Corporate spend trend has some experts worried

SENIOR professionals are worried about corporate spending and a lack of business expense visibility in their organisations.

There have been technological advances minimising paper processes and manual work, but a study by Payhawk and Insights For Professionals (IFP) found that 36 percent of respondents were “extremely” or “very” concerned about spending in their organisation. But 51 percent rated spend management as “very good”.

Human error topped the list of challenges, with 29 percent citing it as a major problem. Other points of concern were time wasted on reconciliation, resistance to change, ineffective software, and inefficient or legacy processes.

CEO of payments firm Payhawk, Hristo Borisov, said corporate spending used to be managed “with piles of paper”. Modern businesses should be proactive in their approach, he says. “Despite the massive improvements that have come with digitalisation, companies are still facing numerous challenges — and senior professionals are right to be concerned.”

The IFP surveyed 100 senior professionals in the US and the UK across 11 industries, including finance, health, education and manufacturing. Company size ranged from 250 to 25,000 employees.

A crucial factor is visibility; 51 percent said they had very good visibility into company spend, but that dropped to 38 percent for large organisations.

“Senior professionals are bogged down with inefficiencies and a lack of up-to-date, accurate information about their corporate spending,” said Borisov. He prescribes greater automation and improved efficiency.

Organisations will have to invest in spend management initiatives to overcome the challenges, he believes. Most respondents said they would invest in the next year; 22 percent planned to put in up to $1m.

By having the right technologies and initiatives, every organisation could improve spend management, he said.