Spend Management Strategy: Everything You Need to Know

Spend management strategy is regarded as a method of accumulating, organizing, managing, classifying, and assessing spend information to decrease purchase and acquisition expenses, enhance productivity, examine and regulate workflows along with monitoring compliance.

Role of Spend Management Strategy in Modern Organizations

Spend management influences and handles numerous actions across the acquisition or purchase cycle. It comprises order processing, planning, budgeting, vendor management, contract supervision, inventory control, product growth, and sourcing. 

Businesses should carefully consider choices about what to spend, how much funds to spend, where to spend, and how to spend in any particular venture or to present particular services or to create particular products. The choice from where these funds will arrive and how much it will contribute to the ultimate profit of the organization is included in a spend management strategy. 

Under the spend management strategy, operation expenses and investments of enterprises are handled. This entire process is pretty complex and not as easy as it seems.

Every business organization in modern times, notwithstanding its nature and size, can easily adopt a spend management strategy to manage and monitor all its expenses. Doing so can help these businesses function in a more effective manner. According to a recent report, more than 61 percent of organizations use one or the other kind of spend management strategy to plan their spending. This demonstrates the importance of spend analysis or management strategy.

Steps Involved in Outlining Spend Management Strategy

An effective spend management strategy is readily used by organizations across the globe to manage and handle all their expenses in a better way. Mentioned below are some of the steps involved in outlining the spend management strategy. 

  • Finding out the source of expenses

Sources of expenses in organizations can vary across the acquisition and procurement of services and goods. In addition, they can further comprise rent, utility bills, employee salaries, permits, promotion and marketing, training expenses, insurance, and countless more. These sources of expenses additionally differ from company to company, depending on the kind of the business. 

Therefore, a spend management strategy is regarded as an exercise each company must carry out distinctively. Even though the classification of sources of expense is important, planning and recognizing a comprehensive list of expense sources is challenging. 

To help in subduing this difficulty, either choosing a spend management software at source to eliminate duplication or creating a separate team of business leaders can be the solution. A bird’s-eye insight into the spend infrastructure can further assist organizations in identifying neglected savings possibilities.

  • Gather complete expense information in a single repository

Essentially, the accounts department of every enterprise is responsible for taking care of the expense information repository. In earlier times, the accounts department used to manually manage the expense data.

However, with the advent of technology, numerous organizations in the existing times moved towards the automation of spend management strategy by using separate software. With the aid of this automation, the accounts team can collect and maintain documents of spends.

Since the data of the company’s spending and expenses is a confidential one that cannot be accessed by any outsider, it is important to always employ an accountable person that knows how to keep this data secured and can further classify and keep all the expenses related information in a single repository. 

The main reason behind keeping all the data in a single repository is because then the information can become more manageable, and it would be easy to find out any previous details. 

  •  Authenticate and remove duplicate information

The expense information in an organization is always examined, evaluated, and showcased to extract conclusions and make determinations. Hence, it becomes extremely important to ensure that such data is valid and accurate. 

Verifying transaction records comprise matching the data records with vouchers, vendor communication, inventory, and numerous more. Wiping the information, on the other hand, comprises exercises such as eliminating duplicates, typos, grammar mistakes, etc. 

As it is known that spend or expense data can not always be correct because of its hand-operated processing, data ranges, variations in formats, and many more, uniformity in this strategy has become a need of the hour. Therefore, to accomplish this, organizations must establish a specific format for varied areas such as dates, currency, etc. 

  • Categorize the spend data

Spend data includes numerous kinds of spending activities. These spend categories are formulated depending on the company’s goals and actions. It is important to retain in mind that the groups developed by the experts for this classification must always incorporate all spending activities to lead them under one picture. 

Based on the data that a person demands, organizations can classify data in numerous ways. Hence, it becomes important for an enterprise to prioritize its requirements, which needs the knowledge of spend per merchant or spend per project.

  • Examine spending expenses

Examining the accumulated, processed, and detailed spending data will manifest recurring expense activities and other irregularities. This will further assist in estimating sums, percentages, averages, and numerous more. In addition, the accumulated spend data can further assist organizations in forecasting results. 

With an effective spend management strategy, achieving specific and consistent information is safe and efficient. It allows you to track and recognize the latest trends in spending data to anticipate spend situations and prepare for all the coming situations.

Benefits of Employing a Spend Management Strategy 

Over the past few years, spend management has grown into a more extensive method that covers all the activities that add to a company’s expenses. Mentioned below are some of the important benefits of adopting a spend management strategy. 

  • Enhanced profitability and savings in an organization

The principal purpose of adopting a spend management strategy is to recognize and optimize savings possibilities and eventually enhance the productivity of an organization. 

For instance, the method of spend management always holds the potential to cast some light on expenses that are made across the industry. This can further assist in identifying duplicate acquisitions or purchases and negotiate payments on bulk orders for the company that can point towards immediate savings.

  • Enhanced compliance

After a spend management strategy is executed in an organization, it simplifies the process to track, organize, and record expenses. This tracking, organizing, and documentation of expenses further assist an organization in increasing its spending visibility.

This, in turn, can additionally aid in complying with significant administrative obligations. As most suitable spend management strategies demand organizations to hold detailed reports of spending information across verticals, it becomes more manageable to inspect and comply with various governing bodies.

  • Decreased processing cycle time

A spend management strategy can further assist in securing optimal choices such as contract terms negotiation, preferred suppliers, and numerous more that additionally decrease the processing cycle. This processing cycle duration diversifies for each activity in various organizations. 

Spend management strategies can also aid in regularizing continuing actions such as vendor selection or contract terms by placing ground rules and down metrics for the same. This, in turn, assists in cutting down choices to make faster determinations. 

  • Distinguish more useful sourcing possibilities

Spend management strategy supports in organizing expenses on products, including all external expenses, ensuring more economical and high-quality sourcing possibilities. For instance, if an organization sources raw supplies from China or any other country at a lower price, it may turn out to be more costly due to transportation costs when compared to sourcing from regional suppliers.

  • Distinguish unusual spending analysis

Spend analysis and review further assists in mapping the expenses on the chart and support in classifying and fixing unusual spending. With the capacity to manage and classify data in supported formats, spend management analysis assists in detecting outliers and irregularities in spending patterns along with minimizing unapproved expenses. 

  • Exclude duplication of payments 

A meticulous audit through expenses might show duplication of payments for a particular invoice. A classic example of this meticulous audit to avoid duplication can be the data that are slipping through the cracks. Apart from this, a spend management strategy can further assist in keeping payments in check.

  • Avoid delayed payments 

Spend management strategy aids in planning and recognizing data patterns to prevent delayed payment fines. Avoiding delayed fees can further assist in securing healthier relations with the vendors and eventually benefits in receiving credit advantages pointing to gains and profitability.

  • Controlling risk

Spend management strategy controls business transactions and activities to hold track of a supplier’s economic performance, and trustworthiness as numerous business activities are entirely reliant on vendors, this evaluation aids in identifying risks at an early stage, which facilitates the acquisition and purchase team to make alternate arrangements.

  • Update and automate internal network

Last but not least, a spend management strategy supports in taking powerful and effective expense choices, enhancing all in-house networks. By identifying the potential advantages of a spend management strategy, companies can automate their acquisition and purchase processes and bring some clarity to their spending environment.

Important Steps To Follow While Creating an Effective Spend Management Strategy 

  • Requisitioning 

This is the most important step that you must keep in mind while creating a spend management strategy as it involves recognizing what products in an organization are falling short and needs to be stocked up again in the inventory. This process of requisition further involves placing purchase orders to specific suppliers after identifying the estimated costs. 

  • Approval

Once the process of requisitioning is done and the purchasing team receives an estimated cost, they move to their upper management for the approvals. The upper management then reviews all the quotations obtained from distinct vendors and then approves the most economical quote.  

  • Goods or services delivery

The raw supplies that are ordered by the organization will be delivered within the expected timeline, and then the team responsible for quality control will inspect the materials to assure that they are up to the set standards or not and then generate a purchase invoice. 

  • Final invoicing

Once the goods and services are thoroughly inspected by the quality control team and the purchase order is made, the company will release the final payment to the vendor after receiving all the ordered goods and services and hand over the final invoice. 

How to Automate Your Spend Management? 

Due to the advent of high-level technologies, numerous business organizations in modern times are moving towards automating their spend management or spend management strategy. According to the latest survey conducted, more than 65 percent of business owners feel that utilizing the latest tools and technologies to automate their spend management has assisted them in becoming more organized. 

It further assisted in saving a lot of time that would otherwise get consumed in manual spend management. Hence, it might not be wrong to state that automation is the new normal while adopting a spend management strategy for your organization. Listed below are some of the ways how you can automate your spend management strategy or process. 

  • Automate your spend expenses records

Spend management requires plenty of repetitive data entry that holds no place for errors, and this can be a great challenge for the management to perform this data entry manually. However, you can solve all these difficulties efficiently by presenting your employees with an automated spend management tool that allows them to register their expenses and spend data digitally. 

There are a plethora of such automated cloud-based solutions in the market in present times that can be readily accessed on a mobile phone or the web. By choosing these automated cloud-based solutions, you can take the initial step to smart spend management. 

By investing in high-grade spend management online software, you can hold a comprehensive list and inventory of expenses along with their connected invoices or receipts. Since the data stored is automated, there is no requirement for bookkeepers or investment managers to track and confirm the expenditures manually as these automated tools are outfitted with double-checking capacities. 

A great spend management software will further assist you in saving a lot of time and expedites the complete finance workflow by allowing you to focus on creating a spend management strategy rather than performing data entry.

  • Distribute spending plans across the enterprise

If you cannot keep a close watch all the time on the things that the employees of the company are spending on or procuring, it would get difficult for you to maintain peace of mind, and your accountants will further spend an excessive amount of time verifying each expense. This can further lead to delays in the rest of the workflow. 

Hence, to prevent this, every organization needs to automate its spend management that can assist in enforcing automated spending procedures. Employing spend management software can additionally assist you in this by allowing you to configure the commands during its setup. This enables you to ensure that every spending expense recorded in the system suffices your organization’s spend management strategy.

  • Categorize your spending expenses

Holding a record of your spending expenses ought not to be difficult. Once you automate your spend management, you just have to categorize or classify all your organization’s spending expenses to make sure that you hold a comprehensive grip of the things on which your organization is spending its funds. 

Apart from this, by assigning categories or classifications, you can expedite the acquisition or purchase of important things for business projects and approve other supplies for a later time, depending on the level of its urgency. As such, you can guarantee that tasks progress as anticipated and your team always meets the set deadlines.

  • Create reports to optimize spending expenses

Categorizing and classifying spending expenses is not only one of the most suitable ways to assist your organization in automating spending expense control, but it additionally aids in spend optimization. You can accomplish this by performing spend analysis and evaluation utilizing the reporting instruments integrated into your chosen cloud-based spend management software. 

Hence, it becomes imperative for enterprises to pick the right automated spend management solutions for their workflows. When you create reports, you obtain a complete summary of expenses that can assist you in making up an accurate strategy. 

You can further recognize which classes or units generate the highest cash outflow along with determining whether this expense is of utmost significance or not. From there, you can reorder the priority of spending expenses and transform practices to build a better moving spend management workflow.

  • Equate purchase and spend management tools

Procurement or purchase is always an exhausting responsibility that needs accurate and meticulous budgeting. Therefore, the next and the ultimate step to automate your spend management strategy is to ensure that there is no discrepancy amongst the acquisition and finance divisions. 

This discrepancy usually arises when the finance department does not hold complete clarity into all the purchasing and acquisition policies and systems, inventory, and supply requirements of every unit or individual within the company. 

Hence to avoid this friction, you can render the finance team with a proper insight of purchases by integrating your acquisition and spend management software. Apart from limiting disparities and conveying clarity to the process, this integration of procurement and spend management can further automate the permission of applications so that workers’ demands are sufficed quickly.

Major Challenges Faced While Adopting Automated Spend Management Strategy 

While many organizations are moving towards the adoption of automated spend management with the help of cloud-based software, there are certain challenges that they might face during this adoption. Mentioned below are some of the major challenges that are faced by organizations and what they can do to overcome them. 

  • Lack of information accuracy

Spending expense data recorded manually can be filled with discrepancies, typos, grammatical mistakes, and many more. The main reason for this discrepancy is because the information that is entered sets with diverse currencies across distinct stages with changing market rates that point to difficulties and sporadic entries. 

In addition, lack of data accuracy or precision drives towards misguided choice-making, which eventually points to more unusual expenses. However, this challenge can be easily overcome by collecting and classifying spend management along with following uniform templates across every department. 

Apart from this, you must always perform a meticulous check on the automated spend management system for discrepancies that can assist in maintaining data accuracy. 

  • Lack of resources

Purchase and acquisition teams in companies often hold a lot of tasks at hand, such as daily purchases, vendor management, acquisition and purchase order processing, and various more. Spend management, on the contrary, needs committed attempts to recognize, organize, examine, and administer spend information savings events frequently. 

Acquisition or purchase teams, because of lack of time and means, are in constant need of support. With the help of automated compilation and review of spend data, purchase teams can significantly save on their time and resources. It further assists in placing efficient spend management processes in the right spot that eases up in realizing saving opportunities.

  • Loopholes in work culture

There is a typical phenomenon across purchase departments where the purchase managers usually become oblivious of their activities due to a lack of interaction between the teams. This is yet another challenge of adopting an automated spending management strategy.

Likewise, information collected by each of these units is stored with diverse intentions in mind and diverse formats that lead to discrepancies, and it further creates organizational loopholes. The integration of a spend management solution with crucial tools such as the accounting software, ERP, mail servers, and other software used to manage spending expenses can help overcome this challenge.

Strategic spend management requires meticulous outlining of your enterprise expenses that comprise employees’ wages, operational expenses, and claim settlements. However, automated spend management software can fix numerous restrictions that procurement supervisors grapple with, including enhanced purchasing effectiveness, cost minimization, and acquiring rate without jeopardizing non-compliance.

Looking to Reduce Your Annual Spend?

Procurement Partners helps customers reduce their annual spend by 10% or more with an easy-to-use portal where users can place orders and process invoices for all vendors. Procurement Partners is the leading spend management system for Post-Acute Care and Senior living and has helped companies achieve 40% time savings and 95% contract compliance through automating the procure-to-pay process.