New Center Report Explores COVID-19 Impact on Expense Management
BELLEVUE, Wash., Sept. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Center, a technology company helping businesses optimize spend, today released its 2020 Expense Management Report, Adapting to New Realities, an examination of the current state of expense management informed by a survey of more than 200 U.S.-based finance professionals. Center's second annual edition of this report sheds light on how finance teams plan to approach expense management and drive key priorities forward over the next six months amid the ongoing implications and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Notably, 91 percent of respondents plan to invest in at least one technology initiative in the coming year, in direct response to the financial and workforce issues caused by COVID-19.
Economic Downturn Highlights Need for Better Cost-Controls
"Last year, we found that 87 percent of finance teams use some type of software to manage expenses. But the amount of effort they put into the overall expense management process rarely allows enough time to focus on important strategic work," said Naveen Singh, CEO and cofounder, Center. "The unprecedented events of this year, however, have reinforced the enormous need for businesses across the country to finally invest in better visibility, better cost controls, and automation, as many cite their current processes as "chaotic." From upgrading legacy software and investing in digitizing manual processes, to leveraging accurate, real-time financial data, business leaders need the resources, now more than ever, to make more informed business decisions."
Finance Teams Still Spend Majority of Time on Manual Tasks
Within these buckets, the top five activities for finance teams in 2020 are analyzing spend, aggregating data for reporting, tracking down receipts and expense reports, auditing expense reports and working with lines of business to optimize spend. "Tracking down receipts and expense reports" was the top-ranked activity for 46 percent of respondents in 2019. This year, that number dropped by half to 23 percent, while analyzing spend moved to the top position, reflecting finance teams' efforts to implement better processes that allow for real-time reporting, analyzing and decision-making.
The top two tasks finance professionals hope to dedicate more time to in the coming months include process improvements (26 percent) and strategy and planning (23 percent).
Spreadsheets Still Reign Supreme Among Current Expense Management Processes
The Future of Expense Management in a COVID-19 World
Despite seemingly acclimating to many of the challenges presented by COVID-19, finance teams are focused on identifying more efficient ways to work. On this front, 84 percent have more than one initiative planned or underway. The most popular initiatives include:
Center offers a complete corporate card and real-time expense management solution automates the entire spend cycle from planning through purchase, processing, and posting to the general ledger. Together, its Center® Corporate Credit Card powered by Mastercard® and Center Expense, its Real-Time Expensing, Audit and Insights software, help finance teams gain real-time visibility into expenses, reduce time to monthly close, and surface data-driven insights.
To learn more about how finance teams can implement better expense management processes in the current economic environment and beyond, download Center's full 2020 Expense Management Report, Adapting to New Realities.
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