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The 4 biggest challenges SMEs face when managing spend

The main hurdles to managing invoices and expenses

There are all kinds of challenges when it comes to running a small business, and managing cash flow is right up there.

Making sure you have more money coming in than going out, chasing late payments, juggling invoices sometimes it means making tough calls and evaluating your business priorities.

In fact, according to a recent survey by AMI Partners and SAP Concur of over 400 financial decision makers at SMEs from across five industries, challenges related to expense, travel, and invoice management were commonplace.

Here, we look at the top four challenges businesses are facing.

Business processes can be cumbersome

According to AMI, 69% of respondents found their manual expense, travel and invoice solutions inefficient. Shockingly, this challenge was highlighted as a top pain point by nearly every industry that the research firm tracked in the study.

Human behaviour is tricky

It might be easy to keep tabs on expenses in the early days. Tracking client meetings and associated lunch costs, for example, is easily done when the company employs around five people. But as you grow, the number of people submitting expense claims can become unmanageable by traditional manual methods.

Not only this, but invoices will grow too and before you know it you have a real head-scratcher on your hands.

This is very common 60% of companies surveyed felt this was an issue before they invested in an automated solution.

Paperwork disappears into a black hole

To err is human and manual processes are prone to mistakes. Around 56% of respondents reported missing receipts, invoices and paperwork as a challenge.

Moving away from manual processes can free businesses from the dependency on accurate paperwork.

It’s a waiting game

Manual solutions can involve a lot of hanging around approvals and reimbursements can be a significant pain point, and nearly half of the respondents in the survey highlighted this.

While the particular pain points that come with managing cash flow will vary from business to business, many growing businesses may eventually outgrow their manual processes.

There are alternatives out there. Automated solutions for travel, expense and invoice management could potentially save businesses hours of man time, while making the processes easier in the meantime.

To view the full report from AMI and SAP Concur, click here.


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