Cost Savings
What Are Unmanaged Expenses, and Why Are They Bad For Business?

What Are Unmanaged Expenses, and Why Are They Bad For Business?

Alex Roha

29 Aug 2022
4 minute read
Image of hand scrolling on phone with metrics across it. Phone is attached electronically to corporate card and some form of currency.

Cost savings are rarely absent from corporate financial agendas, and for a good reason: A company's comprehensive economic strategy is a clear indicator of its future survival and growth. However, procurement teams are often met with the challenges of unexpected spending, maverick costs, and small transactions that add up over time.

This unforeseen purchasing often takes departments over budget, despite the best planning, and reduces the ability to drive down costs over time.

Rather than consistently combat a host of unmanaged transactions, deployable tools and solutions can help finance teams become proactive rather than reactive when managing expenses.

What Are Unmanaged Expenses?

Unmanaged expenses are any spending that occurs outside a company's defined procurement cycle.

Unmanaged travel is an excellent example. Employees must book independently and manage all travel arrangements when a company does not have a program or tools for booking business travel. This process leads to higher costs, as travelers book what they want with no guidance or oversight; finance teams are then left in the dark on spending until post-trip expense reports are filed.

There is also the chance that employees ignore typical procurement processes either deliberately or because there are not enough resources that explain and enforce a company's expense management policies. These purchases result in maverick or rogue spending patterns and can be amplified by handing out corporate cards that lack built-in policy controls.

How To Make Unmanaged Expenses Managed

Because every dollar expended is an investment back into your business's larger narrative, it’s important to set expectations around how employees manage spend. Implementing a solution earlier in the company’s formation sets teams up for long-term financial success—whether that’s in paying suppliers on time, keeping costs low, or strategizing departmental budgets.

Below are examples of processes a solution should include that will take expenses from unmanaged to managed.

Real-Time Digital Transparency

The first key to taking control is in capturing greater visibility into spend. Rather than compiling reports at the end of the month and estimating for the next, a comprehensive expense management solution should constantly feed finance teams information.

Access to real-time spend analytics supports better financial planning, budgeting, and forecasting. With the real-time contextual insight of business spend data, finance teams can reduce spend leakage while gaining accurate forecasting and policy improvement opportunities.

For instance, Navan Expense corporate cards update admin dashboards the moment an employee swipes or taps a card. With this data, companies can drill deeper into spend data across departments, geography, date range, currencies, points of sales, and other characteristics for a more accurate end-to-end viewpoint.

Automated Payments

An intuitive expense management solution will offer automated processes that keep spending in check and employees within policy. When reconciliation is instantaneous, finance teams are better equipped to manage cash flow.

The right solution helps reduce human error by automatically filing expenses and automating approvals, which streamlines the entire process from purchase to reconciliation. In turn, that process gives companies more control over appropriate levels of spending.

Automatic receipt extraction can also help accounting teams not have to chase down employees for paper receipts and instead upload purchases at the point of sale from users' mobile phones.

By simultaneously deploying a smart corporate card that hosts built-in controls, policies are automatically enforceable. Employees are more confident in using corporate cards, knowing they won't overspend, and companies can mitigate rogue transactions at the source.

Technological Singularity

Many disparate legacy solutions will point fingers, blaming one another for gaps in technology. The reality is that these systems were built to manage different needs in the moment rather than build connections that work cross-functionally.

A unified expense management platform should be the seamless incorporation of contextual travel, spend, and expense data under one simplified roof. A unified solution closes those gaps and can include features like powerful reporting, traveler incentives, and gamification right from users' phones or desktops.

The Navan Approach to Managed Spend

Having the right spend management solution prevents unnecessary costs and cushions your business against diminishing margins.

Navan Expense gives finance teams ultimate spend control to drive savings, productivity, and compliance. With Navan Expense's spend management solution, admins can implement proactive policies programmatically built into smart cards to automate expense management, from swipe to reconciliation. Interactive dashboards provide real-time transaction visibility for more informed decision-making on a growing international scale.

Ready to streamline company spending and eliminate expense reports? Schedule a demo to see how our spend solutions work, or get up and running with Navan in just 5 mins.

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