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How Navan Empowers and Unlocks Excellence of Finance Teams

How Navan Empowers and Unlocks Excellence of Finance Teams

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Julia Jansen

19 Aug 2023
3 minute read
Julian Jansen, VP Global Finance Operations at Navan, shares how tech can empower finance teams.

In today’s fast-paced financial world, a pressing question has surfaced: How do we best blend the talents of our finance professionals with the advantages of cutting-edge technology?

The answer lies in trust — trusting and leveraging finance professionals’ knowledge and wisdom in combination with innovative software.

After all, mistakes in financial transactions can have costly consequences. So, when we consider new technology solutions, it’s crucial to ensure they align with a company’s values and standard finance practices. And who better to judge that alignment than the finance leaders and their teams? They’re connected to the pulse of the business and the people best positioned to protect the company’s assets.

Julia asks...

"How can we successfully integrate the invaluable human expertise of our finance professionals with the unparalleled efficiencies heralded by modern technology?"

Leveraging Tech with Real-World Examples

Incorporating technology allows finance professionals to pivot from routine reviewing to economic thinking. No longer mired in repetitive tasks, these professionals can now gain the bandwidth to conceptualize and implement broader changes. 

Here’s a real-life example. Without technology, a finance admin would have to review every Uber invoice and check to verify whether it falls within the policy guidelines. This review usually happens days or weeks after the Uber trip takes place. 

The traveler would only know the policy guideline if they had checked the company Confluence page (or wherever the policy lives digitally) or asked around. Since they’re not likely to have done so, the finance admin has to tediously pore through each trip and go back to the user weeks later to request money back or warn them about future transactions.

Today, however, employers can enforce policy at the time of the transaction, thanks to real-time controls. A modern system can automatically accept all trips charged on a corporate card up to the policy limit and only flag outliers. Expense admins, therefore, only need to review those outliers.

They can also look at the number of Uber trips across the company and decide whether they need to fine-tune the policy. They might decide to increase the limit for U.S. trips while lowering it for APAC trips if they believe it could lead to overall cost savings. With that level of visibility and control, finance professionals can trust the technology and stop reviewing every transaction.

Here’s another example: AP accountant Emily once spent hours verifying paper-based or digital tax invoices and manually typed the VAT breakdowns into the journal entries. She spent most of her day verifying and typing entries one by one. 

But, when her team introduced an automated expense management solution, Emily’s role shifted dramatically. She no longer sifts through invoices, types out the data, reviews it for compliance, and manually reconciles it to the charge. Now, the technology automatically matches the charge to the invoice, breaks down the VAT components for her compliance review, and imports accurate records into the ERP. 

Emily can trust the technology to reduce manual data entry, minimize errors, and speed up invoice review. It also frees up more of Emily’s time so she can focus her expertise on analyzing data, identifying cost-saving opportunities, and ensuring accurate financial reporting and compliance. 

It’s important to note that this technology didn’t replace Emily. Instead, it reduced the time spent on routine transaction processing and elevated her role to handle more strategic financial management. This shift illustrates the power of trust and partnership between human expertise and technology.

Evolution of the Finance Manager Role

This tech-driven transformation doesn’t push everyone to become tech experts. It’s about utilizing technology as a supportive tool and amplifying what we’re already good at —  not changing our core roles. 

Just because a finance professional can take on more complex tasks also doesn’t mean they must take on a managerial position. Trustworthy tech broadens the scope of finance professionals’ impact without necessarily expanding job titles or responsibilities.

It’s essential to collaborate with our finance teams during this evolution. Their insights and feedback are golden, and their voices ensure that technology remains a helpful ally, not an overwhelming force.

Learn more about Navan Expense and how it can propel your finance team into the future.

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