Expense Analytics and Reporting
Expense report software solutions can create huge volumes of data on employees' business travel spend. How can organizations use this to make smarter decisions?
If your CFO or controller asked you to provide the organization’s total travel spend over the past year, how would you get that data? The obvious (and traditional) answer is to ask for reports from your travel agency, breaking down hotel, flight and rental car costs. That should give you a pretty accurate figure, right? Well – not really.
Gartner has just released its 2017 Market Guide for Travel Expense Management (TEM) Software. The guide is essential reading for any organization that’s thinking of investing in an expense management solution in the coming year, or is considering upgrading its existing solution.
Even though we seem to have only recently recovered from the last recession, it looks as though another downturn could be lurking on the horizon. As a result, savvy CFOs and their FP&A teams are keeping a closer-than-usual eye on corporate and personal expenses, in order to conserve funds.
As organizations continue to implement technology designed to streamline their Purchase-to-Pay (P2P) processes, a number of trends and concerns keep surfacing. Both were discussed in a recent webinar hosted by PayStream’s Henry Ijams and featuring Greg Horton of OpenText.
Whether you’re a CFO or CEO, IT is likely a foundation of your business. And whether it’s for order management or expense management infrastructure or software, you’ll need a continued focus on IT in 2015. Here are 3 certainties in the IT landscape that you will need to address with your IT department.
With the convergence of Big Data, the Internet of Things and the quest for analytics from different departments, CIOs are being forced into the additional role of coordinating the various data experiments occurring at any given time in an organization.
Predictive analytics, or the sifting through of company data in order to highlight important patterns to make predictions and better decisions, is currently a hot topic in the business world. Advocates believe this approach holds great potential especially with a recent report from Nucleus Research suggesting that predictive analytics helped Mueller Inc.obtain a 248 percent ROI on new packaging equipment after investing in and using IBM's SPSS Modeler technology.
Carrying out an impeccable job as CFO is crucial to the well-being of your company. As CFO, your main duties include managing risk and analyzing your company’s finances. Your analyses and recommendations guide the company, and inappropriate suggestions based on analysis of inaccurate or delayed data can be disastrous for your company, and could lead to taking on undue risk or making poor budgeting decisions. Timely and correct data are essential for your job, but you may need to take some steps to ensure that you get the data you need whether you are analyzing the numbers from within your division or from a different or remote department or partner company.
Is visualization the key to proper use of big data? Bar charts, treemaps, scatter plots – these are all visualization tools that put data into perspective, but do they drive the point home for those looking to extract meaningful information? The answer is to create a multidimensional view of the data that is more intuitive. This approach is Interactive Visualization.
Traditionally, CFOs and their finance teams stayed narrowly in the arena of management. They strategically employed data-driven analytics to manage the business from the upper levels. As the ability to collect and analyze data has exponentially expanded, CFOs are increasingly in a position to aid their organizations in improving profitability and efficiency and more granular levels.
Analytics platforms are essential tools in today’s organizations. Business leaders rely on them to facilitate fast, effective decision-making, while operations managers use such tools to deliver smooth execution of day-to-day processes. But it’s a mistake to think of analytics software as some kind of magic bullet.
For the last five years, IBM has issued reports on the changing roles of analytics and “big data” in business. In its latest report, “Analytics: A Blueprint for Value,” IBM surveyed 1,000 executives in IT and business from 70 countries. According to online industry magazine CMSWire.com, this latest research shows that while “big data” and analytics can drive new revenue and customers, most organizations are dragging their feet.
The hype surrounding “big data” can give the impression that good analytics software is all an organization needs to improve the quality and speed of its decision-making. Yet, even when organizations rely on data in creating or implementing business strategies, the important decisions are still often made by people.
To generate better business decisions, you need more and better data, right? Not necessarily. According to SmartData Collective, a successful analytics program requires much more than “big data” — it also requires communication, shared priorities and a decision-making culture within the organization.
The CFO’s role is dramatically changing at many organizations, with duties going beyond the traditional tasks of overseeing the finance, accounts payable management, treasury and risk management functions. As organizations call upon CFOs to play larger roles in business strategy and organizational leadership, analytics tools will be vital for connecting strategy to finance and accounting, according to an article on CFO.com.
Consider the business books of yesteryear: Many of the titles will make you wince — if you remember them at all. In general, management gurus’ trendy concepts and buzzwords don’t age well, according to EPM Channel, a website focused on enterprise performance management news and insights. Even in accounts payable management, fads come and go. As more organizations jump on the “big data” bandwagon, are analytics initiatives just another example of management hype?
Facts alone are seldom persuasive enough to drive changes in an organization, much to the frustration of those with superior technical know-how but limited political clout. At most organizations, having the ear and support of influential executives is also vital to implementing a new process or tool, like an automated expense report program.
The CFO’s role is evolving in many industries, but nowhere as radically as in industries that use cloud computing and related technologies. Instead of a narrow focus on financial duties, CFOs are using their proficiency with data analytics to provide leadership in driving sales and guiding business strategy, an article on CFO.com reports.
It’s one thing to have disorganized personal emails or vacation photos. For organizations, however, unstructured data presents a significant — and growing — problem. Using automated expense management software like Chrome River EXPENSE helps centralize expense data, and it can yield cost savings, greater transparency and valuable data assets.
In the past, IT departments tended to assume that businesspeople didn’t want to deal with data, but a recent article on Forbes.com reports that assumption has been upended. In today’s “big data” environment, business and finance professionals want to have better access to enterprise data, along with the tools to analyze it, create business expense reports, and put key findings into practice.
When it comes to real-time insights and comprehensive analyses, knowledge is power. But stockpiling data is one thing; it’s quite another to turn business expense reports and other information into valuable insights.
At many organizations today, CFOs strive to provide more frequent and accurate financial forecasts, while juggling increasingly complex economic and regulatory environments. An article on CFO.com explains that “big data” can help organizations manage complexity and drive growth by identifying strategic opportunities, improving operational efficiency, and ensuring compliance.
When you see someone making poor decisions—risky investments, unrealistic scheduling, foolish health choices—it’s tempting to assume they do not have all the facts. In the “big data” era, however, the facts alone aren’t enough to guarantee dispassionate, fully informed decision-making.
If your organization is like most, you already have “big data” — a seemingly bottomless pit of documents, spreadsheets, emails, web-traffic reports, social media interactions and more. When left unorganized, it’s not terribly valuable to you or to anyone else in your business. The key to creating valuable, actionable information lies in how you integrate, analyze and interpret that data.
Efficient marketing! Cost-effective client acquisition! “Big data” seems to promise improvements on every level. But while many organizations already amass copious amounts of data, it remains isolated in operational silos and disparate formats. The keys to uncovering opportunities and creative solutions within your company’s data are increasing transparency and making it easy for users to generate custom business expense reports.
As the economy continues to recover, many companies are now planning to hire additional employees and increase capital investments, according to an article on the CFO Magazine website. When a company has new initiatives on the horizon, it’s more important than ever for managers to track and monitor their employees’ business expense reports.
Whether in business, sports or warfare, we tend to admire leaders who make good decisions seemingly based on intuition and instincts. In today’s complex business world, however, gaining a competitive edge also requires calculated evaluation. Expense management analytics provide powerful tools that can help leaders make better decisions — decisions that combine quantitative and intuitive insights.
We’ve all heard the cliché “numbers don’t lie.” But numbers alone also tell few truths (unless you’re a mathematician). To make good decisions based on data, managers and executives need more than numbers. Analytics and accounting reporting software can help you create meaningful, actionable reports from raw data.
To reveal hidden trends and opportunities, companies can use analytics software to sift enormous amounts of data, looking for an edge. As businesses seek to benefit from “big data,” managers increasingly rely on analytics-based reports to guide their decision-making, according to a post on the Big Fat Finance Blog. A great way for your company to benefit from big-data analytics is by using expense management software.
- How Automating Invoice Processing can be a Shot in the Arm for Hospital Finance Teams
- Why your Expense Policy Should Follow your Business Travelers (Not Just the Other Way Around)
- Why is Mobility the Foundation of Effective Expense Management in Construction?
- The Cost-Control Benefits of Analytics in Expense Management
- 7 Reasons Why the Finance Team Should Push for Expense Management Software
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Wow! This Chrome River is great. Word has spread [in our firm] and people that were not invited to be in the pilot group rollout have asked to be included!