Spend management checklist: how to choose the best solution for you

Elizabeth Dulcich photo
Elizabeth Dulcich

Published on July 5, 2024

When it comes to finance tools, there’s an embarrassment of riches available on the market. Finance teams have a plethora of options to choose from, and several software solutions exist for every task in the finance department. 

Accounting, FP&A, payroll, invoicing…the finance team has tons of choices for specialised software that automates manual processes and improves efficiency, among other benefits.

Today we’ll focus on one specific area of the finance tool stack that the whole finance team – and the whole company – uses: spend management software.

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What is spend management?

Let’s quickly cover the basics. Spend management is simply how businesses choose to deal with their company finances. It brings credit cards, expenses, and accounts payable under one umbrella: spend.

The benefits of conscientious spend management are myriad: automated processes that do away with repetitive admin, streamlined workflows that eliminate confusion, and less risk of errors all around. The result? More efficiency, better accuracy, saved time, saved money, and happier employees.

Spend management is an integral part of the finance department’s tool stack. As long as your company is spending money, you’ll want reliable software that can help you track expenses, keep an eye on budgets, and strengthen reporting, saving you time and money every month.

Why use a spend management tool?

Making and processing a simple payment is an administrative burden for both employees and managers. Traditional processes for purchasing and managing expenses are often inefficient and a source of frustration. For example, simply completing an expense report quickly becomes a headache.

The same can be said of administrative and finance departments, who waste precious time each month trying to retrieve missing receipts from various employees, manually entering VAT, and many other repetitive accounting tasks that could easily be optimised and automated.

A good spend management tool should be able to solve these issues. 

If any of these problems sound familiar or are existing pain points in your work life, then you might be ready to adopt a spend management tool.

How to know you’re ready for a spend management tool

This is kind of a trick question. In fact, every company can benefit from a good spend management tool, once you reach a certain level of complexity. As we said above, as long as your company is working with money, you should have processes in place that help you handle expenses and payments.

Once you decide you’re ready to adopt a spend management tool, the next step is to examine your current structure and choose which features are most important to your organisation. We’ll explain more below.

If you’re still not sure, we have a Spend Management Maturity assessment you can take to decide whether or not you’re ready to take the plunge. You’ll need just two minutes for the assessment, then you’ll receive tailored insights into your current spend management processes.

How to pick the best spend management solution

It all comes down to what you, your finance team, and your organisation need in said solution. 

You should take an audit of your current operation: what’s working? What isn’t? Are you missing any features? Are your current processes helping or hindering your finance team? 

You’ll of course want a scalable solution to accommodate future growth, plus something easy to adopt so non-finance employees won’t be afraid to use it. The best spend management tools are ones that provide lots of flexibility for spenders but enough control for the finance team, so everyone is happy. 

We’ve got a free downloadable checklist to help you choose the right solution, but if you want the information in quick bullet points, read on.

Define your needs and objectives

Once you decide you’re ready to adopt a spend management tool, the next step is to think hard about what exactly you need. What do you want to accomplish with a new spend management solution? 

Here are some questions to ask yourself, your team, and your leaders to determine what goals you’d like your spend management tool to help you reach:

  • Do you want 100% visibility over spending?

  • Which means of payment are best for the company? 

  • Does the tool need to integrate with the rest of the tool stack?

  • Is fraud detection important?

  • What’s the budget?

  • How quickly do you need the solution to be up and running?

  • How many people need to use the software?

These are just a few of the questions you need to ask yourself (and answer!) when looking for a new spend management tool. If you’d like to see the entire set of questions, download our checklist.

Choose your features

You’ve determined your needs and goals, so the next step is to choose which features are most important to your team and organisation. Good spend management solutions usually have the following features: 

  • Cards & expenses

  • Accounts payables

  • Financial reporting

  • Support

Under those broad categories, you can dive deeper into the details. For example, with cards and expenses, do you want virtual cards or physical cards? Or both? Do you need to set up spending limits, approval workflows, and automatic expense reports?

Our checklist will help you answer these questions, and more!

Remember, the more precise you are with your desired features and future goals, the easier it will be to find the perfect corresponding spend management solution that’s right for you.

Benchmark and compare

The final step is to research the available solutions on the market. There are all types of spend management software solutions on the market that cater to every type of company: startups, scaleups, large enterprise organisations, etc. You'll just need to do some research, narrow down your options, and book a demo with your favourite(s).

Use our spend management checklist

If you’re short on time or you’re still not sure which questions to ask to find the best spend management software for your organisation, we’ve got a handy checklist for you. 

Download it today to determine what you want out of your spend management, and find the right solution for your company.

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