NEW REPORT: Bringing Spend Management Tools To The Workforce

It takes money to make money, but spending money in pursuit of that mission is often a mismanaged ordeal — that’s especially true in field-based services.

Corporate spend solution providers are working to resolve this by empowering companies to trust field-based workers for making appropriate purchases as needed to complete jobs. At the same time, these solutions are providing accounting departments with greater transparency into how funds are spent on field-based purchases, plus insights for future spending.

With the availability of new spending tools and greater transparency, the nature of field-based work is shifting dramatically. The brand-new Workforce Spend Management Tracker, a PYMNTS and PEX collaboration, covers the development of new workforce spend solutions and the ways they work to offer financial flexibility and transparency to both field-based workers and accounting departments. The report examines flexible workforce tools, and how they are working to streamline workforce tracking and reduce reliance on expense reports, paper checks and cash.

The Latest In Workforce Spend

Workforce spend management solutions, designed in part to help accounting departments keep tabs on employee spending, could help executives better understand and manage their business.

One recent survey, for example, found that many CFOs are behind on tracking how funds are spent. The Economics Intelligence Unit (EIU) recently reported 60 percent of CFOs “lack complete visibility” into their organization’s transactions. The survey also found many CFOs could turn to workforce spend solutions to help deepen insights, with more than three-quarters (76 percent) responding that new technologies could help their organizations work better to enact a finance strategy.

Additional research from financial services giant Mastercard supports this view. The company recently reported that companies that switch from a per diem program, in which managers provide a daily allowance for traveling employees, to a corporate card system can save approximately 7.8 percent on travel and expense spending.

Elsewhere in the space, management solutions provider Coupa Software recently added Amazon’s Alexa as an enhancement to its platform. Alexa can now be used to manage inventory, locate items and reorder supplies through the platform. The company also introduced a new Spend Guard tool that can use artificial intelligence to identify fraudulent activity by reviewing employee spending transactions.

For more on these stories and the rest of the headlines from the Workforce Spend Management space, check out the Tracker’s News and Trends section.

Deep Dive: Paper Checks Fall As Corporate Cards Soar

When field-based workers from full- and part-time employees, to contractors and freelancers have to make purchases on the job, they’ve traditionally held on to receipts to get reimbursed for the expense. Once they turn in their receipts, they must wait days or weeks to receive a paper check in the mail, a method of payment that ranks lowest in terms of satisfaction, according to research inside the Disbursement Satisfaction Index.

The unpopularity of the paper check, combined with vulnerability for fraud, is creating new opportunities for corporate payment cards to be used by the mobile workforce. The Tracker’s inaugural Deep Dive explores how corporate cards can offer flexibility for workers to make purchases while allowing companies to easily track spending.

Payment Cards Come To Disaster Relief Workers’ Aid

Supplementing and tracking worker expenses can be especially tricky for organizations that respond to disasters. When these events strike, rescue workers and volunteers rush to affected areas to provide food, clean water, medicine and other supplies to repair the affected region.

However, though nonprofits may be ready with the funds needed to help the effort, it can take time for corporate credit cards to arrive at a site or for wired funds to clear often the one thing relief workers can’t spare during disaster. Cash can be used quickly, but carrying large sums can be risky for workers in disaster-ravaged regions.

PYMNTS recently caught up with Erik Dyson, co-founder of All Hands and Hearts – Smart Response, and Lori Sylvia, All Hands’ office manager, as part of the inaugural Tracker feature story to learn how a card-based payment solution is helping the natural disaster response nonprofit get money to staff and volunteers safely and securely, right when they need it. And, because each disaster varies from one to the next, these tools allow All Hands to produce more accurate budgets for each scenario, Dyson said.

“It allows our teams, who do financial planning, to really understand our cost structures so we can accurately predict what it’s going to cost us going forward,” Dyson told PYMNTS.

To read the full story, download the inaugural Workforce Spend Management Tracker™.

About The Tracker™

The Workforce Spend Management Tracker™, powered by PEX, is a monthly report that examines how corporate spend solutions work to empower businesses with mobile workforces, to make field-based purchases and deeper insight into how funds are being spent.