Companies are trying their best to stay out of trouble in times of recession. And as much as they’d like to invest on things that may help them continue running the business, they often see or regard an Expense Management System as just another impractical expense rather than a solution.
Needless to say, convincing your CFO to invest on costly tools or procedures can be a difficult task.
Yet, it is still not impossible to get them to finally consider an automated management solution – it’s all in the right approach and timing.
First thing, though, we should not rush in and bombard the CFOs with our proposals in the first place. Yes, we’d like to present a scenario for him to realize how beneficial an expense management solution can be but preparing the usual graphs won’t necessarily get his attention. Remember that their job revolves around money, so might as well speak their language. Their main concern is the organization’s financial decisions and stability, so it is important to directly mention how an automated solution can help in increasing profits all the while reducing corporate expenses and affording more time to generate sales.
1. Discuss the problems – When you aim to convince your CFO to advocate on your chosen software, you have to make him see it as a crucial solution to the organization’s financial issues rather than just another add-on. Create a comprehensive list of the issues that the company is currently facing: are there certain disputes on the impact revenue? Are there any ambiguous charges caused by inaccurate or distorted reports on travel and reimbursement? Is the lack of in-depth tracking causing the company to lose money that eventually affects the chain of supply? When you successfully address the problems, the next step is to look for possible solutions, and that is when the automated solution you’re suggesting will enter the picture.
2. Explain how it benefits the value of the business itself – Any CFO mainly focuses on the ROI, and an automated monitoring service is exactly what they need in order to come up with smarter decisions while reducing the possibility of human errors. A report that doesn’t need any revision automatically saves both your time and money.
Even employees themselves are not always fully acquainted with the corporate policies for travel and reimbursement, and mistakes usually take place under this circumstance. Traditionally, compiling of receipts and other expenditures are done manually which poses more serious risks on both sides (company and employee). Showing your CFO how an automated solution can help in assuring the organization’s compliance with the law may be an effective way to get him into trying the system.
3. Perhaps the most crucial part of it all: it helps in preventing fraud – If there is one thing that will surely give an enormous amount of stress to any CFO, it is probably the word fraud. This can happen under a couple of circumstances; first, a careless mistake done by an employee – even without the deliberate intention to swindle the organization – may be considered as fraud (human errors). This is common among companies that still use the traditional spreadsheet in recording expenses. Manual verification is proven effective, granting that there is enough number of people to do it (which makes it all the more costly). Putting inaccurate numbers and details will affect the expense report as a whole, and may be considered as non compliance to the law. Second, people with fraudulent intentions really exist, and some of them are already good in manipulating receipts and documents. This scheme will be very difficult to conduct when you are using an expense solution, especially because software does not rely on human’s estimations but rather on their precise tracking program.
4. Maintaining the business isn’t always expensive – Explaining the possible benefits in the business isn’t quite enough, you need to actually construct a realistic budget plan to show how the funds would be spent. Seek for affordable software packages (and I’m telling you, there are many – like our Pixmettle packages) that would best suit your organization’s needs. You have to show him how a certain amount of budget could mean long-term stability for the business. After all, that is what a CFO is trying to avoid – spending on promising tools that will later be proven useless. An effective solution is something that can analyze issues even before they occur; any business needs cost-effective backup measures and that is exactly what’s in store for you if you come up with the right package. Take the initiative to fill the gap between the traditional reporting and technology. You may even share a relevant case study from the same industry to show how investing on these solutions changed the way other people run their business. Try using a competitor that already uses an expense management solution as an example. Show your CFO how it’s making the ‘other’ company more efficient and productive.
5. Show them the possible ROI – Once you suggest a possible way in reducing costs, a CFO’s instinct will automatically lead him into calculating the possible return of investment. He will spontaneously create a scenario showing how much the organization will get in return for every expense incurred. If you really want to convince the CFO to take this into consideration, you have to let him see how the solution will significantly affect the business as a whole. How much do incorrect invoices cost the company? How about the receipt issues and inaccurate travel details? And what about the costs that are related to the large number of employees that handles the manual data management, when it could have been handled by a relatively smaller team? Help your CFO imagine the following scenarios and you’ll be one step closer to finally persuading him into advocating expense management solutions.
6. Considering everything mentioned earlier, it’s about time to run a demo – Now is your shot. If you have successfully found a software that you believe is worth the cost, then you should take the chance and run a quick demo to your CFO. Remember, you are conducting a demo with the busiest people in the organization, so make sure it is short but accurate. KISS. Keep it short and simple, just like sales. Present everything precisely; it should make them nod their heads in agreement once they see its value. Do not pick any software that takes a bunch of time just trying to figure out how it works; choose something that doesn’t require complex coding. Your demo should thrill the CFO about its promising benefits. And if possible, have the CFO try it for himself.
For what it’s worth, many organization from different sort of industries have opted to use expense management solutions and it has changed their lives ever since. Software that also runs on mobile makes it easier for a business traveler to handle a pile of crumpled receipts, especially because this person is feeling a little bit stressed out that he might have lost some of them already. A considerate CFO also contemplates on his people’s needs – seeing them enjoying the convenience of simply snapping images of the receipts, then sending it to the system for an accurate record and policy-compliance check make lives easier for both sides.
Ensuring that each policy on corporate expenses is being adhered can spare the organization from spending probably millions in wasteful expenditures and penalties. That is the beauty of an expense management solution – a company does not have to worry whether or not it abides by the law, because the solution will save it from the hassle of manually complying with the corporate rules.
It also simplifies other parts of the business since you can easily integrate third party tools and platforms. Activities like online booking and reservations, connecting with the affiliated travel agencies and other related tasks can be directly connected to the expense record. This would mainly benefit the back-office team as they do not have to manually export the data in order to maintain the flow of the following activities, which means the processing time speeds up, while potential errors are also eliminated. The report analysis that used to be stressful is now hassle free.
Many business owners hope that this year would be fruitful both for them and their people, despite the current financial crisis our society is facing. It’s about time we consider making our work less time-consuming and less stressful in order to acquire more positive results, more sales. If you are in the position to suggest possible solutions concerning corporate financial issues, then you should be well-equipped with the right knowledge and information – especially if you wish to convince the big bosses to invest on something new. After all, businesses will always be about taking risks, but remember that we have the ability to choose the right tools that is worth the cost. Go ahead and seek for the right expense management solution that would best suit your company’s goal and purpose. Seek professional advice as well and never hesitate to conduct surveys or initiate relevant studies just to have a solid basis on the benefits it offers. Who knows? This could be the major change your CFO is waiting for.
If you’re looking for a customized Expense Management Solution, our team here in Pixmettle would be happy to assist you. We could even join you in presenting our solution to your CFO! Call us, TODAY.