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Party Lines: Getting Finance and IT on the Same Page

Party Lines: Getting Finance and IT on the Same Page

Today, everything is politicized—We should know, we’re sitting right outside Washington DC. However, as a company that works in both the finance and information technology business, we also know that there are few things more tumultuous, hostile, or challenging than the process of deciding on, implementing, and deploying a software.

The Politicization and Constant Fights in Software Selection

For the finance and information departments, this is a common occurrence, as the two departments often have different preferences and needs, even if they have the same end goal in mind. Much like the legislative branch, they want to make their constituents more prosperous and successful, but have two very different ways to make it happen.

Same Goals, Different Paths

Ask any IT leader about his or her hopes for new software, and you’ll elicit the response, “we want usability, automation, security, and control. Cost is a factor, but user experience is the number one priority.” In fact, according to Forrester, Sixty-one percent of firms say that IT is focused more on the usability and employee experience, and less on spend reductions.

Ask the same question of your finance people, and you’ll hear, “we want to reduce spending and save some time. Cost is definitely a concern, and we will disregard anything that seems excessive.” When the same survey question was asked of finance, Sixty-four percent of firms said that finance is focused more on reducing spending, and less on usability and employee experience.

Finding Common Ground

As you can see, even if there is potential for balance and the two sides ultimately want to make the lives of employees easier and the company more successful, they have divergent paths to the same goal. The goal here is to find common ground and to discuss benefits and ideas in ways that the other party will embrace.

There are many areas where the two sides can find this common ground, especially in the areas of travel, expense, and invoice management.

Here’s How to Get Finance and IT Talking

According to the Forrester Research, sponsored by our friends at SAP Concur, there are many ways to bridge the gap between finance and IT to create a win-win.

Modern travel, expense, and invoice management is designed to adapt to customer needs—a key IT selling point—while providing indirect cost savings, time savings, and improved discount capture rates. As a project sponsor or leader, your job is to present your points in a way that both parties can agree on, and your first talking point should revolve around automation.

Talking Point One: Automation

What’s the quickest way to reduce time while improving the user experience? Automate what you can. Not only will users be happier (and make less calls to the IT department), it will also reduce the time and money spent to process an invoice or approve an expense. Through automation, you can cut days or weeks off of this process, which will result in improved discount capture. According to SAP Concur,

“While new invoice management tools can’t lower your bills themselves, they can optimize your processes in ways that will cut costs. Automation will ensure those bills are accounted for and paid on time, saving you from late fees, reducing the time spent managing invoices, and allowing you to focus valuable time on other tasks.”

Additionally, through this automation, your finance team can see who’s spending what, reduce the potential for fraud, and focus on the bigger picture.

Talking Point Two: The Benefits of the Cloud

Now that you have the two agreeing on the idea that automation is going to save time and possibly money, it’s time to bring your pitch in for a landing. One such way to do this is to discuss the value of the cloud.

For your IT department, a cloud-based travel, expense, or invoice solution will reduce the workload and thanks to the user-focused design of an application like SAP Concur, will improve the overall user experience.

Turn this to finance, and you can immediately start to sing the praises of the cloud’s lower implementation costs, rapid innovations through updates, and anytime-anywhere access. For more information on the benefits of the cloud and importance of automation, read our blog debunking two common myths of AP automation.

Talking Point Three: Value Creation

Another unsung benefit of modern technology: Your employees can get out of process traps. If you’re using legacy software, it’s likely there are a lot of calls to IT to fix something that goes wrong. It’s also likely that the paper-based processes are cutting a healthy portion out of your finance employees’ day.

As you press the benefits of modern technology, remind leaders that their employees will spend less time on the mundane tasks and more time on creating value, informing business decisions, and making improvements—three things everyone hopes for, but rarely recognizes.

Put simply, even if you’re not saving directly, you are finding ways to increase revenue, reduce the time spent on mundane processes, and creating new value where none previously existed. Learn more about developing a proactive spend management strategy here.

Building Unity Throughout Your Organization: Forrester Report

The entire Forrester Report, Getting Better Mileage Out Of Your Travel, Expense, And Invoice Solutions, is available for download from the SAP Concur website, and will share even more information on the importance of technologically advanced travel, expense, and invoice management, and its ability to drive IT and finance unity. We welcome you to download the guide, learn more about our work with SAP Concur, read about our solutions for connecting it with Dynamics AX/GP/SL and Sage Intacct, and read the resources below.

Learn even more by reading this infographic on automating expense management.


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