Jan 18, 2022
5 mins read

The top 5 ways to optimize business spend using your payments data

Trish Toovey - Content Director at Payhawk - The financial system of tomorrowTrish Toovey
A team shares analysis of savings shown in business spend data
Quick summary

Let's assume you're an enterprise-based CFO or finance manager. And, you currently use multiple legacy providers to make payments, manage expenses, deal with invoices, and get an overview of business spend. By now, you're probably used to being getting data from various sources.

You don't want your finance team or business leaders to lose out on any critical insights vital to their decision making. Still, you also recognize that flitting between systems is a waste of their valuable time.

There's a better way. Your team could be setting and updating policy, managing expenses and invoices, and getting full transparency over spending, all in one place.

Here are the top five things to consider when assessing if your business can make smart decisions based on up-to-date and transparent spend data.

1. Get real-time business spend data to help inform urgent decisions

Depending on your cash flow, there may be times when you need to adjust the way you spend quickly. The sudden introduction of lockdown in March 2020 is a case in point, as many businesses had to cut budgets at a minute's notice.

Expense management tools should include in-built policy settings, which let you adjust spending limits across teams, and individuals at the touch of a button.

2. Access real-time business spend data to support cost-saving initiatives

Your data should work hard for you. By getting clear visibility over your business spending, you can discover and assess opportunities for saving on costs. Maybe your global/satellite teams have started regularly staying in the same accommodation each time they visit your head office?

In the above example, because your colleagues used company cards connected to software to pay for a stay, you can see how often they've used the accommodation. Then, you can use the information to approach the hotel for a bulk discount.

Discover better decision-making with transparent spend data

3. Save time by accessing multiple data sets in one place

It should be easy to see how your business spends. You should be able to see every payment made, whether by an individual or a team. By understanding the data created by each team's spending, you can start painting a picture of your ROI. And ask questions like, is the current team spend helping your business achieve its goals?

With Payhawk, you can also label your expenses and create detailed reports in several formats by week, month, or year. These reports also integrate with your ERP and let you categorize your spend by supplier, employee, etc.

4. Customize spend controls based on your data

You can remove the pain point of approving and declining fund requests by assessing spend data and updating policies. The right software will let you see your spending and update your spend control policies (and encourage compliance), all in the same place.

If you see that your marketing team is constantly making fund requests, thanks to a strict spend policy, it might be time to rework the budget. For example, your entire business strategy may need to change. Here, you can either support your marketing team with more budget or adjust your goals to encourage them to spend less.

5. Monitor your subscriptions and assess their worth

Say goodbye to forgotten subscription payments. Your payment and expense software should include a subscription feature that lets you pay for every subscription as required. If, for example, your business uses a HR software tool for hiring, you simply can't afford to miss a payment and let this go cold for a month — imagine how many suitable applicants might slip through your fingers?

You can also get a detailed breakdown of your recurring spend by using a subscription feature. Getting clarity over your subscriptions is essential, as recurring spend is often a large chunk of cash and directly impacts your company's performance. Monitoring subscriptions also helps you predict your cash flow and lets you keep an eye on outliers. For example, if there's an increased level of spend going towards a vendor that usually charges you less.

Think there might be gaps in how your business manages payment data for sound decision making? Then you probably need to update your expense management tool. Download our data-led decisions checklist to take away the key points from this blog and assess them with your team. Or, if you're ready to take the next step, please book a free demo with us today.

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

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.

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