May 22, 2024
4 minutes

Change management: How to introduce spend management software

CFO introducing the new spend management software to their colleagues
Quick summary

No matter how much rational sense it makes to adopt a new spend management platform, it can still fail if your organisation doesn't consider the employees who will be using it. For both rational and irrational reasons, they could push back hard enough to derail the entire initiative. Understanding where the resistance is coming from and communicating clearly with the affected individuals goes a long way towards ensuring a successful transition.

Table of Contents

    Almost every failed project starts as an excellent idea in the modern workplace. But somehow, somewhere between the concept and the execution, it runs off the rails. That's true whether you're making considerable changes to your organisational structure and goals or just tweaking something as specific as cash flow management strategies.

    So, it's unsurprising to learn that upgrading your business spend management software can meet all kinds of obstacles. In a perfect world, it would be as easy as selecting a week that doesn't conflict with a monthly close or a significant audit, providing the necessary training to the end users, and throwing the proverbial switch. But it takes work, doesn’t it?

    That's because no matter how simple the developers make the software, humans remain undeniably complex.

    How State of Play Hospitality (Bounce & Flight Club) streamline AP

    Identifying the barriers to change management in finance

    "People are people — carbon and water. As such, we resist change," says David A. Shore of Harvard Business School. "It's important to recognise that managing change is about upsetting people only at a rate they can tolerate."

    Regarding what motivates human beings, logic is pretty low on the list. It's said, "There are no reasons, only rationalisations." Whatever you want to call them, though, change management guru Rick Maurer identifies three levels of resistance to change:

    1. "I don't get it."
    2. "I don't like it."
    3. "I don't like you."

    These are all solvable — indeed, avoidable — problems, but each requires a different approach.

    Involving users from spend management strategy through spend management process

    Now, we’re going to focus on the change management dimension of implementing new spend management software (not user acceptance testing). So, let’s break this down by Maurer’s levels.

    Change management challenge 1: “I don’t get it”

    It all starts with convincing people something must be done. Explain the pain points (if it's spend management, they're probably all too familiar) and why adopting a new solution is the best course of action.

    Sharing a clear business case, an example training plan and a clear implementation timetable can go a long way toward overcoming any objections. But don't forget to also explain it in ways that people can empathise with.

    Take Carolina Einarsson, Finance Director at the US and UK-based Essentia Analytics' review of implementing Payhawk, for example:

    We chose Payhawk over Spendesk because we preferred the solution's flexibility. We can set up the correct workflows and choose which parts to delegate to employees vs. the finance team. Payhawk has clearly built a platform for finance leaders, and their team has been supportive from the get-go.

    Plus, choose a solution (like Payhawk) that supports you with implementation at every step with things like the following, which make it impossible "not to get":

    • Training
    • Implementation guides
    • 24/7 support
    • Help centre articles
    • Dedicated implementation managers
    • And more

    Change management challenge 2: "I don't like it"

    At this point, we must address one of life's major primal problems: "What's in it for me?"

    To avoid triggering this conflict, keep end users involved in the process and get them to identify issues and potential solutions upfront.

    "Involve people who are concerned by your change initiative from the very beginning," CQ Net advises. "Make sure their opinions are heard, and your decision-making process is transparent and fair. Identify key people that support your change efforts and ask them whether they want to actively support your initiative as change agents."

    And be prepared to be pleasantly surprised. If you have chosen the right product, then the change management won't be nearly as challenging as you fear. Take German automotive giant ATU and its experience in digital transformation and switching to Payhawk.

    Sebastian Jarankowski CFO at ATU shares:

    ATU operates a chain of auto retail stores and workshops, and our branch managers are not necessarily the most familiar with financial tools. When we first introduced Payhawk, we were worried about how our colleagues would cope with the new digital means of payment, receipt uploads, and the portal — and wondered if adopting the product would mean a lot of training. But when we collected the cards at the end of the first test phase, we got the best feedback: "Why are you taking our cards away? We don't want to give them back!

    Change management challenge 3: "I don't like you"

    For those naysayers at Level 3, it's not really about not liking someone; it's more about not fully trusting the person proposing the new solution (or their leadership). People may resist because they've seen similar projects fail due to management errors or lack of commitment. If they think the proposed project isn't going to go the distance, they won't put in the effort needed to make it work.

    Here, it's important to share data on your expectations for the new solution long-term to help your business (and its employees). For example:

    With Payhawk, customers can expect to get:

    *According to G2 data, it's ten months with us vs. 13.8 months for other competitors.

    Making change management a reality

    As mentioned above, picking the right spend management solution for your organisation will help tackle any potential change management issues. So, do your homework and make sure you choose a platform that your employees will love.

    Charlotte Huynh, Head of People at US and UK-based hospitality business, State of Play (Bounce, Flight Club, and HiJingo) says:

    When I have to submit expenses, it’s very easy to do as you can download an invoice from email straight onto Payhawk. It literally takes a couple of seconds. I love Payhawk because I find it very efficient, easy- to use, and secure!”

    Book a personalised Payhawk demo today to see how easy (and valuable) the change could be for your business.

    Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrow
    Trish Toovey
    Senior Content Manager
    LinkedIn

    Trish Toovey works across the UK and US markets to craft content at Payhawk. Covering anything from ad copy to video scripting, Trish leans on a super varied background in copy and content creation for the finance, fashion, and travel industries.

    See all articles by Trish →
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