digital transformation

Digital transformation without digital expense management – Are you risking the bottom line?

By: Ramesh Iyer, Managing Director at Concur Technologies, India

Disruption is the new innovation and digital economy is shaping an organizations speed of responsiveness to define success or failure.  Today, digital transformation is rapidly changing the way organizations are functioning to enhance their performance in this hyper competitive market. The pace of digital transformation is relentless and the advent of mobility, IoT, analytics, social media platforms and cloud computing is impacting organizations immensely. Additionally, the advent of globalization has not just opened up avenues for newer business opportunities but also added immense complexity in managing the business processes.

This digital transformation is forcing business departments like finance, HR, procurement etc. to radically overhaul their business processes. Apart from interactive interfaces, these functions are demanding data that has real-time updates, is extremely accurate, consistent across platforms and above all has zero-errors. This is essential for an organization to streamline their business processes, as it can lead to decreased efficiency, ineffective resource utilization, compromise operational excellence, manage risk and stay agile while responding to external business environment.  To achieve this, organizations must reinvent their business processes through automation that simplifies documentation, performance tracking and incorporate faster decision making.

Expense management is one such category that has a direct impact in increasing the organizations revenues. For instance, travel related expense management is the second largest controllable expense for an organization.   However, organizations often don’t have complete visibility into their entire spend. One of the key reason is the manual tracking of these expenses on excel sheets that just fails to provide a complete overview of spend management. As per Concur report “Asia’s Journey to Optimized Travel and Expenses Management” Only 13% of the Indian companies have deployed an automated T&E system. This means that only a select group of enterprises are currently enjoying benefits from visibility, compliance, reporting, and duty of care, mobility, business intelligence and real-time control. This traditional means of managing expenses impacts decision makers in getting error prone documents, lack of adherence to compliance and hampers employee productivity.

A quick perspective on the potential and magnitude of expense management in the Indian market throws startling facts. India is one of the largest business travel markets in the world. According to the GBTA’s (Global Business Travel Association) report “GBTA BTI™ Outlook – India, Prospects for Domestic & International Outbound Business Travel 2014-2015, India spent close to $ 26.2 billion on business travel in 2014. With new age technologies like cloud computing and mobility, organization can gain flexibility and scale. This will enable small & large organizations to explore the full potential of managing a travel & expense management solution effectively.

Automation of expense management is key as it also helps in securing an organization’s reputation. The possibility of the organization’s reputation being undermined by employees engaging in malpractice of claiming more than invested is not new. The entire claims process is extensive and in the presence of any errors the time factor gets compounded owing to numerous reasons that makes it a difficult task for CFOs to ensure timely validation. Claimants often procrastinate while filing claims and lost receipts further hamper the submission process. Multiple minor delays contribute towards a wider gap that directly affects the expense management process of different organizations. An automated expense management solution that addresses these concerns on real-time basis is an invaluable asset for professionals that make it effective and easier for all stakeholders

Gartner predicts “digital business incompetence will cause 25% of businesses to lose competitive ranking by 2017”. While successful digital transformation may not just be a resultant of only implementing new solutions, however they may be also derived from equipping the organization to explore newer possibilities. Though organizations have embarked on the journey to go digital, most of them still have a long way to go in their digital transformation journey. Whether CFOs leverage new or old technologies, the key to digital transformation is having a vision to drive change in the way they operate and make their automated expense management a key weapon to drive profitability.

Considering every organization’s objective to advance, automated expense management can facilitate the agility and efficiency necessary. As stated by George W. Bush, ‘You cannot do today’s job with Yesterday’s methods and be in business Tomorrow.’ Likewise, growth requires appropriate business strategy bagged with ‘automated technology’ support of progressive elements…One that uplifts and at the same time balances.




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