5 Ways to Manage Spend for Remote Teams

Ways to Manage Spend for Remote Teams

The remote work trend has really taken off in the last few years, but it’s been on the rise for much longer than that. What started out as an innovative and flexible way of working is now a widespread norm. And whether companies adopted work-from-home policies voluntarily or out of necessity, it’s clear that remote work is here to stay.

In order to handle remote teams effectively, you need to track and manage their spending. This means checking that expenses are reasonable, ensuring compliance with company policies, and looking for opportunities to cut costs. Let’s examine some of the top tools and strategies that companies can use to manage spend for remote teams.

1. Spend Management System

A spend management system consolidates various functions including procurement, expense tracking, analytics, and forecasting. It can be fully integrated with your other systems, making it ideal for remote teams that primarily make purchases online.

The system can issue virtual cards, streamline approvals, match receipts, and provide insights on spending behavior. For example, if a remote team member buys a SaaS subscription with a virtual card, their supervisor will be notified and can approve or deny it immediately. This ensures remote teams have all the resources they need, while supervisors can keep track of expenses.

2. Expense Monitoring

No matter the size of your remote team, expenses must be monitored. Spend management monitoring doesn’t just provide a budget variance; it analyzes spending by team, employee, and category. Expense monitoring can alert you to changing trends, highlight areas that need additional oversight, and even combat zombie subscriptions.

Imagine you have three remote teams, and expense monitoring shows that one is spending much more than the others. Drilling down by category reveals that every employee on that team has an individual subscription to the same software, while the other teams use a group license. You can easily shift the first team to a group license as well, resulting in immediate savings.

3. Dedicated Employee Cards

Virtual cards are essential for remote employees, and can also be a valuable tool for spend management. Dedicated employee cards foster accountability and transparency, and virtual cards are particularly easy to issue, activate, and deactivate. They can also be assigned to certain vendors and set for approvals based on amount or category.

Let’s say a remote employee needs to buy a new monitor. Instead of sending them through a complicated and tedious procurement process, you can assign them a virtual card with a limit corresponding to the average price for a new monitor. If the employee’s purchase exceeds that amount, their supervisor will be automatically notified.

4. Documentation and Digital Trails

Keeping detailed documentation and digital trails of business expenses helps you stay compliant with tax obligations. Everything from contracts and purchase orders to payroll records, invoices, and receipts must be gathered and retained for at least seven years.

If that sounds like a headache, spend management software can help. It captures and digitally stores all spending activity in one centralized system. This data can be easily retrieved for internal and external audits. You’ll never again have to chase after employees for receipts or worry if all your records are in order.

5. Invoice Processing

Invoice processing is an integral part of managing remote teams, and it’s never been easier thanks to digital solutions. Spend management software can recognize vendors, cross-reference invoices, identify duplicates, reference the budget, categorize costs, and route approvals.

This takes human error out of the equation, while also increasing efficiency and speed. Employees can get all their invoicing questions answered and resolve issues quickly. Recurring charges can be automatically checked and approved, so no one has to waste time reviewing the same invoices each month.

Why Is Remote Expense Management Necessary?

It’s all too easy for the expenses of remote employees to be overlooked, since they’re not in the office and their spending often differs from that of in-person teams. Spend management solutions can help you stay on top of this—but why is it so important? Let’s take a closer look.

Keep Employees Happy

Good spend management means employees can get what they need when they need it. Their procurement requests won’t get lost or neglected, and tools like virtual cards and expedited invoice processing can streamline the process. Happier employees means less staff turnover, which lets you stay focused on business operations and growth.

Promote Accountability

Every employee should be responsible for their spending, and accountability is maximized when invoices and receipts are automatically matched and analyzed. Tracking spending by employee, department, and category keeps everyone accountable and lets you focus on the bigger picture: the overall impact of each business function.

Better Finance Management

When it comes to making important decisions, you need to have all the facts. Connecting spend management with other financial processes provides up-to-date, accurate, and comprehensive data to optimize decision-making. This can ultimately help you gain market share and make progress on your strategic plan.

The Future of Remote Spend Management

There are plenty of strategies to manage spend for remote teams, but software solutions are the best way to streamline the process. As your business moves forward, it’s essential to adopt innovative tools. Implementing an advanced spend management platform can be the first step toward optimizing your expenses and achieving your goals.

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