Digitalization, a thorn in the side of the financial department

The digitization of the financial department is much more than carrying an Excel sheet and having invoices in PDF. This is at least what Pleo, a Danish employee expense management startup, defends, which, since last year, has a Hub for Southern Europe in Madrid.

Álvaro Dexeus, general director of Pleo for Southern Europe, shared with La Razón some of the results of a study carried out at the European level and the efforts his company is making to increase the digitalization ratios of the financial department of small and medium-sized companies. companies in our country.

90% of finance departments receive a double bill at least once a year and 30% of the time that bill is paid twice”says Dexeus, who defends that tools like his avoid these errors.

However, Digitization is not a priority for 29% of financial departments, according to the studies carried out by this company, and only 3 out of 10 companies have an expense digitalization tool like the one proposed by Pleo. “That is to say, 7 out of ten continue to pick these expenses by hand,” says this person in charge.

As for the causes of this data, Dexeus believes that traditional tools for financial departments were more designed for large companies and were expensive for many SMEs. But he also recognizes that options like his, which range from 1 to 500 employees, are also not well known. “It is our duty to attend events and conferences to make known that there are many tools that help SMEs in their digitalization without entailing excessive costs.”, he assures.

However, he recognizes that Regulatory changes are “blowing in our favor” and driving the digitalization of small businesses. It should be remembered that Spain announced in 2022 that it will force all taxpayers to adopt electronic invoices for their business-to-business operations. However, the calendar for this is defined according to income and only those taxpayers with profits greater than 8 million euros will have to implement it before April 2024. The rest have time until April 2025.

However, according to a study by this company, despite the fact that 70% of financiers in Spain believe that it is an important step for the transformation

digitalization of their companies and 2 out of 3 agree that this digitalization will help them optimize resources, time and budget, 32% recognize not fully understanding the benefits of electronic invoicing.

Local adaptation

In fact, this manager recognizes that Pleo had to adapt its solution to the Spanish market because, as it was proposed for the Nordic countries, it did not quite fit in our market, because the role and mentality of the financier in Spain is different from that in Denmark or Sweden. “Here we need a control tool, which is based on the premise that each company has an expense policy and there is a tool that helps better control the management of employee expenses,” he details. Something that involved adapting the product to incorporate billing management controls, clearer expense policies and alerts.

This solution makes it possible for, from the employee's mobile phone, every time an expense is issued with the company card to be registered as an expense and, thanks to the connections via API, said expense is reflected in the corporate management application (ERP type ) of the company. “This not only allows us to do away with paper, but also to have much cleaner management, without errors,” defends Dexeus.

Good behavior

The low digitalization of the financial departments in our country and the push of the legislation is leading, as this person in charge recognizes, that Spain is having higher returns than the company, for the second consecutive year.

Álvaro Dexeus also assures that the role of the financier is changing radically in our country, going from being seen as a spending control police officer to a strategic role within companies. “No CEO is capable of opening a new market if there is no financier at the decision-making table.”, he emphasizes.

Precisely for this reason, he considers that it is essential that they undertake their digitalization, which will allow them to “free up time to be able to make strategic decisions.”