Our survey Under Pressure: Operational Challenges for Finance Teams revealed the issues front-line finance teams face when trying to balance time-consuming tasks like tracking expenses and invoices with strategic projects like planning and forecasting, collaborating with colleagues, and improving processes. 

Here are eight ways Center can help.

1. Simplify

The Problem: Using Multiple Tools to Manage Expenses

43% of survey respondents use two or more tools to manage the expense process. Using multiple tools—expense reporting software, auditing software, spreadsheets, and visualization tools—complicates the process, increases the likelihood for errors, and adds to the cost of software subscriptions. 

The Fix: Use One Tool from Start to Finish

Center automates the process from the point of purchase through posting to the GL: capturing receipts, auditing all expenses, providing self-service reporting, analyzing spend, and identifying opportunities for cost savings. 

When you use one tool to automate the entire process, you eliminate complexity and save money.

2. Audit

The Problem: Ineffective Auditing

Auditing is essential to ensure spend is accurate and within policy. In our survey, 40% of respondents say they examine each report individually, while 15% spot-check a handful and 13% don’t audit at all, which may result in accounting mistakes and even fraud.

The Fix: Automate Expense Audits

Ensure compliance and accuracy with Center’s AI-powered audit. It reviews every transaction to identify any out-of-policy spend, anomalous activity, personal spending, and potential fraud.

Center also speeds processing time by automatically approving expenses that fall within the parameters you set.

3. Close

The Problem: Long Monthly Closes 

Frustrated by how long it takes to close the books or chase down missing receipts and late expense reports each month? You’re not alone: so are 26% of finance professionals. If, like 58% of respondents, it takes you more than five days to close the books, Center can help.

The Fix: True Visibility into Employee Spend 

Thanks to the integration of CenterCard® and Center Expense, finance teams can see and track all employee card spend, including billable expenses, from the time of purchase. Real-time visibility minimizes the need for accruals and makes it easier to post expenses to your GL and pass reimbursable expenses through to clients.

4. Scale

The Problem: Growing Pains

Mid-size companies with 100 to 999 employees experience more frustration around expense management and longer monthly closes than smaller and larger companies do, perhaps because they tend to use more tools to get the job done and often have understaffed finance departments.

Out-of-date processes; mixing personal cards, corporate cards, and p-cards; and a lack of clear policies all contribute to the complexity of managing expenses. 

The Fix: Scale with Just-Right Processes and Controls

Consolidate spend to one card program like CenterCard® for maximum visibility and controls rather than having to reconcile multiple corporate cards and rely on employees’ personal card use. Controls are flexible: set spending limits, build dynamic policies, and lock cards that aren’t in regular use. And with one tool to manage the entire business spend process, finance teams can get more done in less time.

5. Streamline

The Problem: Processing Expenses Takes All Your Time 

Tracking receipts, auditing expenses manually, and gathering data for reports is time-consuming work—so much so that there’s little time left for higher-impact strategic work like planning, collaborating with colleagues, and optimizing spend.

The Fix: Streamline the Expense Process 

Shave time off all stages of the expense cycle by eliminating batched based reports, rubber-stamp approvals, manual audits, complex data transfers, and Excel pivot table analysis. 

Center uses AI, sophisticated workflows, dynamic policies, and real-time data to streamline the entire process, from the point of purchase through posting to the GL.

6. Collaborate

The Problem: No Time to Coach Employees or Partner With Colleagues

Cross-department collaboration is one of the top three activities finance professionals wish they had more time for if they weren’t spending so much time on expenses, invoices, and reporting. 

The Fix: Improve Company-wide Communication and Collaboration

Direct notifications and integrated messaging help finance teams quickly communicate policy changes to employees or resolve individual questions. 

And self-service reporting allows budget managers to see at a glance where they stand, freeing the finance team for more collaborative planning and problem solving.

7. Elevate

The Problem: Difficulty Hiring or Retaining Accounts Payable and Processing Roles 

While the majority of people we surveyed said they’d like to hire more help, very few are actually recruiting. Finding the right person is difficult for many reasons, not least of which is the repetitive nature of the work, something most professionals surveyed would like to spend less time on. 

The Fix: Allocate Staff Toward Meaningful Work

With Center, you can automate tedious, routine processing tasks like auditing and approving expenses and shift your team’s focus toward activities and initiatives that truly impact the bottom line, including optimizing spend and hitting targets.

8. Optimize

The Problem: The Sneaking Suspicion Your Company Wastes Money

In our survey, spend analysis ranked last for where finance allocated time related to expense management, which is not surprising given how challenging it can be to gather data. Many finance professionals grudgingly accept a certain amount of wasteful spending because they lack the time or tools for in-depth spend analysis around employee travel and software subscriptions. 

The Fix: Optimize Spend to Make Every Dollar Count

Real-time data and Center’s Spend Insights help finance teams quickly analyze discretionary spend to negotiate discounts, manage software subscriptions, and build more accurate forecasts. 

Even better, you can decrease non-compliant expenses through dynamic policy rules and 100% auditing, and build a stronger fiscal culture by identifying opportunities for employee coaching. 

TO THE POINT:

Ready to set your finance team up for success? See Center in action. Join our online demo or sign up for an individual demonstration.