Philip Douglas Apr 12, 2021 9:55:55 AM 6 min read

Hey, budget holder! What did finance ever do for you?

Congratulations, you are a budget holder in your business. You get to control your teams spend, ensure success of your projects, and you get to spend considerable time to capture every item of spending into your budget spreadsheet (plus all known and planned future spending plans to get the most out of the funds available). 

So as a budget holder, the biggest question is: What did Finance ever do for you? Other than to tell you why your budget spreadsheet is always wrong because it never reconciles to finance’s monthly management accounts. 

So to consider how well does your finance department support you, the budget holder, in the budgeting and purchasing processes, ask yourself a few questions about your work experience of buying stuff.  

How well does that compare to your personal experience of buying online? Especially over the last 9 months during lockdown… 

How easy, quick, and convenient is it to buy the stuff you need for work and get it deliver when and where you need it, whilst working from home? 

How much time do you spend repeating the ordering process to get the same information into your budget spreadsheet? 

The case for the prosecution (the people who buy stuff, the budget holders!) 

  • How painful and time-consuming is it to raise a request to buy anything? 
  • How long does it take to get the order raised? 
  • How long does it take to get it delivered? 
  • Can you get it delivered to your home office? 
  • Do you have to buy it with your money and then go through all the pain of expense claims, waiting weeks, if not months to get your personal money back? 
  • How do you know the status of each request to buy without wasting more time chasing people? 
  • How are you now receiving invoices for approval? 
  • Do you have to manually check these against the order to see if the prices / quantities are right? 
  • How often are suppliers reluctant to take your order due to overdue payments? 
  • Do you have to keep a spreadsheet (honestly, you are lucky if it is just one!) to track your spend against the budget that you hold? 
  • How much time is spent arguing with accounts when your spreadsheet does not reconcile to the financial accounts, when they eventually arrive? 
  • How long do you spend sorting out supplier invoice queries? 
  • How much time do you spend having to justify yourself before an order is placed, often to someone who has no real understanding of what you do? 
  • How often does the priority of all things finance drop to the bottom of the pile, simply because it is so painful and time-consuming when you have much more important work to do? 
  • How often do you ask yourself whether all the pain is just finance being difficult, or too old-fashioned to consider making it easier? 

How simple should it be? 


The case for the defense (the people that must account for your spending!) 

  • Managing corporate finance is a complex process, with every single transaction having to be diligently accounted for to meet audit, legislative, and corporate law. 
  • The additional workload of Covid-19, working from home, the impact on projected revenues have all massively disrupted the tried and tested purchasing and accounts payable processes, everything is taking longer 
  • Trying to balance the books in time of financial uncertainty is a constant worry, so hanging on to the available cash is often in everyone’s best interest. 
  • The threat of fraud, both internal and external has never been greater. 
  • Finance must be the gatekeeper, controlling the big picture however inconvenient that may be for the individual. 
  • Every budget holder in your business wants to do things their way & not yours. 

From one CFO to another 

The case for change 

Finance departments unquestionably have a critical role to play in every business, especially during this crisis, which has increased the workload for everyone. 

Managing budget holders around the business was a challenge before we all started working from home, now it can be a full-time job. 

This is about how making a simple, but fundamental, change through automation solves everyone’s problems, both inside and outside the finance department. 

A significant proportion of all corporate purchasing is the high volume of low-value invoices that clog up the works.  

The level of spend is not of any strategic importance, but still, it must be diligently accounted for – so why is the business spending so much time, both inside and outside the finance department, when it could be made so simple, fast, and convenient for everyone? 

This is a REALLY quick win for everyone involved: 

  • Automate the accounts payable process for 65% - 90% productivity gain. 
  • Consolidate suppliers and remove all the time they currently consume. 
  • Gain total visibility and control over every purchase before it is made. 
  • Addresses all remote working requirements. 
  • Buying online from suppliers delivers 
  • A great user experience 
  • Savings as it is almost always cheaper. 
  • Solves all the WFH delivery issues. 
  • Go live is a matter of hours. 
  • Costs fully covered by buying more online. 
  • Automate budget holder management and get everyone working in real time from the same digital page 

So, stop wasting everyone’s time on the necessary, but non strategy purchases, so we can all focus that time on what is important in our lives. #TheFutureIsNow 


Philip Douglas

Philip Douglas is Chief Executive of Compleat Software. As a chartered accountant, Philip has extensive experience in UK, European and North American accounting. As a technical and application leader working with many leading accounting/ERP software vendors his accounting knowledge molds our products of today. Philip is the driving force behind our culture, products and vision and is the reason Compleat is the disruptive leader in the market.