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The Order Blog is the go-to resource for finance and operations professionals who want to grow their business.

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The order team

The goal of a Finance team

When it comes to the word “Finance”, most people—and some companies, as well— get overwhelmed. They think of complicated spreadsheets, calculations, budgets, you name it. And, the truth of the matter is, that can certainly be the case.  But, for the sake of simplicity, let’s break the role of your Finance team down to the brass tacks: the main function of a high-performing Finance team is planning for future growth. The way your Finance team can truly  add value to your company is if they are able to access cash flow, identify financial strengths and weaknesses, and set your company up for growth and success in the future.
The problem with many Finance teams today is that they aren’t able to plan for the future when they are stuck doing mundane tasks that can easily be automated. Companies want to grow, but their Finance teams are stuck doing tasks that chip hours away from their work every week—making strategic planning close to impossible. It’s a classic Catch 22 of the Finance world, and we can to put a stop to it. We’re here for two reasons, and two reasons only:
1.) To help your Finance team automate daily tasks
2.) To save your company time and money by allowing time to strategize growth
Let’s go over 4 grueling, time-consuming tasks your Finance team probably hates doing, and learn how to automate them so your Finance team can get back to what you’re really paying them to do: grow your business.

Grueling Task #1: Purchase Approvals

What happens if you give a teenager a credit card and send them to the mall? Rhetorical question. However, that is exactly how some companies run their purchasing process. Managers and employees with purchasing privileges are allowed to, in many cases, buy whatever they want—without them having to be approved by upper management. As a result, each month, companies get overloaded with invoices from purchases that they not only didn’t approve of, but that they didn’t budget for. 
This creates what is called “rogue spend” or “maverick spend”—companies spending more than what is allotted for product purchases; the small purchases add up, and companies have no choice but to pay the “surprise” invoices.
And, the thing is, not even big, powerhouse companies are immune to a lack of an approval workflow and spend control. CorePower Yoga, before gaining full control over their finances and growing into a nationally recognized fitness brand, were spending upwards of $50,000 in unapproved spend every month—an issue that, put lightly, was “causing the Finance team a ton of headaches.”

How can I get my company to stop buying unapproved products?

It’s a simple solution—a one-click solution, in fact. Centralize your company’s purchasing process on a platform that allows you to “Accept”, “Reject”, or suggest a more cost-effective solution with a click of a button. Schedule a demo with Order today, and never spend another dollar without approval.

Grueling Task #2: Spend Analysis

Truth: Spend Analysis is a critical process if you want to grow your company. 
Also truth: Many companies have no idea what they are spending. 
Spend analysis and total spend control have essentially become a Holy Grail for some companies. They want it, they know they need to have it, but it is very difficult for them to achieve. For Finance teams in particular, spend control and strategic growth is an absolute priority. That being said, why is it so difficult for companies to have spend control and do proper spend analysis? 
Truthfully, it all comes down to organization. 
Many companies simply do not have an organized purchasing process. Without organized approvals, a transparent order process, and centralized payment system, it is impossible to know exactly what your company is spending at any given time. Order’s bi-monthly spend reports give companies like Elliott Physical Therapy the ability to look at how much they have spent, how much they have saved, and they can pace themselves in making smarter, more-informed business decisions. Finance Director for Elliot PT Caroline Dodero states that “having full visibility into each clinic helps [growth] tremendously.” 

How can my Finance team keep track of our spending?

The best way for your Finance team to track spend: use a purchasing platform that gives you line-level, real-time spend visibility. Schedule a demo with Order today and stay on top of every dollar your company spends

Grueling Task #3: Invoice Management

Your Finance team is supposed to strategically plan for the future—plain and simple. However, that’s not always what your team actually ends up doing. Aside from having to look at numbers all day, there is one thing that Finance teams have to do that is less than ideal: clean up messes. 
Now, we’re not talking about the mess at your office’s coffee station. We’re talking about the messy stacks of invoices that are constantly coming in as though you worked at a Kinkos; so many invoices that your entire Finance team wastes hours and hours of their day by trying to organize vendor invoices and asking themselves: “Where did this invoice come from? Was this in our budget?”
If this sounds like your finance team, trust us, you’re not alone. 
Finance and accounting teams spend hours shuffling through hundreds of receipts to make sure every product and purchase is accounted for. If you’re trying to open new stores and grow your business, your invoice overload may be 10x worse
So, when we say “Invoice Management”, what does that mean? Well, good vendor management is when a company is able to pay all of their hundreds of invoices on time. Superior invoice management is only having to pay one invoice—with all of your purchases—once a month. When your finance team only has to pay one invoice every month instead of spending valuable time sorting stacks, it gives them more time to do other, more important things like planning for your company’s future. 

How can my Finance team have better vendor management?

Only use one vendor of record. Pay all of your vendors in one monthly invoice—saving your Finance team the headache of hundreds of messy invoices every month. See Order in action today.

Grueling Task #4: Strategic Sourcing

A.K.A: keeping up with the constant pressures to cut costs and save as much money on products as possible. Nobody likes having to price shop; in fact, having your finance teams spending hours every week searching for the best prices on products could actually end up costing your company a lot more than they end up “saving” the company in the long-run. 
Strategic sourcing, for many companies, is a bottleneck for not only the productivity of the Finance team, but for the company’s overall growth. Clinton Management, a New York City based property management company, had this exact realization; small purchases were adding up, and they had no idea where to start in order to find the best deals on products and services they used every day. Purchasing Manager Nadia Nizam explains, “We needed to find a way to save money wherever we could. Order finds us savings for all of our office supplies”—saving Clinton Management an average of $1,200 on products every month. 
A simple and automatic strategic sourcing process is make or break for companies; the time and money savings of strategic sourcing can be used to give your Finance team more time to focus on how to reinvest that money for future growth. Whether you’re looking for the best prices on office tissues or laptops for the office, it helps to have all of the price-shopping done for you. 

How your Finance team can find the best prices on products

Automate your strategic sourcing; utilize Order’s product substitution feature—suggesting high-quality products that are similar to those in your cart at checkout and save an average of 8% on your product purchases annually. Get started and save thousands—in one click.