“CFOs are focussing on efficient expense management rather than being an expense controller”

Saru Kaushal, Vice President and General Manager, Global Corporate Payments, American Express India, throws light on the changing strategy of CFOs to combat rising expenses.

In these uncertain times, what would you say are the main challenges faced by CFOs in cost saving?
 
Saru Kaushal: The role of CFOs today is becoming fundamentally challenging as they are focused towards ensuring revenue growth while also ensuring control on expenses. CFOs are not just responsible for managing business finance but are also involved in taking strategic decisions along with the CEOs. In terms of expense management, CFOs face a major challenge in establishing data processing, analytics and technologies for day to day functioning. Moreover, a high amount of capital is being invested in training and retaining talent. An additional expense of business travel and marketing have also become highly important which corporates can’t ignore.
 
How is it possible for CFOs to keep a cap on mounting expenses when business expenditures are rising unprecedently?
 
Saru Kaushal: Inspite of all the efforts being made by CFOs to keep a control on expenses and ensure maximum revenue growth, CFOs find it challenging to keep a check on expenditure, and avoid spill over and wastage of expenses. Automating expense management is a growing trend, and CFOs are focused on investing heavily to establish a centralised expense management system.  Growing number of MSMEs are also realising the importance of investing in automated expense management solutions, ensuring efficiency rather than controlling necessary expenses. 
 
Are there any technological tools that can help CFOs manage the company’s expenses more efficiently?
 
Saru Kaushal: Data analytics focused digital expense management solutions help corporates track expenses, identify expenditure trends and recognize abnormal expenses. Also since every transaction is documented, there isn’t any chance of fraud or financial errors occurring due to manual expense management. 
 
“Automating expense management is a growing trend, and CFOs are focused towards investing heavily to establish a centralised expense management system.”
 
American Express provides technology focused expense management solutions; Buyer Initiated Payments, American Express Purchasing Solutions and Corporate Cards to over 600,000 corporates globally. In India American Express is helping about 13, 000 large corporates and MSMEs to increase their top line and bottom line growth. Additionally, the solutions come with an advantage of MIS reports, helping companies drive compliance and transparency at each vertical of the organization.
 
Investment in effective expense management solutions can help corporates keep a cap on mounting expenses ensuring up to 9% of cost saving. Also, simple steps like frequent review of finance policies, usage of a designated corporate card, rendering corporate services like cab hailing and lounging through a designated chain of vendors can help companies save on expenses.
 
What is the suite of technological solutions provided by Amex for expense management?
 
Saru Kaushal: Being a global leader in expense management solutions, we understand the varying requirements of businesses, therefore offer customized solutions as per an organization’s size, need & requirement. We offer a gamut of customized expense management solutions to over 600,000 corporates globally, and 70% of Fortune 500 companies use our solutions.
 
• Corporate Purchasing Solution - This customizable and flexible web-based corporate account tool helps organizations streamline their commodity spend on items such as telecom, stationary, utility bills, procurement etc. This helps companies drive savings for business, by improving purchasing procedure and ensures greater compliance and control over expenses. American Express uses its proprietary closed loop model for data analytics to provide 24/7 access to MIS reports online. The data analyzed can be sorted, and customized according to a corporate’s individual requirement.
 
• Corporate Cards - With American Express’s Corporate Cards namely, The American Express® Platinum Corporate Card, The Jet Airways American Express® Corporate Card, The American Express® Corporate Meeting Card and The American Express® Corporate Card, organizations can efficiently manage their travel and entertainment expense, the second most controllable expense after employee salaries.  Moreover, companies also get the advantage to redeem fabulous reward points.
 
• Business Travel Accounts - With the American Express Business Travel Accounts (BTA), corporates get the opportunity of consolidating and centralizing all travel and entertainment billings helping them keep a tab on expenses. BTA also provides comprehensive travel data, and monthly billing for extended payment terms. With single account number, companies enjoy improved expense visibility. 
 
• Buyer Initiated Payments - is a push payment solution linked with American Express corporate card, to ensure complete control and timely payments to vendors. The solution provides companies with extended payment terms, ensuring timely negotiated payments to vendors. This online solution removes the hassle of paperwork, ensuring all the documents are submitted digitally. 

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