Gerry Giacomán «Unlocking the Power of Automation: Spend Management Platforms Renew Skills in Financial Teams»
With the changes in the global macroeconomic scenario in recent months and the arrival of a new phase in the credit market, financial planning has gained increasing relevance within companies. Its objective is to align market strategy with finance to pave the way to build solid and profitable businesses.
Through these digital tools, it is possible to do live tracking of expenses incurred by employees or specific departments of a company. Finance teams are then able to understand in detail what are the fundamental or most recurring expenses within the organization so business’ objectives can be better aligned.
To keep the company’s financial control up to date, which is key for the future of management, all incoming and outgoing amounts and expenses must be tracked in the smallest detail. Clara’s corporate spend management platform has been able to save its customers up to one year when carrying out processes such as invoice conciliation, payments and financial time consuming tasks usually conducted manually by accounting teams. The objective is to simplify the routine expenses of any company, of any size or sector in which it operates, and releasing information with agility and transparency on a shared management platform.
With this information in hand, companies have paid more attention to compliance and to the analysis of internal data. A survey conducted by SAP Concur that heard CFOs from around the world indicates that 78% of them intend to increase or maintain investments in digitalization between 2023 and 2024, no matter the economic scenario.
The survey also states that 92% of CFOs plan to invest in new technological implementations – in which we can highlight new tools such as machine learning, automation and artificial intelligence in order to make processes more efficient within their areas. Companies that organize their operations into manual processes run risks that can have financial impacts. These processes can be time consuming and generate productivity losses. Automation, then, minimizes the possibility of failures and increases the consistency of information.
This kind of software, when associated with financial services – as it’s done by Clara -, allows you to quickly increase or decrease each employee’s or department spending quota, in order to make the company’s resources more efficient and drive business profitability. Teams can also restrict expenses according to the merchandise or according to the company’s expense policy, which facilitates compliance with regulations and avoids misunderstandings among team members.
Combined with all the functionalities for spend management policies, these platforms collect and compile data that become a valuable input to rethink, if necessary, the current budget of companies and start structuring the next year’s budget. The company’s financial and accounting data then become standardized and centralized, facilitating the search and access to the desired information.
The aforementioned survey prepared by SAP Concur indicated that 65% of finance and accounting team leaders intend to have a data strategy established by 2025. This strategy improves access to financial data, which can lead to better reaction plans and decision making in the midst of unforeseen events.
It is important for finance professionals to feel confident about the internal data they are analyzing. The use of digital expense control platforms allows these employees to have a panoramic view with complete information, reducing possible inconsistencies during audit processes.
Through digital expense control platforms, teams can act in advance, simplify processes, reduce costs and errors, and ensure safety and efficiency within the company. Through them, companies will have all their information in a single source of data intelligence, giving them greater control of movements and analysis in real time. Their adoption, in this sense, is a competitive differential and the organizations that use them are taking a step ahead.
Without a doubt, technology and digital spend management platforms will keep playing an increasing key role within financial teams as both are driving automation and efficiency leading at the same time to a better allocation of resources and optimal strategic planning for companies to successfully grow in a sustainable way.
AUTHOR: GERRY GIACOMÁN COLYER
CO-FOUNDER AND CEO CLARA
Gerry grew up in Monterrey, Mexico, and has lived a cross-border experience. He first moved to the US to attend Yale University to pursue his Ethics, Politics & Economics. Gerry considered going into public service before discovering the potential of technology-driven companies to have a positive impact on society on a large scale.
Gerry moved back to Latin America to found a mobility startup and served as Chief Growth Officer and VP of Revenue at Grin Scooters/Grow Mobility. With a group of colleagues from that previous company, in 2020 Gerry founded Clara, an end-to-end corporate spend management solution for growing businesses in Latin America which itself has become one of the fastest-growing unicorns in the region.