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2022 Survey

Why high-growth companies are switching spend management platforms

Today’s companies are seeing a unique set of challenges and opportunities — hyper automation, digitization, macro pressures, and a workforce that’s more distributed and global than ever before. As a result, CFOs and finance leaders are rethinking how they manage company spend to drive the best outcomes for the business.

So we asked 150 finance leaders what they’re looking for in a modern spend management solution. While typical priorities like saving time came to mind as important criteria, 7 out of 10 respondents actually see ease of use as their number-one priority.

Here’s more on what financial decision makers at large and midsize companies are looking for in the ideal spend management solution:

71% of finance leaders prioritize ease of implementation and usability.

Our survey showed that finance leaders look for spend management solutions that can:

  • Automate manual processes (56%)
  • Integrate well with ERP and HRIS platforms (51%)
  • Provide real-time visibility into spend (51%)
  • Make employee compliance easy (48%)

Notably, over 71% listed ease of implementation and usability as a top priority. The bottom line? Companies want a spend management solution that gets everyone on board without a painful onboarding process.

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“As you scale and you grow, the accounting team needs to be able to efficiently administer and manage the program….The automation of the auditing is important — as companies grow larger, they don’t have time to look at every line item.”

— VP/Controller @ Telecommunications Infrastructure Company

61% of finance leaders want better service.

When moving to a new spend solution, 61% of financial leaders cite better service and support as their primary motivator. Beyond that, many look for improved functionality (54%), smoother ERP/HRIS integrations (45%), and better overall value (44%).

The need for reliable support, essential features, and robust integrations proved to be constants, regardless of company size. However, companies with 500+ employees also cited global compatibility as a key decision-making factor.

For the non-US workforce, that means widespread card acceptance and fast reimbursements. Meanwhile, finance teams want to easily track spending in multiple currencies, eliminating much of the busywork that comes with cross-border business. This way, they can seamlessly manage spend, even when international divisions run on different payroll or accounting systems.

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59% of finance leaders want to save time on expenses.

As anyone who's ever used legacy expense software knows: No one likes doing expense reports. And our survey echoed this sentiment. When we asked our finance leaders to list their three most important business outcomes, nearly 60% said they’re looking to reduce company time spent on expenses. At the same time:

Finance leaders want to build a culture of financial discipline.

Financial leaders are aiming to influence the culture of their business and increase the overall level of trust and accountability. Still, they want to empower employees to spend responsibly and be 100% compliant without having to comb through cumbersome expense policies. To them, that’s a key part of “building a culture of financial discipline” — a top priority for nearly half of those surveyed.

So, what does that entail? Decision-makers say a culture of financial discipline:

  • Encourages employees to “spend the company’s money like they would their own.”
  • “Helps employees engage in smart decision making to manage spend across departments.”
  • “Makes team members accountable for their spending by providing accessible tools.”
  • Enables “complete visibility into spend across the organization and employee recognition as to how their spend affects the entire company.”

Through increased accountability and ownership, employees are able to understand how their spending impacts results. With a strong culture of financial discipline in place, businesses can improve compliance, encourage innovation, and increase the speed of decision-making — without micromanaging their workforce.

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“When we bought pizzas for an offsite, our old system required me to add the names of every employee in attendance. That’s a ridiculous level of control.”

— VP of Finance @ Fortune 1000 company

Key takeaways

As CFOs and finance leaders plan for 2023, they need to balance efforts in optimizing financial tools, processes, and spend while ensuring that operations run smoothly. Based on our survey, the workforce shouldn’t feel constrained by complicated expense policies and tedious reimbursements. Instead, fast-growing companies aim to instill a culture of financial discipline that empowers employees to innovate and achieve new financial efficiencies. ​​Beyond simply controlling spend, finance leaders want a spend management solution that improves employee retention and drives productivity for measurable bottom-line impact:

  • The number one thing financial leaders look for in a spend management solution is an employee-first approach that delivers exceptional ease of implementation and use.
  • Financial leaders are looking for four key features from a spend management solution: exceptional service, unlimited integrations, automations, and global compatibility.
  • They want these features in order to increase financial discipline and compliance, drive efficiency, gain real-time visibility, and empower employees.

Survey Methodology

Brex surveyed 150 leaders in finance and accounting roles at companies based in the United States with over 50 employees. 38% of respondents work at companies with between 50-500 employees, while 62% of respondents work at companies with over 500 employees.

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See what Brex can do for you.

Get in touch to learn how our spend solution can increase financial efficiency and speed for your company.

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