An increasingly-global business landscape offers significant opportunities and rewards.
However, with large-scale growth means extra responsibilities, complexities, and increased risk for businesses.
Organisations expanding their global footprint must consider how best to manage the challenges that come with newfound reach, according to SAP Concur, a global company providing travel and expense management services to businesses.
Before expanding globally, organisations must evaluate their capabilities and potential for improvement, says SAP Concur.
Matthew Goss, managing director, ANZ, SAP Concur, said: "An organisation’s existing problems will only amplify with the introduction of new partners, new customers, and increased scope.
“It’s important that organisations looking to scale up address present internal issues before moving towards growth."
SAP Concur cites three common challenges organisations face when going global, and how these obstacles can be addressed in the short-term, for long-term success:
1. Inefficient processes
Every business process either contributes to growth or stymies it. It’s important to focus on improving processes such as data entry and management. Manual data input costs unnecessary time, particularly when growth brings new spend, payment, billing, travel, and income data.
Major growth demands major internal change so, it’s important to consider moving to a modern, automated spend management solution and partnering with a provider that works alongside an organisation’s finance team. This can help a business match it’s spend activity with the new demands growth brings.
2. Poor visibility into spend policies and procedures
With increased scope, employees are likely to spend more time travelling for work, and spending company funds along the way. This information can get muddled, lost, and inaccurately processed, as invoices and receipts are forwarded to finance teams, who need to translate different languages on invoices, and take into account time differences.
Organisations going global need to embrace new and digitalised spend technologies, because, when employees can instantly upload transaction data to an accessible, shared storage system, numbers are crunched faster and more accurately, and, managers can monitor spend in real-time. Visibility into spend helps managers make more informed decisions about their company’s purchasing activity all over the globe and make effective financial decisions with large-scale scope.
3. Exposure to potential risks
The benefits of expanding into new regions and markets also comes with new risks. Organisations need to be aware of the economic and social climates for each market they interact with, as well as the consequences of failing to comply with trade restrictions, or financial and data policies. For example, Australian businesses with staff or operations in the European Union (EU) need to abide by data management restrictions dictated by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Despite operating out of Australia, companies that fail to store their consumers’ data, or manage spend, in accordance with regionally-specific laws, are often liable to major fines and backlash. Organisations can avoid this by ensuring all spend and data storage is uniform, regulated, and available for managers to review.
"The challenges associated with upwards business scalability are worth facing when the potential rewards are so high,” said Mr Goss.
“Developing global relationships, reaching new customers, and enjoying unique experiences are all extremely positive for businesses. However, growth is best achieved when organisations manage their spend data intelligently, strategically, and proactively to cater for internal and external business environments."
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