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Transforming the expense function of SMB’s

Transforming the expense function of SMB’s 

Our own company knows what it’s like to start small and grow. Concur origins are rooted to the pain our CEO felt doing an expense report in Excel during a 36-hour expense reporting marathon. Over the past two decades we’ve grown from the ground up, to over 5,000 employees. Digital transformation – strategically looking to digital technology to improve business processes, models and competencies – is what spurred our business and we see, first-hand, the benefits it gives to all businesses.

Digital transformation is especially important for small business owners as it allows them to get back to what matters most to them. Investing in digitally savvy tools also lays the groundwork as companies grow – meaning companies won’t be relying on the same processes they used as a team of five, when they grow to be a team of fifty. Adopting digital solutions is one of the best ways to keep up with the unique demands of a small business but are often overlooked as most small business owners are busy just keeping their head above water. The road to digital transformation can be daunting but even starting with just one area of the business can make a noticeable difference.

The expense function of a business can often be headache inducing. Not only is it a tiresome task but it can become cumbersome as a result of the number of people that submit, approve, report and manage the process. Expensing is linked to day-to-day operations, employee travel and inventory, and has huge implications on cash-flow and revenue. Poor solutions and tools for expensing can lead to slowed growth and misinformed scaling, especially when invoices and employee expenses are manually imputed to spreadsheets or paper-based forms. Human error is inevitable.

Automated expensing tools can be an asset to every small business and investing in tools that are adaptable early on can set-up even the smallest organization for rapid growth, providing better clarity and control on your financial situation. Automated expensing can help beyond the bottom-line too. Organizations that implement automated, integrated, end-to-end spend management systems can see benefits like time-savings, efficient cash flow management, increased visibility into their business and better reporting. Plus, bringing in an automated tool can really free-up the time people use to manually input expenses for more beneficial tasks like relationship building, prospecting and new business development. Concur client, Allen Vanguard, has seen firsthand the benefits automation can provide. Their automated expense system, Concur Expense, “[is] accessible for all employees no matter where they are” giving flexibly and immediacy to the expensing process.

Some believe automation will replace dedicated roles but Concur has found that when you automate manual processes, your staff can focus instead on the work that can’t be automated. Some companies think automation will be expensive too but even with an up-front investment, automating expense management pays off pretty quickly.

The road to digital transformation doesn’t have to be rocky and small business owners will be surprised to see how automating business functions – like expensing – can allow them to get back to things that matter most: cultivating their passion for their business and ensuring it succeeds. 

Brian Veloso, Senior Director for Small and Medium-sized Business at Concur 

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