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Tools & Tips

How to prepare your business for a rocky start to 2023

Growing a business is never a piece of cake, but the economic outlook for 2023 is making it an even more daunting task. The cost of living squeeze, rising inflation and falling investments are all having a considerable impact on company finances. 

Looking to give yourself a head start in the New Year? Follow our tips to take the right steps for your business during tough times.

Get full visibility over your spending 

Knowledge is power. The more you know about what you’re spending (and where), the better chance you have of spotting opportunities to save. Whether it’s cutting back on subscriptions you no longer use, turning the heating down in your office or reducing your team’s card limits, every little bit helps. Plus, having a real-time spend report can give you valuable insights for future budget planning and adjustments.

For instance, the Analytics page in the Pleo web app provides you with a detailed overview of your company spend. You can keep track and analyse your expenses in different ways, including:

  • Spend by category (e.g. travel, software etc.)
  • Spend by tags
  • Spend by team (based on the teams you’ve set up)

You can also see aggregate information for your selected period of time, which highlights:

  • Top merchants for where your spend is going
  • Top spenders
  • Team members with the highest number of missing receipts.

And with Pleo’s new multi-entity solution, controlling your global business spend in one place is easier than ever. Manage every team’s expenses through one connected tool, wherever they’re based. We help you automate tedious manual admin, reduce human error and simplify the list of processes your finance team manages.

Involve the finance team with strategic decisions

Remember when the finance team was responsible for just the numbers? Those days are long gone. Now, CFOs would do well to be acting as the CEO’s co-pilot, steering the business towards a lucrative future. 

Our Global CFO, Anita Szarek, is a big believer in a company’s finance leader being their secret weapon, affirming that “the CFO needs to bring the C-suite and employees towards a focus on profitability and sustainability”.

Thanks to their direct view into every department, finance professionals are perfectly placed to inform the company’s overall strategy. To become a more effective business partner, finance teams should think about how they can use the numbers they’re so comfortable dealing with to help leadership make data-driven decisions. Access to data can help them allocate resources, speed up processes and plan strategically. (Good thing there’s that handy Analytics page.)

“With Pleo, I know that my team is using minutes to book all the entries instead of hours, and then they can move on to a new, more useful task.” - Martin Dalskov, Accounting Manager at Podimo

It’s not just strategy that CFOs can get involved in. 38% of CFOs are now responsible for IT, and with a business spending solution like Pleo doing the leg work when it comes to manual admin, finance leaders have more time to focus on marketing, employee retention and more.

Plan for every potential outcome

It’s all well and good hoping that Plan A works out. But failing to plan is planning to fail, so having some measures up your sleeve for a potential Plan B and C will give your business the best chance of not just surviving, but thriving.

The finance team has access to all the figures – profit, loss and everything in between. Armed with this knowledge, they can help business leaders work out the likelihood of hitting, exceeding or missing revenue targets. 

When it comes to planning for every scenario, it’s a good idea to have different options for:

  • Success metrics
  • Stakeholders and roles
  • Scope and budget
  • Milestones and deliverables
  • Timeline and schedule
  • Communication plan

Reassess your expense policy

As businesses start to feel the pinch and budgets tighten, rewriting your expense policy is one simple way to adapt to a changing financial situation.

Maybe up until now, you gave employees free reign over how much they spent on client meals. Free flowing drinks, set menus, the lot. But now there’s a need for stricter boundaries. With 85% of UK employees confessing they’ve lied about expenses (yikes!), having a clear expense policy in place means there’s no room for doubt.

When rethinking your expense policy and budget per department and occasion, make sure it’s:

  1. Clear – Is it easy to understand for new and old employees alike?
  2. Fair - Does it consider all employees equally and not give some more liberties than others?
  3. Regularly reviewed - Are your spending limits realistic based on the year and state of business?

Try Pleo’s free expense policy builder and help your team understand what’s okay to expense and what they need to cover themselves.

Keep lines of communication open

Anyone who has one eye on the news will know that things could be better right now . 

With so much uncertainty in the air, you owe it to your employees to keep them up to date with the business’ goals and progress towards them. Particularly given that according to IBM, 72% of employees don’t have a full understanding of the company’s strategy. If they don’t know what they’re working towards, how can they contribute and stay motivated?

Communicating with your employees is key to improving their productivity and building a strong team. In fact, four in five workers believe that effective business communications helps their performance. We saw how important it was to be open and transparent with your colleagues during the Covid lockdowns, and it’s more relevant than ever today – especially when many people are still working remotely.

If there’s a big shift in direction, why not organise a company-wide meeting to let everyone know and give teams an opportunity to ask questions? Are you checking in with your direct team on a regular basis? If not, try to do so as it’s a good way to address any concerns they might have before they start to spiral. 

It’s also worth asking employees how they like to be communicated with – is email or Slack more effective? Your team will thank you for it.

Ultimately, no one knows what the future holds – whether it’s weeks or years from now. So it’s best to be prepared. Pleo can help you stay on top of your spending and give your team the gift of time to focus on the work that really matters. 

Plus, get up to 1% cashback on all your spending in 2023 when you sign up for one of Pleo’s annual plans before 31 January 2023. Save time and money on all-things-work to give your business a helping hand. Get started now.

It pays to use Pleo

Get cashback on your business purchases when you sign up to one of our yearly plans before 31 January. Save time and money – and not just during the holiday season.

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