow for flexibility in changing conditions — like unexpected banking crises. Control is a key benefit of spend management, allowing budget owners to limit spending, grant approvals and see every transaction in real time. But control that doesn’t sync with the rest of your finance systems isn’t being used to its full potential. By embracing spend management that is connected to all of your business systems, you get a much fuller picture of your company and can better make informed decisions. Importantly, connected spend management allows you to react nimbly in the face of unpredictable conditions and economic events. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic presented new challenges of facilitating payments for a largely distributed and remote workforce. Spend management provided adaptability through virtual cards and the ability to track and approve transactions from anywhere. In the wake of the Silicon Valley Bank collapse, modern spend management is once again innovating to help businesses thrive despite economic crises. The ability for spend management solutions like Mesh to onboard new customers and new bank accounts quickly — and to support multiple bank accounts — is crucial as companies look to learn lessons and diversify their funds. And while change often comes in waves generated by massive economic events, CFOs can still be reluctant to adopt new spend management systems. Traditionally, new systems meant time spent on implementation and onboarding, an adjustment period for users, and both upfront and recurring costs. So, it’s no surprise that a CFO might resist change. But modern spend management not only provides options that are fast, easy to use and affordable — it also presents a clear ROI. Traditional systems were disparate and often involved manual work, making it difficult to calculate a return on investment. But modern solutions that are connected to the rest of a company’s cloud-based software change that. When spend management is integrated with a company’s ERP, HRIS and other SaaS applications, it creates a symbiotic relationship between them all. Data flows freely, giving you a more complete picture of the financial health of your company from a single dashboard in real time. Connected spend management goes beyond just providing detailed information about each transaction made with company money. It puts those transactions within the greater context of the business. Questions that help determine company budgets like “How much are we spending on cloud computing?” or “How many new employees have we hired?” are automatically answered when your ERP and HRIS are synced with your spend management tool. Plus, it allows you to react quickly when things change — like being able to instantly offboard an employee and maintain control over spending when an employee leaves. Spend management has grown leaps and bounds beyond simply serving as a tool for receipt collection and reimbursement. When integrated with other sources of company data, it becomes an invaluable piece of the decision-making process. Get the latest blogs from Mesh by subscribing to our newsletter Manage Your Payments With Full Control & Visibility Get Started Anna King, CFO, Mesh Payments Anna King is the CFO of Mesh Payments. She has over a dozen years of experience utilizing data and analytics to achieve greater financial control and implement strategic initiatives. At Mesh Payments she puts that experience to use helping finance teams take control and gain key insights into their spend in real-time. Prior to Mesh, Anna was the long-time CFO for Transactis, a billing and payments processing company acquired by Mastercard.