Business expenses aren't normally seen as a place to save money. In fact, it's quite the opposite. But if you look closely at the data, you might be surprised by the money-saving opportunities you find.
Examine almost any collection of data and you'll find patterns, trends, and probably a few anomalies – whether you're sifting through weather records, visitor hits on your company website, or last season's football stats. It's the same when it comes to your business expenses where careful analysis can highlight opportunities for significant savings.
Using tools that provide visibility into meaningful, actionable data is essential. Assuming you're already streamlining the way you capture and access data, what exactly can you achieve with it? Here are six ways you can save money by tapping into your company expenses data.
1. You Can Avoid Emergency Borrowing
Your spend data will inevitably reveal peaks and troughs that may relate to times of the year, particular events, and different types of business activity. Being able to plan ahead for these will save you money, such as the early booking of hotels for trade shows. Plus, smart budgeting for costly periods ahead of time will also protect your cash flow so you're not suddenly caught off balance and forced into short-term borrowing from expensive sources. Having an automated expense, travel, and invoice system will give you insight into your spending data while you still have time to make necessary budget adjustments.
2. You Can Negotiate Better Rates with Commonly Used Suppliers
Your expense data is likely to reveal you use a wide range of vendors and suppliers. Could you be getting a better deal with those you use most often? With the right data you could identify the best value in each spend category and then negotiate for a preferential rate, based on a realistic total you've spent each year. Being able to combine spend data across invoices, expenses and credit cards can give you the full picture into what’s being spent per supplier, no matter how the cash leaves your company.
3. You Can Prevent Rogue Spending
Maintaining compliance is important to controlling employee spend, and digging into expense data will help identify non-compliant individuals. Does some of the spending lack proper authorization? Are employees submitting duplicate expenses? Are there some bizarre purchases creeping in? Whether fraudulent spending is purposeful or accidental, you'll know who is responsible for wasteful spending and be able to educate policy breakers on the rules.
4. You Can Prepare Audits with Ease and Reclaim VAT Effectively
If your expense data is accurate and accessible in one place, then there's nothing to fear when tax season comes around. Everything will stand up to scrutiny. What's more, you'll be able to spot every opportunity to reclaim VAT, with total confidence in your numbers.
5. You Can Make Cost-Effective Strategic Decisions
When you analyze expenses data across months or years, big figures can jump out that might suggest an opportunity for strategic savings. Perhaps spending in some areas has risen so much that an extra part-time employee, an additional vehicle, or new equipment could prove more cost-effective. The ability to see data clearly will inform and guide some of the biggest decisions.
6. You Can Sit Back and Enjoy Efficiency Savings
Once clear and accurate business expenses data begins to flow through your system, everything becomes easier to process, manage, and check. The finance team will certainly benefit, as there are fewer knotty claims to unpick or mystery expenses to investigate. Employees will benefit thanks to easy-to-use mobile solutions that reduce the time needed to file an expense report. And, cloud-based tools enable efficiency and lessen the burden on the internal IT support team.
Get Correct Data from the Start
You can only see these benefits with the correct tools to generate accurate data. If you're currently relying on paper records and spreadsheets to manage business expenses, there will be obstacles in your way. But they can be overcome, quickly and easily with the right approach.
Looking for more ways to save? Download our guide: Six Ways to Save on Travel and Expense.