Using Spend Analysis Tools To Optimize Your Spending

How many times has your organization been faced with the conundrum of figuring out a way to reduce spending issues, mitigate third-party risk, and ultimately optimize your company's spending while also trying to prevent fraud? It probably happens a lot more often than you think. When it comes to procurement, monitoring your spending is pretty important. Fortunately, there are plenty of tools available today to help you optimize your spending and monitor it in real-time. Here is a short guide on how using spend analysis tools can help you improve your organization's spending, reduce maverick spending, and ultimately optimize the entire process.

Spend Analysis At A Glance

The concept of spend analysis is used to help organizations understand where money is going, how it's being used, and for identifying risk or misappropriation. The key components of spend analysis visibility, analysis, and process. In spend analysis, businesses identify and analyze spending data to improve efficiency, increase transparency, and prevent risk/fraud. It can be done a number of ways, but the most dominant form is using enterprise management software or supplier management software to identify risk factors, isolate maverick spend, and perform a complete spend analysis in real-time.

Risk Mitigation

There are many reasons to conduct a comprehensive spending analysis regularly. Using software tools, automation, and various spending intelligence you can get a good idea or paint a picture of potential risks at your organization. These might be internal risks, employee risks, or third-party risks. Some of the more common risk factors when it comes to spending include shipping issues, problems with goods delivery, bad reputation, and other factors. Staying on top of risk is vital to building and maintaining your supplier relationships. Spend analysis tools provide a window into how money is being spent, where it's going, and provide a basis for analysis. All of this also informs and enhances methods for reducing rogue spending and improving spend under management throughout the organization.

Achieving Goals

Spending analysis isn't just for finding risks and pinpointing potential issues. It's a way to meaningfully set and accomplish organizational goals. Understanding spending is only part of the larger picture. It begins with creating an inventory list of all your source systems so you can get insight into your spending funnel. Then you can meet the goal of capturing all routes of spending. Data should be available, accessible, and easy to classify into various schema so that it can be analyzed effectively When you conduct a spend analysis properly and thoroughly, you can readily achieve your savings goals and help create a forecast to continue a savings trend for the foreseeable future. You can set—and ultimately achieve—all of your savings/spending goals over the next quarter, month, or year.

Tracking KPIs

KPIs—key performance indicators—are an exceptionally important metric for understanding and analyzing your company's spending. Understanding KPIs is critical to making Better Business decisions, reducing risk associated with suppliers, and driving the organization forward in terms of profitability. 

Spending across different and diverse suppliers is one such important KPI. Another is deliveries. There are a lot of important questions here: are they on time, were there anything missing, did anything get damaged in transit, and was everything properly documented? Examine your cash to cycle time for a better overall picture of your spend. Also consider analyzing fill rates and the number of days sales are outstanding. All of these metrics can help you better define your relationships with suppliers and increase efficiency everywhere. Remember that the vendor management or enterprise management software that's already being used at your organization can readily adapt current spend analysis procedures to analyze any of these existing key performance indicators. Ultimately, this leads to streamlined analysis and better understanding of the different vectors that can impact your business.

Fraud Prevention

Fraud can be a big problem for most businesses, from banking to supply chain logistics and even the auto insurance industry. Whether it's during the inventory management process, through rogue spending, or due to other means, there's one thing for sure: fraud prevention is on every manager's mind these days. Using comprehensive spending analysis can help identify potential fraud points. Fraud can happen in many different ways. It could be as minimal as an employee falsifying logs and stealing inventory. It could also get a lot more complicated, and involve road spending or expense reimbursements fraud. Supplier fraud is also a big issue. That's why it's so important to monitor spend and see where money is coming in and where it's going out in real-time. This helps you diminish fraud attempts and ultimately protect your business from fraudulent activity. 

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