As we come up on 20 months of COVID-19, people are becoming more eager to travel and meet in person. Oversight was a sponsor at the 25th Annual Shared Services Outsourcing Week in Orlando, FL recently. All attendees shared one thing in common: We were excited to finally attend our first in-person event since the pandemic stormed the world in early 2020.
While attendance was lighter than usual, we had great conversations with organizations and saw a consistent trend among them all - the need to prioritize the move to a digital realm. Although spend is still down, risk is up. The digital transformation initiative is moving at a faster pace than imaginable. This allows organizations the ability to have continual improvement of efficiency and to spot questionable spending behaviors. Conversations had with finance executives at SSO Week covered these topics:
- Risk Exposure. Since COVID-19, companies are seeing an increase in risk through many different systems. With multiple ERP systems in place and no formal accounts payable or travel and expense audit system implemented, it creates a lack of visibility into company spend. This leads to the risk of financial hardship on your organization. It is more important than ever to put risk management processes into place.
- Fraud Detection. Since the pandemic hit, fraudulent expenses are at an all-time high. Companies are now faced with the need to have controls in place to detect fraudulent behavior. Utilizing machine learning (ML) or artificial intelligence (AI) software to detect this type of behavior will not only save you money but time in resources trying to recoup cash leakage.
- One-Off Purchases. During one of our round table discussions, we talked about the use of a P-Card versus receiving an invoice for one-off purchases. Using a P-Card for the one off's seemed to make more sense to avoid having to set up one-time vendors. However, doing so can increase risky activity. With no internal controls in place, you will need to audit p-card transactions to show routine purchases that will allow you to maximize your audit efficiency and improve cash flow.
- Process Improvement. In today's world, there is a need to automate and digitize accounting systems. In doing so, you will improve your productivity by cutting manual efforts and putting financial controls into place, allowing your team to focus on the bigger picture of risk and value-added work.
It is crucial for organizations to look at the bigger picture, put business process improvements into place and eliminate risk exposure. Finance executives need to focus on building and improving their current processes to spend more time on value-added work through AI, instead of looking at individual data. The most successful organizations and finance leaders continuously look to improve their technologies and processes to drive the best business goal outcomes.
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