Cash flow – or more to the point, a lack of it – is understandably one of the single biggest killers of growing businesses in the UK. Around 80-90% of small businesses fail because of poor cash flow and so finance teams are being more heavily relied on to help manage it effectively. That means getting a handle over total spend including employee expenses, supplier invoices and corporate travel. Only then can the business access insights that help shape decisions.
But the political and economic uncertainty around Brexit is adding pressure. What’s next, how should businesses prepare and what should you prioritise? It’s easy to think a “wait and see” approach is the wisest, but it might just be the best time to fix slow processes so you’ll be ready for whatever is thrown your way. And getting greater visibility of spend through improved processes, joined up data and clear reporting can give you the crucial control you need today over your cash flow.
What’s stopping control over cash flow?
We talk to many companies of all sizes that still rely on paper-based processes to manage important finance tasks like expenses and invoices. The problem with that is the time it takes, the mistakes that crop up, duplication, fraud… the list is endless. But ultimately it all adds up to lots of money – and little control. After all, you can only control what you can see. So how can you increase visibility and control over spend while making processes quicker and easier for employees?
Here are three tips that may help:
- Capture spend as early as possible: The easier you make it for employees to capture spend as they go, the earlier you’ll get visibility of that spend – not to mention future spend. Whether that’s paying for a hotel on a corporate card, reclaiming for car mileage or buying office supplies.
- Reduce errors and duplication: How long does the finance team spend rekeying data from paper to spreadsheets to finance systems? It’s time-consuming and prove to human error. The more you can cut out data entry, the less chance there will be of mistakes and the more time the team will have.
- Use your spend data to inform decisions: Can you easily pull reports across all the areas of spend in your business to give you the full picture? When you take data out of silos to cross-reference and compare, you get a much greater level of business insight.
That’s just three tips. If you want to read up more on the ways you can get greater control call us on +44 (0)203 866 8800, or watch our recent webinar recording, ‘Taking the Pain Out of Employee Expenses’:
N.B. this blog post was originally published on the Concur website in April 2017.