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How managing spend control improves business efficiency
Blog //06-11-2023

How managing spend control improves business efficiency

by Lauren Campbell, Content Executive

In the modern business world where competition is fierce, achieving financial efficiency isn't an optional extra - it's an essential requirement. One area in which businesses can glean significant operational efficiency is through effective spend control management. High-performing competitors may already harness the power of spend control to gain an edge, so it can be costly to ignore the importance of effective business spend management.

What is spend control?

Spend control is a comprehensive approach to how an organisation manages its expenses. It’s part of the financial strategy to optimise resource allocation and maintain stability. Under spend control comes a wide range of processes, including budgeting, procurement, and auditing.

The ultimate goal of implementing this measure is to minimise wastage, promote cost-effectiveness, and ensure that every pound spent contributes to overall organisational objectives.

Spend control should not be confused with cost reduction or cost control, although certain spend control methods may encompass the streamlining of costs. Rather, spend control is more accurately characterised as an organisation's intentional management and strategic allocation of its financial resources.

Spend management vs. expense management

Often, the terms 'spend management' and 'expense management' are used interchangeably. However, they represent distinct aspects of financial management.

Spend management is a broad concept that envelops all organisational spending and focuses on strategic planning to optimise costs. It is a strategic approach to managing and optimising the company’s financial outgoings.

It extends beyond mere cost reduction; it involves making wiser spending choices that are in line with the overarching aims and direction. By doing this, the financial performance of the business can be improved. It can also boost competitiveness and safeguard the financial security or future prospects of your business.

On the other hand, expense management is more transactional in nature, dealing specifically with the processing, payment, and auditing of employee-initiated expenses. It focuses on controlling and optimising the specific subset of expenses that are incurred by staff during work hours. Spend management and expense management are both essential for maintaining financial control and efficiency, so they have that in common.

Is your spend control at maximum efficiency?

Evaluating the efficiency of your organisation's spend control is an integral part of maintaining good financial health. This requires a meticulous examination of spending habits, ensuring every financial transaction is accounted for and justified.

One of the primary questions to ask in this evaluation is whether you have a clear line of sight into every expenditure made by your organisation. This means having a robust tracking system in place that captures all purchases, from large-scale investments to minor operational expenses. With such a system, you can keep a close eye on where money is going, identify any wasteful spending, and take corrective action promptly.

In addition to tracking transactions, it's crucial to assess whether your procurement decisions are data-driven. A comprehensive analysis of spend data will help you to identify opportunities for cost savings and efficiency gains.

If your business lacks these capabilities, it's a clear signal your spend control strategies need attention. Inefficient business spend control can lead to a host of issues, from budget overruns to cash flow problems, which could undermine your growth prospects.

How to manage spend control in business

At the core of effective spend control is the creation of clear and realistic budgets, which serve as the backbone for all financial decisions. It is through this budgeting process that resources are allocated. These roadmaps for spending guide financial decisions across all departments and levels of the organisation.

Additionally, implementing stringent procurement policies is an integral part of managing a business’s spending. These policies, which govern how goods and services are acquired, can help prevent unnecessary or excessive spending by ensuring all purchases add some form of value. Policies may include preferred supplier lists, pre-approved purchase categories, and defined approval processes.

But it’s not enough to simply set budgets and establish procurement policies; companies must also utilise analytics for informed decision-making. By analysing spend data, they can gain valuable insights into their spending patterns. They can also identify cost-saving opportunities and make more informed decisions around sourcing. Predictive analytics can further enhance this process by forecasting future spending trends, enabling proactive/agile budget adjustments, and strategic planning.

Risks of not using spend management software

Ignoring the benefits of spend management software in today's digitised environment can expose businesses to several risks, such as:

Higher probability of errors

Manual spend control processes are increasingly posing challenges to modern businesses. These methods are not only time-consuming but also more susceptible to human error. It can potentially lead to financial implications that could jeopardise a company's fiscal stability and operational success.

Human error in manual spend control can result in mistakes like:

        Duplicate entries or miscalculations

        Distorted financial data and misguided business decisions

        Unrecorded expenses

Moreover, these manual processes lack real-time transparency around spending patterns. This makes it difficult to promptly identify cost-saving opportunities or detect anomalies indicative of compliance issues.

Lack of Visibility

Maintaining visibility is a fundamental aspect of effectively managing the financial wellbeing of any organisation. When there isn't a centralised system in place for overseeing and regulating expenses, the process of attaining a comprehensive overview of the company's spending not only appears overwhelming but also proves to be inefficient.

The absence of a comprehensive view of spending patterns can result in missed opportunities for cost optimisation. Without the right data at hand, companies may overlook potential areas of savings or fail to identify inefficient processes that are draining resources.


When a company or individual neglects precise monitoring and reporting of their expenditures, they run the risk of breaching regulatory obligations. These rules are established by government authorities to uphold transparency, accountability, and equity within the finance sector.

Non-compliance is not just about the immediate penalties, although these can be significant. The potential fines for non-compliance can reach into the millions, depending on the severity of the violation. But beyond the financial impact, non-compliance can also lead to reputational damage.

Reputation holds immeasurable value in the world of business. Once tarnished, restoring it can prove exceedingly challenging. Instances of non-compliance can undermine investor trust, result in customer attrition, and complicate the process of securing future business collaborations.

Therefore, it is crucial that all companies place a high priority on ensuring they are in full compliance with all relevant regulations. This includes implementing robust systems and processes for accurately tracking and reporting spending.

How does spend management software improve business efficiency?

Spend management software can lead to significant gains for businesses, such as: 

Improved cash flow

Spend management software is a powerful tool that significantly impacts a company's cash flow, the net amount of cash being transferred into and out of a business. Positive cash flow indicates increasing liquid assets, enabling a company to settle debts, reinvest, return money to shareholders, and withstand financial challenges. Spend management software enhances this aspect by offering improved visibility over expenditures, allowing businesses to track each dollar spent and identify unnecessary expenses. By mitigating wasteful spending, companies can free up cash for strategic reallocation, optimising their cash flow.

Moreover, spend management software assists in forecasting future cash flows, an essential aspect of financial planning. By examining historical spending data, the software can predict future spending trends, providing businesses with the ability to plan ahead and ensure they have enough cash reserves to meet future obligations.

Cost reduction

Cost reduction is vital for improving a company's financial health. By offering a detailed analysis of an organisation's expenditures, the software allows for a comprehensive understanding of where and how funds are being utilised. This level of visibility provides a clear picture of areas where spending may be excessive or unnecessary.

The software's intuitive interface and powerful analytics tools enable businesses to identify patterns in spending that might not have been otherwise apparent. For example, it may reveal recurring purchases that could be consolidated to leverage volume discounts, or it may highlight services that are underutilised and could be scaled back or eliminated entirely.

Enhanced transparency

In an increasingly complex financial landscape, businesses require sophisticated tools to manage and monitor their expenditures effectively. A centralised spend data system is one such tool that offers them a way to take charge of their expense management processes. It serves as a cornerstone of sound financial management.

This technology gives them essential visibility of their spending patterns. Decision-makers can identify trends, pinpoint expense fraud , and uncover unnecessary spend. By providing a clear, aggregated snapshot of the company's financial health, a centralised spend data system equips leaders with the needed insights to make better decisions.

Additionally, a centralised spend data system can serve as a powerful risk management tool. By monitoring expenditures in real-time, organisations can quickly spot trends and looming problems that might threaten their financial viability.

Assured compliance

With spend management software, organisations can automate their financial reporting processes, thereby eliminating manual errors and ensuring data accuracy. The software makes it easier to track and manage expenditures and ensure these outgoings are aligned with budgetary guidelines and regulatory requirements.

By flagging any issues at an early stage, businesses can take corrective measures proactively, thereby preventing costly regulatory breaches. Spend management software often includes regular updates, ensuring it is always in line with the latest changes in financial regulations. Finance and procurement teams can then be confident that they’re always operating within the current legal framework.

Using Advanced Financials to boost business efficiency

Our Cloud-based accounting solution, Advanced Financials, is designed to streamline the financial management process for businesses, including spend control. By centralising all finance-related tasks in one digital platform, finance teams have a unified and accurate view of all income and expenditure. 

Being Cloud-based, Advanced Financials enables the real-time updating of financial data. Any changes made are instant and visible to all users across various functions. Built-in reports and dashboards provide current/tangible insights that will support your finance function and improve your company spend control management.

Blog Advanced Financials Financial Management
Lauren Campbell

Lauren Campbell


Content Executive

Lauren has been with OneAdvanced since March 2021, bringing well-built experience in both writing and the marketing landscape. She has been previously responsible for driving the relationships with our strategic technology partners, and now creates insightful and thought-provoking content for Advanced, specialising in our Spend Management and Governance space.

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