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The Definitive Guide to Spend Management

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The broader spend management ecosystem.

The hallmark spend management concepts of visibility, control, and accounting automation are increasingly incorporated into other payment tools and accounting platforms offered in the market. While these incremental solutions do not cover a full spectrum spend management solution, we see a trend toward convergence of spend management functionality by these companies as they build out their systems.

Corporate cards.

Many of the new innovative corporate card companies, like Brex and newcomer Ramp, have added some control and automation features into their cards. Their business model hinges on the interchange fees associated with the flow of money, and the control software they offer supports the safe and efficient use of those cards to encourage transaction volume. This sector is expected to continue to add light accounting automation features as they venture wider into the spend management space. But despite providing some of the features found in a spend management system, they are currently only partial solutions.

Purchase order systems.

Individual PO systems, too, are beginning to incorporate some of the features of spend management. Companies like Procurify have implemented facets of vendor management and leverage their data, but they still neglect all parts of spend derived from cards.
*
Some companies use broader communication tools, like email or Slack, for handling employee expense reimbursement and purchase orders. We do not include these makeshift solutions on our table.

Procure-to-pay (P2P).

Manufacturing companies, and those with a large inventory needs, require a centralized spending system to help manage the procurement process. Spend management systems borrow many of the workflows from P2P systems, though they typically don’t accommodate the same level of vendor management and price evaluation — there’s a notable exception by enterprise-level spend management platforms, like Coupa, that offer broader P2P functionality.

A highly-centralized vendor evaluation, contracting, fulfillment, and spending process that P2P offers is necessary for some companies. But a spend management system could well be the right fit for a company seeking the type of control that a centralized system provides without the cost and complexity.

Spend management platforms.

The few in-depth spend management solutions available offer a range of functionality that address the varied needs of companies depending on size and complexity. Coupa, for instance, offers powerful enterprise-level software, and yet it’s generally seen to be too expensive and over-engineered by small to midsize businesses. Very small businesses (less than 20 employees) often rely on low cost Divvy to cover basic expense management needs.

As companies grow, they need an easy-to-use but comprehensive system to meet the growing complexity of their operations. There are a few options, like Airbase, that are unified, deeply integrated platforms. Since this is an emerging sector, the small field of competitors have not settled into a standardized set of features and functionality. The vendor questionnaire in section 10 can help you with your due diligence as you compare options.
Jim Cook, CFO, Orbital  Insight,  Co-founder,  Netflix
Jim Cook
CFO, Orbital Insight, Co-founder, Netflix
Accounting and finance have gone from quarterly reporting to monthly reporting to, now, analyzing daily figures on our dashboard. We’re now reacting more than planning. Our purpose is the same: to make better decisions. But we can’t do it the old way.

Conclusion.

Spend management is the next wave approach to accounting automation. It automates not only the accounting tasks, but also the operational workflows associated with managing a company’s spend. Accounts payable represents one of the more demanding areas for an accounting team. And distributed spending has made it increasingly complicated: more and more employees are committing their companies to purchases for which the accounting team must pay and book corresponding entries to the GL.  

Spend management is a holistic approach to solving the risks and inefficiencies associated with non-payroll spend. Because it communicates directly with a company’s GL, and because it is connected to every dollar spent, spend management lets businesses do things that current financial stacks make impossible. It’s expected to continue to add functionality and broaden its utility through integrations with adjacent software. The resulting time, along with its tools, make accounting and finance resources much more valuable to their companies.

Are you ready to learn more about spend management? Schedule your demo with Airbase, or see our guide for questions to ask a vendor here.

Guides and ebooks

The Definitive Guide to Spend Management

08

The broader spend management ecosystem.

The hallmark spend management concepts of visibility, control, and accounting automation are increasingly incorporated into other payment tools and accounting platforms offered in the market. While these incremental solutions do not cover a full spectrum spend management solution, we see a trend toward convergence of spend management functionality by these companies as they build out their systems.

Corporate cards.

Many of the new innovative corporate card companies, like Brex and newcomer Ramp, have added some control and automation features into their cards. Their business model hinges on the interchange fees associated with the flow of money, and the control software they offer supports the safe and efficient use of those cards to encourage transaction volume. This sector is expected to continue to add light accounting automation features as they venture wider into the spend management space. But despite providing some of the features found in a spend management system, they are currently only partial solutions.

Purchase order systems.

Individual PO systems, too, are beginning to incorporate some of the features of spend management. Companies like Procurify have implemented facets of vendor management and leverage their data, but they still neglect all parts of spend derived from cards.
*
Some companies use broader communication tools, like email or Slack, for handling employee expense reimbursement and purchase orders. We do not include these makeshift solutions on our table.

Procure-to-pay (P2P).

Manufacturing companies, and those with a large inventory needs, require a centralized spending system to help manage the procurement process. Spend management systems borrow many of the workflows from P2P systems, though they typically don’t accommodate the same level of vendor management and price evaluation — there’s a notable exception by enterprise-level spend management platforms, like Coupa, that offer broader P2P functionality.

A highly-centralized vendor evaluation, contracting, fulfillment, and spending process that P2P offers is necessary for some companies. But a spend management system could well be the right fit for a company seeking the type of control that a centralized system provides without the cost and complexity.

Spend management platforms.

The few in-depth spend management solutions available offer a range of functionality that address the varied needs of companies depending on size and complexity. Coupa, for instance, offers powerful enterprise-level software, and yet it’s generally seen to be too expensive and over-engineered by small to midsize businesses. Very small businesses (less than 20 employees) often rely on low cost Divvy to cover basic expense management needs.

As companies grow, they need an easy-to-use but comprehensive system to meet the growing complexity of their operations. There are a few options, like Airbase, that are unified, deeply integrated platforms. Since this is an emerging sector, the small field of competitors have not settled into a standardized set of features and functionality. The vendor questionnaire in section 10 can help you with your due diligence as you compare options.
Jim Cook, CFO, Orbital  Insight,  Co-founder,  Netflix
Jim Cook
CFO, Orbital Insight, Co-founder, Netflix
Accounting and finance have gone from quarterly reporting to monthly reporting to, now, analyzing daily figures on our dashboard. We’re now reacting more than planning. Our purpose is the same: to make better decisions. But we can’t do it the old way.

Conclusion.

Spend management is the next wave approach to accounting automation. It automates not only the accounting tasks, but also the operational workflows associated with managing a company’s spend. Accounts payable represents one of the more demanding areas for an accounting team. And distributed spending has made it increasingly complicated: more and more employees are committing their companies to purchases for which the accounting team must pay and book corresponding entries to the GL.  

Spend management is a holistic approach to solving the risks and inefficiencies associated with non-payroll spend. Because it communicates directly with a company’s GL, and because it is connected to every dollar spent, spend management lets businesses do things that current financial stacks make impossible. It’s expected to continue to add functionality and broaden its utility through integrations with adjacent software. The resulting time, along with its tools, make accounting and finance resources much more valuable to their companies.

Are you ready to learn more about spend management? Schedule your demo with Airbase, or see our guide for questions to ask a vendor here.

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