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Spend Management: The 4 Trends Shaping the Finance Industry

Go Paperless with Digitization

The digitization of companies is an obvious driver of their growth. Over the past 10 years, the largest and most competitive companies have studied the impact of digital transformation on their business performance. With the disruptions caused by COVID-19, most businesses have had no choice but to embrace this transformation.

The dematerialized management of expenses allows in particular real-time management, fraud prevention, remote management and faster reimbursement of expenses.

As the European market sets a framework for digital business transactions, digital transformation is more than ever an imperative for most businesses.

Real-time expense management

With an underlying “make or break” scenario, the pandemic has pushed the most reluctant entities to more agility and mainly in all decision-making processes. Real-time access to expenses has quickly become a major issue for companies, forced to reconsider their initial business objectives.

Backed by a recognition rate of up to 99%, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has become one of the cornerstones of real-time business expense management. Coupled with automation, it allows employees to report their expenses instantly. With this tool, finance teams can move from costly manual expense reporting to an automated solution.

Real-time expense management is the foundation for sound financial decisions, based on current data rather than painstakingly collected data from the previous year. With this technology, expenses become expense reports ready for review and approval in the blink of an eye, fraud and anomalies are detected instantly, and budget limits are always under control. Real-time expense management is the way to go to streamline expenses and enable proactive financial decision-making.

The use of virtual cards to fight against fraud

B2B digital payments are one of the latest trends that have taken off with post-COVID-19 work processes. In line with the move towards real-time management, online payments enable faster remote transactions. Additionally, expense management benefits from virtual card payments through improved cash flow. But the major advantage of virtual card payments lies in the degree of security of the process.

If the first developments of the use of the virtual card in business have received a mixed reception, the significant reduction in the risk of fraud and an easier integration into the ecosystem of the company should help to convince the financial teams. Although payment services for B2B are subject to strict regulation, the integration of the virtual card offers companies an out-of-the-box payment solution, directly integrated into the processes of managing expenses.

Automation and machine learning for better management

With automation, companies realized they could save resources by shifting low value-added work to computers, relocating skilled employees to high-value tasks. Machine learning has enabled further automation, and expense management has begun a major shift towards AI-enabled systems.

Automation and machine learning help finance teams spot any anomalies, with minimal manual intervention and oversight. With automation and machine learning combined, spend management can achieve better compliance, real-time insight into spend, better accountability, reliable fraud detection, financial transparency.

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