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Most CFOs Lack Full Visibility Into Company Spend, Coupa Finds

Chief financial officers (CFOs) surveyed by The Economist Intelligence Unit revealed a lack of visibility into corporate spend in a new survey released on Monday (May 7).

The report, “The Strategic CFO in a Rapidly Changing World,” commissioned by corporate expense management firm Coupa, found that of more than 500 CFOs surveyed, more than 60 percent said they don’t have total visibility into company spend.

In a statement, Coupa Chief Executive Officer Rob Bernshteyn said the results were not unexpected.

“The results of this study are not surprising — visibility remains a huge challenge for CFOs in today’s dynamic and ever-evolving business environment,” he said. “It’s critical that CFOs adopt a cloud-based strategy for business spend management that enables them to have visibility and control over their spend to make more strategic and informed decisions about their business.”

CFOs surveyed agreed that technology could help with strategic spend management: 60 percent told researchers that they agreed process or technology improvement was key to improving cost management.

The report also found evidence that greater collaboration across internal company departments was linked to improved cost, capital and risk management; more than two-thirds of CFOs noted they believed technology improvement was vital to risk mitigation, with business performance risk cited as the No. 1 threat to CFOs’ abilities to make a positive impact on their companies’ financial positions. Automation and cloud computing were the top technologies these professionals said were important to their corporate finance strategy execution.

The data is not the first to conclude that executives struggle to gain adequate visibility into corporate spend.

Earlier research from Runzheimer, for instance, found that managers lack visibility into the spend of their mobile employees. Last year, the Global Business Travel Association found that small- and medium-sized businesses are particularly struggling with gaining insight into how traveling employees spend company money.

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