Let’s face it: Maintaining any company is hard work, but the process is particularly difficult for startups and small businesses. Survival and growth depend on efficiency.

One obstacle on the path to efficiency can be legacy spend management solutions, which lack the agility that businesses need in today’s fast-moving climate. And one of the biggest challenges with those solutions is manual processes, which can cost companies significant amounts of time and money.

What’s the secret to helping your small business streamline financial operations? Two guides from TripActions can offer some insight: The Spend Management Tools Startups Need for 2022 and 5 Steps to Kill the Expense Report.

The Inefficiency of Legacy Solutions
In a recent survey conducted by TripActions, the financial leaders who responded called out the following as the biggest categories of spend for their small businesses:

  • Controlling budgets and ongoing expenses
  • Reducing process inefficiencies and time to close the books
  • Improving visibility of spend across the company

Travel and entertainment ranked as only the sixth-largest category of spend. But when it came to naming the most challenging category of spend, T&E was the winner—by a wide margin. The problem is laid out in the Spend Management Tools guide:

“Over half of the survey respondents said they do not have a dedicated T&E expense management solution. Instead, they’ve cobbled together a financial tech stack, and many of those tools haven’t kept up with changing spending behaviors. The workarounds require manual labor. And they cause the headaches that small business financial leaders say they’re experiencing.”

Changing Problems to Benefits
It may be hard to believe that slow, time-consuming manual processes still exist in the digital era. But when it comes to spend management, many companies still operate in silos, with manual workflows.

Why? Automation is not only faster, it’s more efficient, delivering better control over spend. The Spend Management Tools guide explains how automation benefits teams across the company:

  • Employees no longer need to save receipts and submit expense reports, allowing reimbursements to happen much faster.
  • Managers only need to review flagged expenses, thanks to custom, proactive spend policies that approve in-policy expenses.
  • Accounting teams can vastly cut the time spent on manual month-end closing and use the time for more strategic work.
  • Finance leaders gain real-time visibility into all company spend.

Eliminating the Expense Report
Once an automated spend management solution is in place, efficiencies follow. And one of the biggest efficiencies comes from the disappearance of the manual expense report. After all, maintaining an analog process can quickly drain time and money, as the Kill the Expense Report guide details:

  • Employees are burdened with saving receipts and manually filling out forms.
  • Poor accuracy requires more than occasional rework.
  • The risk of fraud is much higher.
  • Lack of visibility into spend leaves finance teams operating blindly until month’s end.

The Benefits Continue
Eliminating the expense report is just one of the perks that companies can realize with a modern spend management solution, which transforms all the traditional practices of this process.

As outlined in the Kill the Expense Report guide, modern solutions also enable companies to:

  • Implement proactive spend controls. In-policy expenses will be automatically approved, and any policy violations will be prevented before they even occur.
  • Issue smart corporate cards. Physical and virtual cards offer easy ways to spend within policy—and without having to front personal funds for work expenses.
  • Automate reconciliation. By losing the manual process of matching receipts with expenses, finance teams won’t have to track down employees for questions. This can cut the time required for reconciliation by up to 95% and put time back on the calendar for busy financial leaders.

Effective Automation = Staying Competitive
Change can be hard, but holding onto your legacy travel and expense spend management solution will make maintaining and growing your small business even harder.

It’s time to streamline your financial operations, by investing in an effective automation solution that will help you stay competitive. Fortunately, that tool exists in TripActions LiquidTM, which not only brings expense management into the modern era, but also future-proofs this process.

Make your business more efficient and more successful. Download both guides, The Spend Management Tools Startups Need for 2022 and 5 Steps to Kill the Expense Report.