Although most Australian businesses understand the importance of monitoring and managing employee expenses and supplier invoices, they have not yet appreciated the value of automated systems, according to the 2015 Concur ANZ spend management index.

Matt Goss, general manager, Concur, said, “There is widespread awareness that having travel and expense (T&E) management policies in place can help businesses manage their costs more effectively. The next step for these businesses is to implement systems that help reduce errors, improve productivity, and increase cost efficiencies.”

The 2015 Concur ANZ spend management index provides a snapshot of how Australian companies manage business expenses and supplier invoicing. It canvassed 104 senior finance and management decision-makers from a variety of industries including financial services, retail, food, transport, insurance, utilities, resources, entertainment and other professional services.

Matt Goss said, “The index revealed that 27 per cent of respondents still use paper-based expense management. Using a disconnected and manual system means businesses are missing out on opportunities to address compliance issues and save money.

 “Encouragingly, 58 per cent of businesses surveyed analyse the data from their expense management systems. These companies are likely to come out on top when it comes to managing costs more effectively, minimising overspend, and detecting and preventing fraudulent spending.”

Key results of The 2015 Concur ANZ spend management index included:

·        27 per cent of respondents still use paper-based processes. In 23 per cent of businesses, 11 per cent use spreadsheets, and just 15 per cent use a cloud-based expense solution.

·        Encouragingly, more than half the businesses surveyed (58 per cent) said they analyse the data from their expense management systems.

·        40 per cent of respondents said the expense system is integrated with accounts payable. Only six per cent of companies say the system is integrated across business departments. Having an integrated system provides businesses better visibility into what money goes in and out of the business.

·        More than a quarter (26 per cent) rated better and easier reporting as an important benefit of having a cloud-based expense management solution and another quarter said better visibility into corporate spending was important. A quarter (25 per cent) of businesses said the most important benefit was less chance of fraud and better compliance, followed by cost efficiencies and savings for 24 per cent of respondents.

·        More than half (57 per cent) of businesses surveyed said they processed invoices via a cloud-based automated account payable solution. 11 per cent of businesses use finance or accounting software, and nine per cent use manual systems. A further nine per cent still use a paper-based system while three per cent have a custom in-house solution.

·        Reduced paperwork came out on top of the list of things businesses would like to change about their accounts payable process, with 39 per cent of respondents selecting it. Increased productivity was next at 29 per cent.

Matt Goss said, “Implementing an automated solution yields multiple benefits for businesses when it comes to the T&E policy. For example, it removes the need to micromanage employee spending, giving business travellers freedom to choose within certain budget limits.

“Importantly, automating the employee expenses and accounts payable process, rather than using a manual or paper-based system, lets businesses collect and analyse spending data. They can then identify spending patterns to see where they can cut costs, where employees are behaving responsibly, and where fraud or theft may be occurring.”

 About Concur 

Concur, a part of SAP, is the leading provider of spend management solutions and services in the world, helping companies of all sizes transform the way they manage spend so they can focus on what matters most. Through Concur’s open platform, the entire travel and expense ecosystem of customers, suppliers, and developers can access and extend Concur’s T&E cloud. Concur’s systems adapt to individual employee preferences and scale to meet the needs of companies from small to large.