Key considerations when automating your capital expenditure management process: are you following the money?
Managing capital expenditure processes manually is time-consuming. When it comes to the complexity of the processes you rely on for your approvals along with the need for smarter analytics, the challenge becomes even greater. You want to focus on managing old and new business, but not at the expense of efficiency and productivity.
A study by Gartner Executive Programs reveals that business process automation explicitly meets the return-to-growth objectives of top companies worldwide. Top performers have realized that in order to improve the performance of their CapEx management process, they have to employ the kind of tactics that integrate with their activities regardless of how complex they can be.
Let’s look at five key features you should be considering when automating your CapEx management process.
Your success with CapEx management depends on how quickly and efficiently you can integrate it into your business. Hiring programmers or in house development costs time and money, so you need a plug & play solution that requires little coding. A robust platform has the ability to manage not only routine tasks such as approvals by email, but also non-routine expenditure approvals such as legal settlements and write-offs, no matter how complex the approval process.
Manual approval chains can lead to Requests for Expenditures (RFE) getting stuck and cause an otherwise avoidable loss of business. It should be easy to see in a single view exactly where the necessary forms are in the approval process, and what decisions were made at each level of approval. Having a full audit trail of all comments and decisions gives you visibility on which approvals were granted and when. When delegating authority, we want to be able to properly route and notify approvers of changes more effectively and more efficiently.
Mobility and Mobile Support
In a rising mobile workforce, consistent reachability is crucial to your company’s productivity. The American Community Survey found that 20-25% of employees already work from home or telecommute, with near 50% of the workforce being pro-mobility. Having mobile apps on all devices means you’re no longer tied to a stationary device to manage time-sensitive approvals. Being able to reach approvers in the right time will help make the right expenditure decisions. This means no more missed deadlines or unavailable approvers. Having mobile apps can add another valuable tool to your CapEx management toolkit.
Measuring your CapEx metrics allows you to manage them even better. You should be able to use visual graphs and trends to compare expected versus actual spends. Being able to analyze spends by category adds depth when you review your expenditures. It should be easy to link up your existing financial ERP systems to improve multiyear forecasting and budgeting.
Access and Storage Security
Data stored in centralized locations makes the secure storage of requests and budgets the highest priority of any automated CapEx management platform. With global and mobile accessibility, a platform that limits approval types to certain roles will ensure that only the right people are able to make approvals. You must ensure that the platform you choose takes security and access control seriously.
While the change to automated processes can seem scary, evaluating your CapEx management platform with these big-picture criteria can make your decision easier. Are you losing money due to holes and delays in your current approval process? Is your process not allowing you to study and forecast its health? CapEx Management Automation might help you get there.