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Paper Is Draining Your Talent: Digitize Spend
Management Instead

Are there administrative bottlenecks that stop you from growing your career? Wrangling with tedious processes, such as filing expenses or organizing invoices, can bog down your day-to-day work.

But clunky processes aren’t just inconvenient. They have negative implications on employee satisfaction and growth.

For example, many state and local governments still depend on paper and ink to track their spending. It’s not uncommon for the process to look like employees carrying a pound of paper expenses from one building to another. You may see some obvious pain points here: timeliness, manual labor, security perhaps. SAP Concur’s Jim McClurkin elaborated more on how paper-based spend management drains employees and agencies.

Pain Points

Physical bottlenecks: Paper-based processes require you to be physically present to submit forms, sign papers and approve reports. If someone is absent or out of the office, the whole procedure gets held up.

Barriers to training: Some employees would rather forgo professional development opportunities to avoid the pain of filing travel and training expenses. McClurkin has seen it. It’s a kind of “intellectual drain” that happens due to a frustrating spend management process.

Out-of-pocket burdens: Oftentimes you spend money out of your own pocket to pay for work-related expenses that you recover later. Manual procedures lag the speed to payment, making the cost a more prolonged burden than it should be.

Adult “arts and crafts”: Employees spend their time scrapbooking and scanning receipts in paper-based operations. This isn’t the kind of user experience ideal for high satisfaction and growth.

Digital Relief

Digitized spend management can offer relief from these paper-based pain points. But they can also do more, improving decision-making capabilities for the whole agency.

At the tactical level, it creates efficiencies for users, eliminating physical bottlenecks and ensuring timely speed to payment. SAP Concur uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to automate workflows, so that employees can simply take a picture of a receipt instead of manually detailing a form. No more “adult arts and crafts,” McClurkin said.

At the strategic level, digital spend management provides new and improved decision-making insights for leaders and executives. If you lack the capacity to aggregate and report expenses into one system, you lose out on the ability to manage the whole spend management process.

SAP Concur’s AI and ML-powered workflows capture spending data in near real time and make it visible. Leaders can spot trends, anomalies and gaps in the spending flow in one place, enabling them to make data-driven decisions around spending.

“It opens up a whole new way of thinking about spend management, process improvements and workflows,” McClurkin said.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide “How to Provide People-Oriented Services: A Guide for State & Local Public Servants.”

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