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Businesses failing to plan are planning to fail

on Monday, 25 February 2019. Posted in Finance

There are a million ways to grow your company but one thing’s for certain – it’ll all come falling down without a concrete plan

Businesses failing to plan are planning to fail

What’s your business’ approach to growth? Are you taking it steady and expanding organically? Or do you have more upfront tactics about where you want to go? Whatever your direction, you need a plan. That’s because two of the biggest reasons for business failure are poor planning and, specifically, bad financial planning. But by including these components it doesn’t have to be that way. 

All systems grow

Inefficient and time-consuming processes will only get worse as you expand. In short, it’s a vortex of doom – the more time you spend grappling with cumbersome procedures, the less time you’ll have to focus on growth. So think for a moment about the systems you have in place and the processes your team uses: how many were strategically implemented with an eye on the medium and long term, compared to those invented as a quick fix to a sudden problem? Will those impromptu systems work as you grow and continue to give what you need with a few tweaks here and there, or will they sink under the strain?

In fact, systems no longer fit for purpose are one of the most common reasons people speak with SAP Concur, the spend management service. “It would take days to approve an invoice and even though I was only involved in creating expense reports for three or four people, it was all taking a lot of time,” says Maria Santos Roman, office manager at DRC Capital, the real estate debt advisory platform and SAP Concur customer. “Plus, I was concerned about the massive amounts of paper we were printing and how much we were spending on storage.” If you’re familiar with such concerns about scaling up, maybe now is the time to take action and address future challenges before they strike.

Automation equals scalability

Automating processes such as invoices, expenses and travel makes them more lightweight and therefore scalable as you grow. However, it’s important to think strategically about how exactly you achieve automation.

For starters, choose integrated tools that talk to each other so you aren’t just streamlining one process but all of them. “We liked the multiple layers we could look into further down the line,” said Luke Braham, head of technology operations at RED, the SAP solutions provider. “The single platform gave a benefit you don’t get with other products.” Cloud-based tools prove particularly useful in this instance. Ones like Concur Invoice, Concur Expense and Concur TripLink, for example, auto-upgrade with the latest tax and government regulations and, most importantly, have built-in triggers to speed up reimbursement by as much as half. Moreover, there’s no up-front investment in expensive hardware or pricey upgrades, meaning you have the same tools and benefits as big business counterparts.

Automation won’t just save you time in the future – it will save you time now. For instance, a recent study by SAP Concur found finance teams using automated T&E solutions saw a 15% reduction in time spent processing expense reports and invoice management users enjoyed 16% less. Such precious hours can be spent analysing numbers and providing meaningful insights that add value to the business and, ultimately, help it grow. 

This article comes courtesy of SAP Concur, the travel, expense and invoice management service

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