It’s the last day of the month and you’re working to close your client’s books so you can provide them with an updated budget and financial forecast. But instead of working on a cash-flow analysis, you’ve spent the last few hours emailing with your client to track down missing employee expense reports and reconcile transactions across five different company and staff credit cards. You’ve also poured over pages of bank statements in an attempt to understand which bills, if any, were paid via wire.
Sound familiar? This has been the way of expense management for decades - firms (and their clients) didn’t have another option. For years, this manual, disjointed and inefficient process has been causing major headaches, not to mention has provided accountants with little visibility or control over company spend.
The good news is that technology has forged a new path forward for expense management. What if we told you there was a way to avoid tracking down late expense reports, miscategorized expenses, and waiting up to 45 days to see how your clients spend their money? Modern spend management could be the answer.
What is spend management exactly?
“Spend management” is the ability to track company expenses in real-time, control spend, and see cash flow in one central location. Instead of looking post-transaction and reviewing a reimbursement flow, organizations get more control and can be proactive in allocating how money is spent.
Offering spend management services to your clients might seem intimidating, but it’s actually quite simple to get started. Read on to see how impactful offering spend management services can be for both you and your clients—and get some simple tips to get started.
Spend management technology - what is it?
Spend management technology encompasses an integrated platform and corporate cards. The cards are issued to your client and connected to pre-set budgets and spend caps. Employee card transactions trigger real-time alerts to submit receipts, and expenses are automatically categorized and synced daily to the client’s accounting platform. You and your client get a web-based dashboard in which to track spend against budget at the department, project, or organization level.
Four benefits of modern spend management for your clients
Bringing expense management into a proactive state is transformative for organizations. It’s a complete shift of mindset: Instead of backtracking on expenses, clients are viewing spend in real-time and even forecasting future spend. Moving into this proactive state not only gives organizations control over spending, it saves them a great deal of time and busy work. There are many benefits of being proactive with expense management. Here are four of the biggest:
- More Control of Spend - Setting detailed spend controls with pre-defined budgets will reduce non-compliant spending in your client’s organization. They’ll stay on budget by tracking expenses and monitoring employee card use against predefined policies.
- Significant Time and Cost Savings - Automating receipt matching, expense categorization and reporting prevents time wasted on chasing down receipts, submitting and correcting expense reports long after the fact.
- Improved Security - The modern spend management approach dictates that employees are issued centrally-managed corporate cards, eliminating the need for a shared company card or personal card reimbursement. Virtual cards can be created for online, recurring expenses, cutting down on fraud.
- Streamlined & User Friendly Experiences - With modern spend management software, organizations are not bogged down in manual processes. They get real-time visibility into all spending in a centralized dashboard and transactions sync daily to their accounting platforms.
Spend management is a win-win for your clients and you
As trusted advisors to your clients, they’re depending on you to provide quick, actionable insights that will make a positive impact on their business. Onboarding clients to spend management software will give you real-time visibility into the organization’s spending, allowing you to take a more strategic budgeting approach to meet your clients' goals (see how Steve Chaney’s firm did it).
Not only will your client’s experience get better, your staff will be (much) happier and you can bring on more clients at scale to increase your profitability.
Ready to get started?
CPA.com partnered with BILL to launch the Accountant Partner Program to bring modern spend management technology to firms who are looking to meet their clients’ needs for proactive advice and insights around their company’s spend.
Learn how BILL Spend & Expense (formerly Divvy) provides you and your clients with an all-in-one corporate card and expense management solution that’s 100% free to use. You’ll spend less time chasing receipts and more time focusing on your firm’s strategic goals, like building efficient workflows, deepening your relationships with clients and growing your service offerings. Watch our on-demand demo.