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Five trends shaping the expense management and finance industry in 2024


Businesses of all sizes are progressively adopting a more strategic approach, moving beyond traditional financial management practices and towards collaborative business partners.

This shift sees executive leaders navigating through uncertainties, driving the effective implementation of strategies across the business, and playing a key role in managing change. According to Gartner’s 2024 Finance Executive Survey, digital transformation and improving the finance function are top priorities for businesses in the new year. (1) A critical aspect of this transformation is their proactive engagement with emerging trends and technologies. 

Fabian Calle, managing director, small and medium business, SAP Concur Australia and New Zealand said, “In 2023, more change was witnessed than could have been predicted, and it’s likely that 2024 will be no different. This means more technology and more disruption. Managers are facing greater pressure to demonstrate profitable growth, making technology a top priority as it becomes increasingly integral to all aspects of financial operations. That’s why business leaders need to be laser focused on people, processes, and technology, and look for ways to automate routine business processes such as travel, expense, and invoice management to gain precise insights into their expenditures.”

In 2024, the expense management and finance industry will be shaped by several key trends, including:

Technology and budget flexibility

Managers are increasingly advised to incorporate flexibility in their planning, especially given the economic challenges anticipated for the year ahead. Embracing integrated management platforms that leverage emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence (AI) and automation, are critical in letting finance teams adopt a more strategic approach in an unpredictable economic environment.

Virtual payments for simplified reimbursement

The shift towards virtual payments is set to become more integrated into business processes. With the application of AI, these payment systems are expected to quickly validate transactions for improved compliance, leading to a more efficient and near-immediate reimbursement process. This change is poised to make financial management more streamlined, efficient, and less cumbersome.

Predictive analytics in spend management

The rise of predictive analytics tools, powered by AI, is expected to significantly enhance business operations, especially in spend management. These tools will provide critical insights and solutions, empowering executive leaders to optimise their operations and make better data-driven decisions. This development marks a significant shift towards more informed and strategic operational management.

Digital transformation

The integration of digital technology across all facets of business operations is becoming increasingly crucial for maintaining agility and efficiency. In this digital transformation journey, finance teams are guiding business leaders to adopt new technologies while reshaping business models to create more value for customers and enhance overall business agility.

New Distribution Capability (NDC) in travel

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives are becoming essential components of company travel programs. The implementation of the NDC standard is set to transform the retail of airline products, particularly integrated travel management solutions which offer personalised experiences, and align travel programs with DEI initiatives.

Fabian Calle said, “There’s no definitive guide to predict future challenges; however, businesses of all sizes equipped with sophisticated, intelligent integrated management systems are well-positioned to start the new year off right. These systems, enhanced with AI, offer a comprehensive solution for simplifying the tracking and control of costs and providing insight into emerging business trends. By consolidating key business processes such as travel, expense, and invoice management with the help of such systems, businesses can effectively adapt to the economic and market shifts anticipated in the coming year.”

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