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Digitisation accelerates amongst European finance teams despite adoption challenges

The digitisation of finance departments is accelerating across Europe, new research finds. For the majority of companies (38%), the most important functions within their finance department are now digitised. In the past 12 months, the main focus was on financial accounting, budget creation and management, and the creation of financial plans. Yet despite the progress made, there is still a long way to go until finance teams achieve full digitisation.

These findings were released from the latest market research by Rydoo, a leading international SaaS software solution for managing business travel and expense reports. The survey explores the current status of digitisation amongst European finance departments, based on responses from 403 finance executives in December 2021, with at least 1,000 employees in the UK, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

The UK is leading the way with digitisation, with 38% of executives in the region stating that their finance departments are already fully digitised. In France, just 8% have achieved full digitisation but were most likely (41%), alongside Germany (39%) and Austria (38%), to have digitised all major functions. In Switzerland, the highest proportion (42%) of executives were still operating with a mix of online and offline processes. 

Today, correct and timely invoicing is now the highest priority (32%) for the finance departments surveyed across all countries. In second place is the need for all data to be accurate and connected (30%). While digitalisation can assist in meeting these objectives, making complete digital transformation a reality is being hampered by some key challenges.

First, the time-consuming transition to new solutions (37%) and second, IT security concerns (30%). While Germany, Austria and France perceive the former as the biggest challenge, the UK is primarily concerned about IT security. Executives in Switzerland, meanwhile, lack the necessary budget. In addition, less than one third (29%) of executives surveyed said their digital finance tools worked together seamlessly.

Across Europe, the need for faster reimbursement (33%) and a desire to embrace new technology across the business (32%) were the highest drivers of expense management systems (EMS) adoption amongst finance departments. However, the pace of digitising specific areas of the finance function varied between countries. For example, the UK and Austria were the two most likely markets to say that everyone kept paper receipts and filled in a paper report form. In total, just 6% of those surveyed are using a completely digital automated expense management process.

That said, those already using digital systems for their expenses are seeing vast efficiency gains, with half (50%) saving 5-10 hours of work time per week and 24% saving more than 10 hours. Despite these potential time savings, the majority of companies still rely on paper (40%) for their expense management. 

“Our latest research shows the significant strides made amongst European finance teams to digitise key functions of their departments and achieve greater accuracy and efficiency. However, it is clear that more has to be done in order to maximise the full benefits of digitisation for both employees and the business. When looking at specific areas such as expense management, the valuable time saved by automating repetitive, low-touch tasks are a great case for increased adoption. If businesses can overcome the challenges facing them today and build digital ecosystems in which tools work seamlessly together, professionals can look forward to a more productive and paperless future,” commented Sébastien Marchon, CEO at Rydoo. 

 

For more information and to download the full report, please visit: https://get.rydoo.com/en/whitepaper/expense-management-report-2022