We are only a few months into the New Year, and organizations are already in the corporate game— trying to attend the best technology conferences and events around the globe. Networking and summit meets are a good way for companies to be in tune with the latest technology trends and analyze their standing amidst the competition. How much companies invest in business networking has considerable impact on the overall revenues and growth margins. Today, it is considered an indispensable part of the corporate agenda for most organizations, especially in the technology sector.
It is therefore only natural that companies set aside a specific budget for all their annual networking commitments. However, here is where most enthusiastic, aspiring companies falter. The Travel & Expense (T&E) budget aside, many companies still fail to gain control of their spending and often go over budget in their efforts to capitalize on their networking opportunities. Not knowing where to draw the line in corporate, and in this case, T&E spending is really a matter of poor spend management. Spend management is a critical aspect of efficient business practices and an essential part of corporate planning.
The trouble is not so much setting aside a definite budget for all your corporate networking activities, but the ability to monitor spend strictly. Companies may set specific spend limits for a particular event, where travel is involved; even so, most small & mid-level companies with limited capabilities fail to recognize where the money is going and for what purpose. Stringent spend management practices can only be brought about by monitoring spending activity along every stage of the expense chain. A good way to keep tabs on your spending would be to have a clear documentation process for all your incoming invoices and bills. Documentation is an important part of prudent corporate practices— with a clear record of all T&E invoices, you will be able to know where your budget is being spent, but more importantly, you will have a clear audit trail for regulatory compliance purposes.
There are two options to curtail haphazard spending; either you put in place a competent team to look at all the T&E expenses on a regular basis, which can become tedious as the number of invoices pile up, or you invest in a suitable invoice management software tool. Of course, this is a paradox of sorts— to spend on something that will help you curtail spending, but it works! It has worked for most Fortune 500 and Best-in-Class companies, and it can certainly work for you too.
Technology spend has increased over the years with forward looking companies, focused on long-term growth, investing in software that can make their business processes simpler, faster, and extremely cost-effective. As a matter of fact, the July 2019 annual survey by Spiceworks on ‘IT Budgets & Tech Trends’ says it all— among emerging tech trends, the rate at which AI-powered technologies will be adopted by companies will triple by 2021.
Spend management should be administered not just to monitor the origin of all invoices and control T&E expenses, but also to lower the operational costs of managing invoices. The cost of processing travel invoices must also be considered as T&E expense and must be accounted for when deciding on the annual T&E budget.
A good way to do this is to automate invoice management and bring all corporate expense handling onto a single platform. Invoice processing software utilizes the power of Machine Learning (ML) and Intelligent Document Capture, along with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) to automate manual tasks, control invoice processing costs, and gain a competitive edge out of quick reconciliations and optimal cash management. Intelligent capture technology ensures automatic, error-free data entry of invoices. Robust RPA logic automatically handles invoices for sorting, vendor lookup, validation, verification, and approval before delivering the final processed invoice to your ERP or supported data source. In case of exceptions like not being able to extract all data from an invoice due to poor image quality, data is entered manually the first time. With Machine Learning, the software picks up user actions performed for inputting missing data and processes all subsequent, similar looking invoices automatically. In this way, invoice processing software performs intelligent process automation to record and process all T&E invoices. Tie this workflow to any ERP and what you have at the end of it all is a documented array of invoices, with corresponding vendor details, and the payment status for each.
Your T&E expenses will be automatically documented and processed using invoice processing software, so you know how much has been spent and how much you can still allot towards your T&E. This encourages better cash management and helps you plan your corporate networking activities for business success.