Corporate expense management processes like filing expense reports and reimbursing employees are common time-wasters for businesses. But a new survey from expense management firm Soldo uncovers another way businesses fail to save time.
According to a survey of 2,000 employees and 2,000 financial decision-makers in the U.K., the act of making a purchase itself is taking too much time for many businesses. Soldo’s report, “The hidden cost of company spending,” found that one-fifth of mid-sized companies take between two and four hours to make a purchase.
More commonly, companies surveyed said it takes up to an hour to make a purchase, but 12 percent of medium-sized firms said it took at least eight hours to purchase something for the company.
According to Soldo, as a company’s size increases, so does the complexity of the purchasing process.
“An average of five in every 100 finance teams are spending more than eight hours to purchase something,” Soldo found, “but when the company size grows to 50-249 employees, the number of finance teams spending longer than eight hours to purchase something rises to an astounding 12 percent.”
In response to the findings, Soldo said the data suggests businesses are operating with procurement and purchasing processes “that are not conducive to reducing the admin burden.”
That admin burden of company spend results in wasted time in other areas of the enterprise, Soldo found, including the time it takes for employees to build and file their expense reports and to be reimbursed for their purchases. Soldo’s survey also uncovered reliance on financial decision makers to take on manual “detective work,” a process that forces these professionals to dive into troves of transaction data to uncover which employees spent how much on which products and why.
According to Soldo, the time it takes to conduct this detective work is “time that could be eliminated with the adoption of technological solutions.”